By Mary Bagley
From beginning to end, every band has their very own story about how they came into existence. This last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Emmalie Arntz of Pipes, and learn about their story as an up and coming band in the Provo music scene. Pipes is a folk band consisting of four members: Emmalie Arntz, Hannah Lutz, Tate Sexton, and Josh Malyon. The band got its start in 2016. Since then they have been playing shows in local venues around Provo.
Emmalie, thank you so much for meeting with me. I am excited to hear about the formation of your band and the release of your new single. But first, tell me a little bit about how you decided to form a band, and how you all met.
Well, when I first got to Provo I knew I wanted to do something with music, and I knew I needed to do some networking, so I started volunteering at Velour so I could meet the people who work there and the people who might want to play music. I started playing there, and I played with a few different people but it never really fit and I thought I was being too picky and then I met Tate, and he is a multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire. He normally brings three instruments to every show, sometimes more. He can actually play more than that but it’s a little overwhelming to have him play different instruments for every song. Then I met Hannah, my co-vocalist. We met in the spring, I thought she was really cool, and I had heard that she played the accordion, and thought, “That’s it. We need her.” Then we started singing together and that’s when we found we had a lot of vocal chemistry together. Josh – he knew how to play folk music, which is what we play, and so we picked up Josh and the first time he played with us we were like, “Yup, this is it.” So every time it’s just been like, “Yup, you. This works, let’s keep this.”
I love that. You mentioned earlier that you play folk music. So who are some of your biggest folk influences?
Uhm, I hate to be super basic, but I really love the Lumineers, and Mumford and Sons, and The Head and The Heart. I really love that Americana kind of feel. I’m from Kentucky, and so I really love the bluegrass feel. We don’t really play bluegrass, but we definitely have a lot of bluegrass influences. We play generally folk music, but there is a lot of folk out there that is just acoustic that is labeled as folk, but we really try to stick closer to the “folk folk” sound.
[Laughter] I love that term: “folk folk.” So, as a new band working on writing new music, there must be a lot steps to creating a new single like the one you are releasing. So tell me about the creative process for this, and kind of how you came about creating this song.
This is actually something that has been really stressing me out this last week. Just because we don’t have resources. We don’t have money, we don’t have time, and we don’t have the knowledge to do it ourselves. So we are trying to create this single and release something we are proud of, but it’s hard. But we still just need to get something out there, even if it’s not perfect, because people have been wanting our music. And so we are doing it. The single is “Dreamt I Drowned.” It is probably the one that is closest to my heart, because I returned home early from my LDS mission because of anxiety and depression and panic disorder, which can be really scary. But the song is about a time in my life where it got so bad that I kind of forgot that there was any reason to be here. And I had a lot of suicidal thoughts. I never made a concrete plan but I was kind of getting there. It was really scary. I became scared of my own thoughts, and this song is kind of about that. And it is talking about depression as if it was a siren in the water, pulling you in saying, “No, it’s gonna be great.” Telling you that it would be great if you could just disappear, and it would be peaceful. The first line of the song is, “Take me kindly, slow.” And it’s uhm – it’s about how depression is this voice, that says that “No, this wouldn’t be a terrible painful thing for you, it would be wonderful.” And it’s really scary because it’s not true, and uhm that’s the line where it says, “If I walk off this long dock, you won’t see me go.” It’s about these kinds of thoughts and saying, “No, it’s not true. No, pick yourself up, get back at it. Those things are not true.” That’s the song that we are releasing.
Wow. There is a lot of strength in picking yourself back up during hard times. What do you want the message from this song to be for those who listen to it?
Uhm, I think I would say that I want it to lift them up and say that you can keep doing it. But since the whole world is always saying, “You can keep doing it,” it can almost feel repetitive after awhile. But I think just showing people that they aren’t alone, and also that it’s okay to have those kinds of thoughts. It’s scary and people react in a way that you don’t want to tell anyone what you are feeling, that someone is going to put you in a room and say, “No, stop thinking that.” But it’s normal, well, not normal, per say, but a lot of people struggle with it, and you’re not weird. And that’s the biggest message that I want to give.
That is really beautiful. It’s important to help people understand that they will be okay, and that they are not weird for feeling those things. Before I go, I’m wondering: how did you come up with the name of your band? “Pipes.”
I have to admit that I’m not in love with our name. I did choose it, so it’s kind of what we are stuck with now. I actually got it from my freshman year. I got it at a Wild Child concert. They are a huge influence on me. I was at their concert at Kilby Court, and I got to meet them before the show and hung out before they went on stage, and they sang this song, and I was singing harmonies with it and the girl on the stage said, “Hey Emmalie, nice harmonies!” And I was like, “Oh my gosh, they know my name!” And then Alexander, the other one, he turns around and he said, “Dang girl, you got pipes!” And then after the show they all signed my shirt “Pipes,” and so it kind of became a nickname, and so that’s the name of our band. It’s kind of funny, but I do like that it has a story behind it. I never want any part of our band at all to never have a story behind it. I want it all to be a part of a narrative.