Hot off a career best year, Arkells announced the highly anticipated studio album Rally Cry, due for release on October 19th. Regularly credited as one of the hardest working bands (period), Arkells have stayed ever-present, relentlessly touring in support of 2016’s gold-certified Morning Report, which was extended by the surprise release of “Knocking At The Door” – the 14-week #1 smash, which became the most played alt-rock song of the year.
The cycle included festival stops from Coachella to Lollapalooza, career first television appearances at the iHeartRadioMMVAs and NHL Awards, plus a surprise viral trip to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. As Max said preciously: “On our last album, Morning Report, we dipped our toes into the water, and learned that the boldest and most gratifying ideas were the ones where we took the biggest chances. That record emboldened us and gave us confidence to trust our instincts even more. On Rally Cry, we’ve risen to the challenge and we’re playing for keeps. We can’t wait to share it and play it live.”
The story of “Relentless” mixes both a new direction in song-writing for the band, plus a fond and heartfelt story, as told by frontman, Max Kerman:
“My dad showed me this South African artist named Chicco and this tune of his with this afro-pop, keyboard driven, epic, cinematic groove. We were so inspired by it, we ended up sampling a track for the first time and worked collectively to build a tune around it. Rock bands aren’t as known to dip their toe into the sample world, but in 2018 we’re game to throw all conventional rules out the window.”
It became the band’s favourite demo while recording, but didn’t have a chorus yet – beyond the word ‘Relentless.’ “I was thinking about the idea of being a part of something bigger than myself,” furthered Kerman. “I was thinking about the band, and how we lean on each other, and how each guy brings something different, but contributes to a larger idea. We find strength in each other. In being relentless.”
While on tour last fall, Kerman and lead-guitarist Mike DeAngelis went out for a beer with Paul Langlois of The Tragically Hip, before Arkells’ Kingston show. “We talked a lot about being in a band that day. We talked a lot about Gord, and how much Paul adored him. There was one anecdote that we all got a chuckle from,” reveals Kerman: “He said that even when Gord was sick and was going through treatment, he’d say to Paul ‘we made a record right, and we’re gonna tour it right?’ Mike D. laughed and added ‘lead singers man, they never want to stop eh?’ To which Paul responded: ‘Ever since I knew him, he was relentless. Like a dog on a bone.’ And that old expression hit me – there was our chorus.”