Interview With Arliston As They Release ‘Wicked Game’

by Lucy Lerner

5th November, 2019


“We thought we’d change a few letters around, and came up with Arliston”

Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ is one of my favourite songs ever and I have heard a few covers but nothing has grabbed my attention as much as Arliston’s take on this iconic song. The rippling piano underpins the whole track which takes on a dreamy, hazy aesthetic. It burns slowly and builds to a crescendo fusing various layers and instrumentals. The song is erotically charged and lingers long in your memory.

“The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do
I’d never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you
And I’d never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you”

‘Wicked Game’ suits the East-London trio perfectly as they usually experiment with layered harmonies and analogue synth pads to form a textured sonic landscape. ‘Wicked Game’ highlights all their talents from Jack Ratcliffe’s baritone and falsetto vocals, to George Hasbury’s piano arpeggio and Jordi Bosch’s metronomic beat. Their sound has previously been compared to Bon Iver, The National and James Blake.

We interviewed Arliston to find out more.

What was the inspiration behind your take of ‘Wicked Game’?
We think that song is one of the all-time greats, and have always wanted to do a cover of it. So, when the opportunity presented itself, we leapt at it!

What effect are you hoping your music has on your listeners and the pop industry?
It makes things very very slow, and very very sad. That’s the goal. I mean, ok, that’s (partially) in jest and of course, we want occasional moments of positivity and energy, but we get an enormous catharsis out of both listening to and playing that type of music.

How was Arliston born and why the name?
It all started as a collaboration between George and I (Jack), then Jordi came in later and glued it all together with his very excellent drumming. We were searching around for a name for a long time, and finally out of desperation had a look at a map of where we all grew up-found a reservoir that I grew up very close to called Arlington Reservoir (beautiful place) but, it turns out Arlington is also a large city in Texas, and there are a thousand bands names after it! So, we thought we’d change a few letters around, and came up with Arliston!

What artists inspire your sound?
The National, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Michael Kiwanuka, Victor Taiwo, Volcano Choir, Led Zeppelin, James Blake, Daughter, O Merand many more.

Is there anything that keeps you guys going during tough periods in trying to break into the industry?
There are certainly tough times, and we’re no strangers to feeling like things aren’t working out. However, we love music. It’s what we all are happiest doing, so if ever there’s a bad review or the industry just feels vast, cold and inaccessible then at least we can hold on to the fact that we least enjoy the music itself!

Dream collaborations?
Pretty much all of the above artists! Phoebe Bridgers would be amazing too. She’s a very talented maker of sad, sad songs.

Your favourite up and coming artist is…?
We think the band Phoria is amazing. It seems like they’re just starting to break into their stride now. Check them out!

What’s next for Arliston?
We’re heading to Canada in for a few weeks, to play at the Indie Week festival, and will be playing a few other shows in and around Toronto as well as a couple of Sofar Sounds shows there. We can’t wait!

Arliston Live Shows
Indie Week, Toronto: 13th – 17th November 2019

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