Interview: Amy Bell
The newest sound out of Columbus, Ohio, Outsider Heart, is the creative project of Doug Katula, Jonah Young, and Kovy Arseneau. The three-piece have released two singles as musically diverse as angsty pop can be. With the band only beginning, their sound is bound to get stuck in your head.
Hey this is Kovy Arseneau, ⅓ of the Super Pop band Outsider Heart, and thanks so much ReVamp for reaching out. We truly appreciate being seen and just being asked questions about our processes; it's something we really don’t get to do often.
Hi Kovy, Thanks so much for speaking to Revamp, in 3 words describe your sound?
I wish I had 300 words but Glitter, Anthemic, and Superpop should do the trick
When did you form as a band and what was your first song as a band?
I love this question because our band has quite a complicated history. Doug and I (Kovy) met when we were 15 years old in highschool and instantly connected over the “Bring Me The Horizon” pins on his backpack. Our friendship virtually felt like destiny, we started working on and writing metalcore music together not even a week after we first met at school.
About a year and half down the road we met Jonah, and since 2016 the three of us have been working on, writing, and playing music together. It wasn’t until late 2019 that “Outsider Heart” came to fruition, the product of our metalcore band disbanding, and us getting picked up by management and learning to write alt rock/ pop with names such as David Bendeth, Mike Plotnikoff, and Howard Benson.
The most influential producer and songwriter that we’ve worked with is Will Carlson. We worked on our first single “Leper’s Bell” with him, which is the poster child of our transition from post hardcore/ rock themes, into the alt rock/ Super Pop band that we are today.
Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
I distinctly remember the first album I ever bought on CD was “Vessel” by Twenty One Pilots. I fell in love with the band’s previous album “Regional At Best” and went to a release signing at a Best Buy in Polaris Ohio. Meeting those guys at 14 years old and seeing just how massive they got in a short amount of time after that moment was truly what sparked my passion to be an artist.
Their music got me through the toughest years of my life, and I knew from a very early age that I wanted to impact people through music the way they had done for me.
You have a new single out ‘Crop Circles’, what was the inspiration behind the single?
I think back to Lady Gaga talking about how her best songs were written virtually in just a few hours or less and the thing I adore about Crop Circles is that it was one of those moments where a song unveils itself right before your eyes and it’s almost like the song and I were staring back into each other.
The second I wrote the bassline, Crop Circles introduced itself to me like a tangible being. I was listening to “Runaway” by Kanye and Pusha T, and was so moved by the chord progression of that song and I used that as my inspiration to build the song off of. I had also been really into Dominic Fike at the time and his song “Come Here” which, if you listen to the song, it’s fairly obvious where the idea for the tone of the soaring and dark guitar solo at the end came from.
The song was a really bold and ambitious move for us, but I like to think it ultimately paid off. Music is much more fun when you take risks.
Was this song from a personal experience?
This song came from a place deep inside of me, and in fact, was not even supposed to be an Outsider Heart song originally. The song may sound like it’s written from my perspective, but for the most part the song is written from the perspective of the person that I was so deeply in love with that was hurt badly by me because I had all these people in my ears telling me our relationship wasn’t “honoring to God”.
Crop Circles is about my own inability to commit to relationships because of internal damage from christian ideologies that were being pounded into my head. And it really messed up my identity as a human being. I had so many christian mentors in my life telling me what a “Godly” relationship looks like and it caused me to hurt people I really truly loved, including myself. A lot of this song is also about me just taking ownership and coming to the realisation that there’s no excuse to be fickle with people that you say you love.
How do you all know when a song is finished and ready to be released?
The truth is that I don’t really feel like we’ve ever REALLY finished a song. To me there’s always going to be something that could have been better, but part of being an artist to me is having the wisdom to hold back and stop yourself from beating a song to death. It’s all about the feel of the song. If the song feels cohesive and the message you’re trying to convey is delivered in a way that just strikes you in the soul, that’s how you know a song is “finished”.
There are times we’ll go and track vocals and nothing we come up with really hits you the way the demo vocal did. We’ve got a few songs where the demo vocal made the final cut because it just felt the best.
When you were writing the song, did a lyric stand out to you at all?
This is such a hard question to answer because all of these lyrics were written in such a short timeframe, but if you listen to the song again you’ll notice all of my “otherworldly” references are actually talking about God. One that does stand out to me is “I don’t need a light to see you now, cause you just let me down”.
This is my way of saying to myself, “yeah it’s fucked up that these mentors in your life were trying to tell you the person you love is bad for you. But at the end of the day it’s not them letting the person you love down, it’s you”. That was definitely a hard pill to swallow when processing my emotions through this song, but was a fundamental moment in my growth as a person.
When it comes to writing and recording the single, what was the process?
When I was writing this song I would go into government archive websites and find videos of space research from the 60’s. I would just have these videos playing while I was writing and producing the song and most of the stuff from that original session made the record, but after that first day of songwriting and production we took it to Will Carlson and he took the drums to another level and added some amazing synths in the chorus, amongst a few other things.
For the most part the song was pretty much done after one studio day with Will and we took it back home and tracked it at my home studio, as we do for pretty much all of our songs now. Once we’re done tracking, I shoot the stems over to Will again and he does our mixing and mastering for us. We would not be who we are without him and he is truly a fundamental piece of who we are and how we operate as a band. Shoutout to my boy Will Carlson.
I’m sure everyone is excited to know what is next for you all?
First of all, if you're still reading this far, we love you and you are what keeps us going as a band. We are so excited about the future of this band. I don’t think any of us have ever believed in anything as much as we believe in this project and it honestly feels like our energy for this team and the passion for this sound grows more every day. We’d love to thank our team Matt Bonder, Jeffrey Arseneau, Kyle Hulett, Mitch Arnholt, and Will Carlson for believing in the vision and working so damn hard at Outsider Heart what it is.
With that being said our next upcoming single called Monster releases March 4th 2022, and it would mean everything to us if you would check us out and listen to us pour out our hearts into this music. This truly is only the beginning for us and all we hope is that we get to make more friends and meet more amazing people along the way. It won’t be long after March 4th that you see some really cool stuff from us. From the bottom of our fucking hearts, thank you for listening.