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"Freshly Squeezed: Arms Up"

Monday, 24 Sep 2007
Freshly Squeezed: Arms Up

Arms Up
(left to right) Mike, Soren, Snow Dove, Andrew, Mark, Voyno

Arms Up was formed in 2007 in Saskatoon.

Guitars + Bass + Drums + Vocals + Trumpet + Rhodes + Saxophone. Put it all together you have an idea of what Arms Up sounds like.

Download their EP Not From Montreal for free on their Myspace page and then tell your friends.


I certainly did! They have a big sound. I’d imagine they put on a great live show. Give them a listen. I have chosen the two tracks below to share.

MP3: Arms Up - “My Girl”
MP3: Arms Up - “StreetsCities”

- Mark -

"On the Fast Track"

Also using their brains and Internet connections to power the sonic lighthouse shining out of Saskatoon were Arms Up, who found success outside of Saskatoon very early in their existence. They started out begging for shows in January, but by the time December ended, they’d had their songs played on radio and in podcasts in Japan, Berlin, London, and LA.

“Overall, the scene has boomed in the last year,” says Matt Voynorovitch from Arms Up. “The Junos helped some bands, but more than anything it was the collective spirit of so many Saskatoon bands that propelled local music into more people’s ears than ever before. Everyone helps everyone, and so many local bands are doing unheard-of things.” - Planet S

"Quick Hits"

On a completely awesome note, there's Arms Up. While their debut EP, Not From Montreal, may not live up to the band's stated goal of measuring up with Arcade Fire or Wolf Parade, it does play into my belief that Saskatchewan is very quietly becoming the centre of Canada's indie-rock universe. Their EP (which you can download for free right here) is a little rough around the edges, but it still packs a pretty big punch in the form of fist-pumping, stadium-ready rock (see "My Girl" for evidence). It's a little strange hearing a band whose sound would be as at home in a punk dive as it would be in an arena, but Arms Up pull it off, and you'd be well-advised to grab a copy while it's still free. - I (heart) music


WHO: Arms Up
WHERE: Amigo's
WHEN: Aug. 4/07

After winning Louis' Battle of the Band, Saskatoon band makes CD, gives it away for free at CD Release party. Lots of harmonies. Lead singer reading from The Life of Pii while wearing a cape. This band is evolving and finding itself. Perhaps in time for Pop Montreal, where they will play this October. - Saskatoon

"Reaching For The Sky"

by Caitlin Ward

Of the many things to be learned from Saskatoon-based rockers ArmsUp, it seems that the most important are largely food-related. Melting cheese over eggs is a good idea, pickle juice is brilliant for cleaning off commercial stove tops, it’s not worth it to order something in a restaurant that you could make yourself at home, and Heinz ketchup really is better than any other sort of ketchup. Such is the risk of bringing a band to a diner for an interview. However, between stealing each other’s fries, asking why beer wasn’t on the menu, and offering me their pickle garnishes, the band did manage to talk about their music a little bit, as well.

ArmsUp formed in the summer of 2006, when drummer Andrew Neumeier, guitarist Mark Schimnowsky, and singer/guitarist Matt Wojnarowicz began jamming together. Wojnarowicz later brought in guitarist Michael Aucoin and keyboardist/trumpet player Jim Pattison, and the ensemble was rounded out with bassist Soren Nissen.

Six members might seem to be an ungainly number for a rock band in terms of keeping things cohesive, but it’s not a problem for ArmsUp—in terms of their musical backgrounds, the band’s qualifications are quite staggering. Wojnarowicz and Aucoin proclaim themselves to have the least amount of musical training, but even they both have several years of classical piano under their belts. Nissen played classical bass for years before transitioning into jazz and then finally to rock, and Pattison is actually pursuing a degree in music education.

Their diverse musical upbringings are apparent in both the ArmsUp sound and their conversations about music. When asked about their influences, band members cited everyone from Led Zeppelin to Miles Davis to Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. More than anything, however, the band points to their classical training as a major influence on the band.

“It gives you discipline,” Aucoin says. “And it trains the ear.”

“Having a good ear is so important,” Wojnarowicz adds. “It’s about being able to hear what’s going on in a song, knowing when things are or aren’t working.”

ArmsUp uses their knowledge of music theory in songwriting, moving outside the conventions of rock in both time signature and chord progressions. Getting any band to define their sound is a challenge, but for a band that attempts to defy musical norms, it’s especially problematic. In trying to describe what the end result of their musical innovation is, the band shares a collective laugh.

“It sounds like a semi barreling down a steep hill,” Pattison says, smirking.

A good semi barreling down a steep hill, though, as Wojnarowicz explains.

“It’s melodic, but it’s also visceral. You can feel it in your chest.”

“I think we actually function like a jazz combo in some ways,” Pattison adds. “The musicianship is such that we can do our own thing and know it’s not going to suck.”

ArmsUp is also quick to credit their classical training for the positive dynamic in the band, as well as their nascent success. Since January, the group feels that they’ve really hit their stride.

“We started getting a lot of shows,” Aucoin says. “We’d written a lot of songs, but it was then that we really established our sound, got focused and found a direction.”

Since then, ArmsUp have been slowly but steadily establishing themselves in the Saskatoon music scene, opening for other bands and playing fundraising benefits around town. Their hard work culminated in March, when the band won Louis’ Attack of the Bands—although the boys are philosophical, rather than egotistical, about their win.

“Not everyone can like everything,” Wojnarowicz says. “With genre, how can you decide what’s best? It comes down to which band has the tightest sound.”

With the money that ArmsUp won from Attack of the Bands, they plan to release an EP—heading into the studio for the first time in the next few weeks. The point of the recording, however, is not financial gain.

“I don’t think we’re going to get it pressed professionally,” Wojnarowicz says. “The point is more to get the sound out. We’re not in it for the money.”

“Until we get money,” Pattison adds, laughing.

The band sees going into the studio as a definite move up in terms of their professionalism, even if they do not plan to release a strictly-speaking professional EP.

“We like to call the song on our myspace an mp2 because of the poor sound quality,” Wojnarowicz says, laughing. “It was definitely a basement recording. The EP’s going to be mp3…or mp4…maybe even mp5.”

With the band’s broad musical range and ambitious outlook, I’m putting my money on the latter. - Planet S


The Singles Project (2008/2009)
-Where is my mind (September 2008)
-Anna Please (October 2008)

Not from montreal (2007)
Oh well
My girl
Time to Change
Streets Cities



Arms Up formed in January of 2007. In March 2007 they were awarded funding to record their debut ep "not from montreal."

Arms Up is part Weezer, part Pixies, part Doors.

Their first year together saw Arms Up showcase for Paquin Entertainment and Universal Music and since then have shared billing with The Weakerthans, Three Days Grace, Bedouin Soundclash, Wide Mouth Mason, The Bloodlines, and State of Shock.

They have received airplay on radio programs from Minneapolis to Berlin to London.

In the Spring of 2008 Arms Up completed another tour of Western Canada, including a showcasing at NewMusicWest in Vancouver.

Arms Up are signed to The New Rockstar Philosophy and are currently recording new music.

Arms Up put on passionate performances that have audiences jumping at the opportunity to sing along. Arms Up is a band focused on their careers in music because this is what they will be doing for the rest of their lives. They have the discipline from years of training, and the focus and intention to spread their music like the first rays of a new rising sun.
Enjoy Arms Up.