Refund Division
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Refund Division

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | INDIE

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | INDIE
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This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Hot 100"

Although Arndt is known as one of Tulsa's most active musicians, playing with everyone from Vandevander to Jesse Aycock, Pilgrim and even his own project, Refund Division, he's more than just that. He's an artist and visionary within the local music scene, combining his love of film, music and technology. As a filmmaker, he's already produced a pair of short films and begun the process of creating videos for each of the songs on his Refund Division release. He's also amongst the most forward thinking on the scene, releasing his music digitally on a flash drive in a multi-media format. Take notes kids: Arndt is signaling the future of music releases and distribution. - Urban Tulsa


"Emerging Artist"

Arndt is well known for his former band Hero Factor, but his new group Refund Division will be a household name before long. - The Current


"Musical Ambition"

At a downtown café last week, local musician Eric Arndt handed me an object that could prove to be the future of the music industry.

It was not a new take on the compact disc, a solar powered mp3 player or a Lady Gaga keychain. The object was shiny and had the dimensions of a business card with a thickness of about an eighth of an inch. Embossed on one side was the logo for one of Arndt's many music projects, the band Refund Division.

The eye-catching object was a flash drive containing Refund Division's new album If and Only If (pictures of the drive are on refunddivision.com).

But the concept behind the drive goes beyond a lustrous new alloy packaging. Arndt is plenty familiar with the state of the record industry from playing bass and touring with his former band Hero Factor. He envisions utilizing the flash drive in a new business model and as the potential realization of the digitization of the music industry.

"Labels are scrambling," said Arndt, because they have to figure out how to capitalize on market shifts.

He wants to amend records in the way that Facebook and other online sites have revolutionized socializing -- by providing access, content and updates.

He envisions the business innovation in this manner: Refund Division will release the album on August 27 at the Tulsa Little Theater, 1511 S. Delaware Ave, and sell them on flash drives. The band, one of Arndt's less busy projects, will perform quarterly and at each show offer returning customers exclusive new content for their drives, new videos, photos, demos or alternate versions of songs etc., at no cost. Buying the album is no longer a stand-alone purchase, but a vein of information and content a fan can tap into.

"[Today] you can be an artist and control your content and still make money," Arndt said.

But his ambitions do not stop with revamping records. Arndt is expanding two businesses that will continue to develop the media presence and presentation of Tulsa musicians. The first company is Inductive Reasoning Group, a concept that Arndt admits is hard to define. He prefers the term "umbrella firm."

The company specializes in management, promotion and marketing music and will use "everything I have learned managing Hero Factor," he said, "taking a garage band to national touring act, taking a local band and making them regional."

But the needs of artists vary on a case-by-case basis, which leaves the company open to all sorts of activities. Arndt with his roster of artists, which includes Jesse Aycock, Beau Roberson and Denver Duncan, begins with establishing a basic sense of professionalism for the band or artist including press kits, promotional photos and a web presence. From there, Arndt said that everything will be steered toward the artist and enhancing what they do.

His second company AERICAN Entertainment will help with digital distribution of music and video content. The group has the production of short films and the Vandevander Live from the Colony DVD currently under its belt.

There has been a strain of local artists recording live performances for release, artists such as Wink Burcham, Pilgrim and Jesse Aycock.

AERICAN Entertainment is involved in visually documenting those performances as well.
"If you're doing a live record, why aren't you filming it?" he asked. The video could be used as a promotional device or potentially become a release of its own, he said.

Arndt plans to eventually expand AERICAN Entertainment to an in-house video production unit providing a range of services to locals.

As these two companies expand, Arndt will be helping raise the bar of professionalism in the music community of Tulsa and expanding resources here. The talent in Tulsa is at a tipping point he said, so he is doing everything he can to get local players ready for a national breakthrough.

"I've played across the nation, and I haven't seen anything like what Tulsa has."

As Arndt tells it, it is only a matter of time before the New Tulsa Sound, our city's unique mix of classic rock, funk and blues, spreads across the country. Because of the sense of community and low cost of living, Tulsa has "created this pocket of energy that is going to explode," he said.

Arndt should know all about it as he is tucked tightly in that pocket. He plays bass for various artists several nights a week locally including Jesse Aycock, Pilgrim, Wink Burcham and Vandevander as well as Arkansas-based Love Ghost and The Boondogs. He jokingly refers to The Colony, where Pilgrim has held a Sunday night residency for the last two years, as his "office."

Arndt has his finger on the music pulse here and is in a unique position to both navigate and participate in the local scene.

Nowhere is it more apparent than the upcoming FreeTulsa! Festival on Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31. He is performing five times throughout the festival on the New Tulsa Sound Stage at Bob's next to Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main St.

Friday will find him performing with Wink Burcham at 10pm. Saturday he will be playing with Love Ghost at 4pm, Vandevander at9 pm, Jesse Aycock at 10pm and Pilgrim at 11:20pm.

Bass guitar seems to be the logical instrument for Arndt; although he actually started on piano at seven and picked up the guitar at 14. It is the crucial cornerstone of music outfits, a fundamental support role that rarely garners attention, much like his business aspirations working behind the scenes empowering artists he admires.

Luckily for Arndt, business is good and gigs are abundant, so he is able to make a living off his talent and wit.

"I don't want to have a corporate job, I don't want to wear a suit to work," he said. "I want to write rock and roll and make movies." - Urban Tulsa


"Moving Along"

For as much anticipation as Fisher has created with Vandevander each year, perhaps the only thing that has kept me in wait even more is his musical and creative cohort, Eric Arndt's music project, The Refund Division. After waiting in the wings for nearly three years, the project that has only been hinted at in Tulsa--via Arndt's MySpace page, for the project is due to arrive shortly.

Yes, I can confirm that Refund Division is not a hoax. There is such an entity, and although the group has not appeared in Tulsa to date, as far as I'm aware, I did get to see Arndt front what it was essentially the same formation as Vandevander (with Matt Fisher on guitar and Nathan Price on drums) in 2008. Granted, I had to travel to Austin to witness it, but still -- it was proof that there was something brewing here.

After a sneak preview from Arndt, I can testify that the product is worth the wait-- if altogether not what you'll be expecting. Neither a descendant of Hero Factor or Vandevander, Arndt has crafted something that is wholly and uniquely his own.

Crafted by Arndt and shaped with producer (and former Hero Factor co-member) Chad Copelin, The Refund Division is both enlightening and a breath of fresh air. Granted, I wasn't given a track listing, only a glimpse via a listening party and an unmarked CDR, but the songs easily bear repeated listens and unfold in layers.

Redemptive and hopeful, the songs are reflective of Arndt's demeanor and personality. The big surprise, however, was in the construction of the songs. These are primarily piano driven pop songs--actually, far more keyboard driven than I had ever expected, but it works with a grace and elegance.

When asked how that happened, even Arndt seemed slightly humored and amazed, admitting that the songs were primarily written on guitar. The songs took on a life of their own in the studio, however, especially incorporating the ideas and input that Copelin, amongst others, interjected.

Even after living with the songs for more than a month, I'm still awestruck by their simplicity and beauty. I'm also still at a lack of words to properly describe them. By the time spring arrives, you should be amazed, too. The wait is nearly over, and you won't be disappointed. I predict The Refund Division will prove to be one of the biggest surprises if the year musically. - Urban Tulsa


"Good for the Soul"

I finally got to witness Eric Arndt's new project, Refund Division--a return to soulful pop that probably has more soul than Hero Factor. But what's up with me having to drive nearly 500 miles to hear the band for the first time? - Urban Tulsa


Discography

If And Only If

Photos

Bio

Known mostly as the bassist/songwriter for regional giants The Hero Factor, Eric Arndt has ventured out to form Refund Division. Collaborating with fellow Hero Factor band-mates Matt Fisher (guitar/vocals) and Nathan Price (drums/vocals), allows Arndt to stylistically explore the sonic and lyrical themes that resonate deep within him.
Refund Division’s debut release, “If And Only If”, sets a contemplative soundscape where the listener encounters stories about transitions in relationships, scenes of police officers being gunned down and the sarcasm it takes to sing the line “If we wake up tomorrow, then we’ll know we’re not dead.”