Arsun Sorrenti | Antique Roadshow in Your Headphones

by Matthew Bedard

“I grew up on the Beatles, 
the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground and many more. They influence my music a great deal, as their music is, in a way, the textbook on song-writing for me,” says Arsun Sorrenti, on a sunny spring day, sitting at the end of Van Cortlandt Park in the Riverdale section of the Bronx where he grew up nearby.

Sorrenti, now 20, has been a bit obsessed with music since he was around 13 or 14 years old. At that time, he began listening to a wide range of music from jazz to country, and a few years 
later in high school,
 joined a band, 
learning to sing and 
play the guitar and
 cello. To this day, 
his favorite song 
remains The Stones’ 
“Wild Horses,”
 which for Sorrenti,
 “carries a special
Currently, he has a 
special affinity for
 the sounds of the
 ‘50s and ‘60s.

JUNYA WATANABE    x    LEVI’S     jacket, shirt, and jeans and   ALEXANDER WANG     shoes.

JUNYA WATANABE x LEVI’S jacket, shirt, and jeans and ALEXANDER WANG shoes.

This past
 February, Sorrenti 
released a three-
track EP on
 entitled Send Her 
My Way. The title track demonstrates
 a firmer command
 of his guitar, a
 stronger and deeper 
voice, and a softer,
 more melodic 
sound, the likes
 of which harken 
to Sorrenti’s first 
single, “White 
Light,” which he 
wrote about three years ago. The
 single has served
 as a foundation on
 which to develop 
and build his
 sound. “I must’ve 
been around 17,” he
 recalls, “I basically 
just locked myself 
in a room for a few
 days and forced
 myself to write a
 song. It started out 
as a very folky-type 
song based on the style of Woody Guthrie. It became the more upbeat track that it is when the full band came in to record 
it. The arrangement kind of wrote itself once we were all in
 the studio together.” Sorrenti’s songs serve as an antithesis to ongoing trends in pop and rap, providing relief from all the loud noises that pass as decent music.

RICK OWENS     jacket and jeans and   CALVIN KLEIN UNDERWEAR     t-shirt .

RICK OWENS jacket and jeans and CALVIN KLEIN UNDERWEAR t-shirt.

“I write my music by myself on an acoustic guitar,” shares Sorrenti, on the process of writing and recording. “Then, once it’s complete, I bring it to my friend, Oliver Ignatius, who is my producer and keyboard player. We gather the band in his studio, Holy Fang, and I show them the song. After we practice it a couple times, we record it. The entire recording process usually takes around four to six hours, including practice and working out the parts.” Rather than modern, digital machines, he opts for older analog equipment, some of which he’s scoured at vintage shops.

“We like to keep it as analog as possible. We use different equipment based on what kind of sound we want to get. Most
 of the equipment we use is from, or based on, things from the 1960s and ‘70s. After we record it, we dump it all to digital to put some final touches on it. We basically take the best parts of analog and digital and mash it together. Everything we do in the studio is very intentional.”

1017 ALYX 9SM     turtleneck.

1017 ALYX 9SM turtleneck.

As a songwriter, Sorrenti deploys a great deal of life experience and perspective into
 his lyrics, like a poet
 or novelist imparting
 a piece of themselves
 into their verse or prose. Passion and heartbreak are touchstones. Look
 no further than “Send Her My Way,” a story of someone reminiscing a lost love to a complete stranger. “Songs are very strange,” Sorrenti reflects. “They can sometimes take ten minutes. Sometimes they can take months. Sometimes I forget about a song for half a year and then remember and finish it. It’s very unpredictable and there is no real process. It just happens on its own.” Each song is written over the course 
of time, like an aging red wine. “I just read from various books and poems and I listen to a bunch of music. Then I play guitar and mess around until 
a song gets written. It’s really no routine. It’s just playing until the right moment strikes.”

STELLA MCCARTNEY     coat and pants and   LOUIS VUITTON     shoes.

STELLA MCCARTNEY coat and pants and LOUIS VUITTON shoes.

The band, Arsun, is composed of close friends and collaborators. “Max and Henry went to school with me. I know Oliver originally as my producer, introduced to me through a friend, and he quickly became the keyboardist. I know Steve because he drummed in some bands that Henry knew of. We thought he’d be a perfect fit so we brought him aboard.” Last November, Arsun opened for Cat Power’s sold-out U.S. tour. It was the first performance of a large live series that commenced in Oakland and ended in New York City. Sorrenti says that he wanted to do as many live shows as possible this year. “The entire project is pretty new so we haven’t been on the road yet, but we will be.”

LOEWE     sweater.

LOEWE sweater.

Photographed by: Robert Nethery

Grooming Notes: Boy De Chanel Le Teint Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 25 #20 Light

Issue 166
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