A Blaa Blaa Blaah with Arbor Labour Union talking trees, pinecones and autonomy of songs


Arbor Labour Union, formally known as Pinecones, are recognised for their off kilter interactions with media and fans alike. After having a chat with with them, have we peaked behind the veil or are they running rings around us?


It feels like you’ve already matured – musically and creatively – since 2014’s album Sings For You Now was released under the name Pinecones, before you signed to Sub Pop Records. What prompted the name change, and did a change of direction or focus come with it?

The name needed to be changed in order to form a more perfect union.  The pinecones are now our songs and we are the mighty trees that hold them.  The direction never changes. Its always upward and toward the light.


You guys have a good grip on classic rock ‘n’ roll (or maybe it has a good grip on you), but lyrically you explore some pretty interesting spiritual territory. What inspires you to write about mystical mountains, cultish totems and songs about singing songs? 

Nature is a perfect concept. Singing and dancing is a  timeless form of praise. Everyone should try it. it’s so much fun.


The new album I Hear You is fleshed out by more droney guitar sounds and instrumental sections than Sings for You Now, and the songs take their time in defiance of the radio-ready three minute mark. Are these elements conscious choices or do you let the songs evolve organically?

I would never in my life tell a song what to do


The official video for ‘Volume Peaks’ that came out last month is crazy cool (and apparently self-directed!). How important is the interplay between music and other mediums of art (your album art, haikus and illustrated maps spring to mind) in the Arbor Labor Union universe?

Its all fruit from the same tree!


Rumor has it you all dabbled in a few bands before ALU. So with a bunch of different musical backgrounds, how did you settle on sticking to this particular strand of post-punk, mystical alt rock?

We’ve just been having so much fun playing music. I don’t think were post punk or mystical at all. I think were pre punk and natural. The sound is autonomous and if anything we are under its control.  Brian has a banjo and Ben bought a piano.  I hired a bird from outside my window to give me singing lessons and its going really good. We hope to record our next album this year before the world is over.


What is your favourite lyric on I Hear You?

I hear ya


If you could be any band that wasn’t your band, who would you be?

The Pinecones