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Shannon Livewell

The Duo ‘You Won’t’ Want to Stop Listening To 

You Won’t is a duo hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. Composed of artists Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri, You Won’t brings Celtic sounds, complex lyrics and folk song structures together for a very unique musical experience.

You Won’t preformed at Boston Calling Music Festival Sept. 7, 2013 (Photo by Gretjen Helene Photography/obtained via Facebook)
You Won’t preformed at Boston Calling Music Festival Sept. 7, 2013 (Photo by Gretjen Helene Photography/obtained via Facebook)

I was able to speak with Arnoudse about their music, inspirations and future plans.

As a listener, the name of this duo is almost provoking. It’s tempting you to listen, or accusing you of not being gutsy enough.We all had those friends in elementary school who would daunt us about playing hooky, or eating a piece of gum off of the bottom of the school lunch table (okay – maybe I’m the only one who caved into that type of peer pressure), but this duo, strategic or not, has a name that makes you want to listen.

“It was originally the moniker for an avant-garde performance art rock band I formed in high school with my friends Billy and Ian,” Arnoudse explained to me regarding the idea of the duo’s name. “We played one show. I always liked the name though, and kept it in my back pocket for many years until the time came to revive it.”

Boston is a city rich with culture, and the arts, but neither Arnoudse nor Sastri were from the city itself.

As Arnoudse describes it, “Boston itself never had any influence on our music. We grew up in the leafy suburbs, and were rarely confronted with any actual culture. We invented our own around the theater department of the local public high school.”

The first time I listened to the duo I chose a track entitled “Who Knew,” which has a very quirky music video to back-up the satirical, and intrinsic lyrics.

If I didn’t know any background information about either of the members before listening, I would’ve taken a guess that they were a duo deriving from Northern Ireland. Whether or not this (as I described it earlier) Celtic-sound is intentional is irrelevant to the fact that it so unique you simply can’t stop listening.

“There’s been times where I’ve forced myself to sit in a room until I emerged with something resembling a song,” Arnoudse admitted. “But the better ones often seem to start developing when I’m buying groceries or waiting in line at the post office or brushing up against a sweaty stranger on the subway. It seems to work that way for a lot of creative types. Ah, the endless mysteries of the human brain!”

It is easy to tell that You Won’t must’ve had a lot of post office visits and sweaty encounters with strangers on the subway before Skeptic Goodbye, their first full-length debut, released in 2012.

“We have been wrestling with a new album for the better part of a year now and it seems like we’ve got some kind of nelson on it,” Arnoudse revealed when I inquired about any upcoming plans for the duo’s future.

“Half or full I’m not completely sure yet. It’s gonna hit the mat sooner or later though.”

With music as unique and thought provoking as theirs, as a listener it is easy to surmise whom they may draw inspiration from. Coldplay, The Script, Damien Rice; all of the above were my first-listen choices, but it is always better to hear from the artists themselves about the other creative masterminds that set their soul ablaze, if you will.

“We’ve straight up stolen a lot of good ideas from The Suitcase Junket, which is Matt Lorenz’s one-man-band project out of Western Massachusetts. Matt was the first person that got me to sing at an open-mic and he continues to inspire me every time I see him play,” said Arnoudse.

I think You Will (get it?) be hearing a lot from this duo in the future, so it’s only logical to jump on their band-wagon of dedicated listeners before it leaves the leafy suburbs of outer Massachusetts and never looks back.