Miles Arntzen

Miles Arntzen, drummer for Antibalas, during an outdoor performance at the Daptone “House of Soul” recording studios and offices. photo: Jacob Blickenstaff

Miles Arntzen, 21-year-old drummer/composer, grew up within a musical family in Greenwich Village, New York City. With the help of his early drum teacher, Dave Anania (Blue Man Group), Miles learned to play the drums by listening to his favorite songs and playing along with them verbatim. His drumming, which can be described as a mixture of Tony Allen and Ringo Starr, is heavily influenced by his father (trumpeter Leif Arntzen) and his mentors Stuart Bogie and Billy Martin, along with Greg Errico, Max Roach, Prince, Chris Vatalaro, Jon Theodore, John Bonham and Joey Kramer. At New York University he has studied with Ari Hoenig, Tony Moreno, Wayne Krantz and Lenny Pickett.

Miles began playing with Antibalas after reaching out to them as a fan in 2009. With this legendary collective of musicians, he has recorded one album (“Antibalas” released on Daptone Records in August 2012) and has toured around the world, to places such as Brazil, Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands, Germany, and Canada. In August 2012, he was featured with Antibalas on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Miles currently leads the 10-piece afro-rock band EMEFE. Steadily growing in popularity over the last three years, EMEFE has packed countless venues in New York City, toured through the Midwest and Northeast United States, and has opened for Passion Pit, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and Antibalas. Miles co-produced the band’s debut full-length album, “Good Future,” released in July 2012. In May 2012, Miles presented the No Mirrors Orchestra, a collective of 30 people (including all members of EMEFE) performing original neo-soul and afrobeat-influenced music composed by Miles and Jas Walton, his main collaborator in EMEFE.

Miles is also the drummer of Superhuman Happiness, a new-wave afrobeat band lead by saxophonist Stuart Bogie. He is featured on multiple recordings by SHH, including “Physical EP” (Royal Potato Family), “Needles and Pins” (Royal Potato Family), “See Me On My Way” (Royal Potato Family), “Sahr vs. Superhuman Happiness” (Electric Cowbell), and the soon-to-be-released “HANDS”. With Superhuman Happiness, he has worked with the Red Hot Organization on tracks with Cults, Tuneyards and Questlove, Om’mas Keith, and Eric Krasno. His drumming was featured in Stuart Bogie and Luke O’Malley’s score of the Sundance 2012 film, “How To Survive A Plague”.

In 2011, Miles curated the first annual Music Frees All Festival, featuring three nights of afrobeat, funk, reggae and hip hop music at three different venues. The festival was created to raise money for producer Scott Harding, a family friend who was in a car crash in 2008. The second annual Music Frees All Festival in June 2012 included acts such as Antibalas, Bajah & the Dry-Eye Crew, Prince Paul, Billy Martin and more. Music Frees All continues to organize afrobeat and funk-themed concerts throughout New York City.

Miles also plays around New York City frequently with Elizabeth and the Catapult, Alecia Chakour, Ms. Lady, and Jake Snider Band. He is extremely happy and grateful to be playing music every day, and he owes it all to the support of his family and friends. When he’s not performing or making music, he’s usually surfing, playing frisbee, getting a street massage, or eating chocolate chip cookies. Speaking of which, if you have a chocolate chip cookie, please give it to him.

 

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