Power punk band Box Elder soars to new heights with ‘Arrows’

Frontman Chris Archuleta catches up with us about the new single, their debut LP and the upcoming tour.
Box Elder hanging out at The Center for the Arts in downtown Jackson. (Left to right) Ian Tompkins, Chris Archuleta, Claire Holden, Wil Zeigler and Oscar Garcia. (Courtesy Photo)

Local five-piece outfit Box Elder stands out from the crowd not only in Jackson’s bluegrass-heavy local music scene but also when touring nationally as perhaps the only power pop-punk band from Wyoming. 

The band completed a West Coast tour this fall with stops in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco. The San Francisco show stood out to frontman and guitarist Chris Archuleta as he received some much-appreciated praise from the venue’s sound tech.

“She said you guys aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill, pop-punk band. I’ve [worked with] most of the bands that come to the venue. It’s not that they’re bad. It’s just that I’ve heard it, I’ve done it. You guys have such a more mature thing [going on],” Archuleta relayed.

That “more mature” thing is an evolution from Box Elder’s humble beginnings as a solo project originating from Archuleta’s mother’s basement in 2020. The debut EP, “These Distractions Are Constant,” celebrated its third anniversary in 2023 and Archuleta is proud of the band’s growth since. The band now includes Archuleta on guitar and lead vocals, guitarist Ian Tompkins, keyboardist Claire Holden, bassist Wil Zeigler and drummer Oscar Garcia. 

“We’re sitting on something special. It’s interesting coming from a solo perspective, and now I have the input of four other humans. I have these lyrics. I have an idea of what I want to do with this, but I don’t really know how to execute it. Now with everything being done in-house it’s great, there’s a lot more personality to it. Everybody adds their own flavor, their own little thing to what Box Elder is now. And that has really come out in the recordings. All of us are really proud of where we are and what we’ve done,” Archuleta said.

Released in early February, “Arrows” is the first song by Box Elder as a full band and the lead single to their upcoming self-titled full-length album coming out this summer. Produced in Jackson, Box Elder’s very first music video for the song stars a guitar-shredding cardboard box at many of the band’s favorite hangout spots like Eleanor’s, Teton Toys and Snake River Roasting.

”Arrows” is a powerful first offering full of chunky guitar riffs, propulsive drums and poignant lyrics about tackling life’s difficult lessons and learning from one’s mistakes. 

“The theme behind it is you have two ways that you can view a situation. You can either learn to move out of the way of said arrow the next time it is shot, or you can just keep standing in place,” Archuleta explained.

For the upcoming album, Archuleta sought out an engineer who could elevate the band’s more developed and complex sound. His search revolved around listening to some of his favorite music on vinyl and noting who was responsible for the sound he loved coming out of the speakers. 

With producer/mixer Kieran Krebs at Overcast Recordings in Austin, Texas behind the boards, Box Elder sound fully-formed and successfuylly capture the power of their live performances. 

Archuleta says that the streams on “Arrows” have taken off.

“We’ve been sitting around 3 to 400 monthly listeners for a while and just in the last week I think we’re sitting just below 1000 now. Chances are we will probably triple, I mean quadruple where we were prior to releasing the single, which is just mind-boggling to me,” Archuleta beamed.

Before they hit the road again for a Spring tour in the Pacific Northwest, you can catch Box Elder locally at the end of March. The band will be performing Saturday, March 30 at Eleanor’s in Jackson and Sunday, March 31 at Guidepost Brewing in Victor. Box Elder’s next single “Clarity” drops Tuesday, March 12. Their LP debuts this summer.

Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Box Elder’s Chris Archuleta.

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About Jack Catlin

Jack is KHOL's music director. He says all music is in some way connected no matter the style and his mission is to provide listeners with a unique and memorable experience each time they tune in to KHOL or see him DJ live.

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