-Interview- Sonnder (8/7/14)

Philadelphia, PA alternative/indie band Sonnder gets interviewed and talks about their beginnings, their upcoming "Thief" EP and much more. The release date for the EP is August 22, 2014.
From: Philadelphia, PA
Sounds like: Alternative/Indie Rock

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Sonnder” and is there any meaning behind it?

All members of the band were influenced by music at a young age and knew it absolutely had to be something integral to our lives in some way shape or form. Just watching bands like Blink-­182, Death Cab For Cutie, or Alkaline Trio while we were in middle school was a huge thing. They were all doing what they loved and seemed to be having the best time doing it. It was like, “Wow! I want to do that!” All of us were involved with music during school whether it was choir, band, jazz band, or a special club. The majority of us chose music over everything else and decided to study it at the collegiate level. In fact, Sonnder formed from the bonds and friendships we all made while studying music at The University Of The Arts.
We all draw inspiration from so many different genres including Jazz, Country, Folk, Electronic, Classical, and of course Rock. Our iTunes libraries are all over the map. This does nothing more than keep us evolving and ever exploring/redefining ourselves as musicians. We don’t always want to live the same way, and that is how we approach our music. Of course, there is a general consistency to what we do. Sonnder is Sonnder, but it is not likely we will ever want to settle into one thing. That is what keeps our music exciting for us and listeners.
Our bassist Steve first came across the famous meme “Sonder” a few years ago while perusing Reddit. Sonder. A noun describing the realization that everyone in your surrounding world has a life as deep and complex as your own with countless opinions, emotions, relationships, etc. Our lead singer/guitarist Ryan was very drawn to the existential nature of the definition. When it came time to think of a band name a year ago, nothing else seemed to best describe where we wanted to go with it all. Of course, when all good things surface everyone wants a taste. There were many throwaway Bandcamp profiles with the spelling “Sonder.” So instead of being lost in the sauce, we added the extra ‘N” to our spelling to make it our own thing. It really turned out for the best.

2. What do you want listeners to take away from your newest release "Thief" EP? How has the response been to the single "Too Bad You're Not In Love"?

We are beyond thrilled to have “Thief” out there in the world. It will be the first collection of songs that truly represent us as a band at this current time. There was an EP that came out last year with different band members and of poorer quality recording wise that has since been removed from the internet because it just wasn’t us. “Thief” will be our first real statement as artists. The single has gotten a lot of great praise over the last month or so. I think a lot of people weren’t expecting such a drastic change from us. Everyone was really taken back by how great the recording sounds. It is funny; we recorded most of it in a bedroom with our mad scientist friend Robby. That dude is an amazing artist/engineer. Wendy Rollins over at Radio 104.5 (Philadelphia) liked it so much she invited us to come into their studio and do a live session/interview. We are really grateful for that song and how it just came along like it did.

3. How would you describe your music to the average listener?

Honest. We are creating music and song topics about things we directly relate to; it is all an honest representation of who we are currently as people. It is our own brand of experimental melodic rock.

4. What can people expect from your live show?

What we want to do is bridge almost any gap of silence and eliminate any feeling of awkwardness on stage and provide one continuous show. Not just a set list, but a show for our fans. We organize our lists of songs so that one flows into another through an interlude or continuing off of the other's momentum. People have gone out of their way after our shows to tell us face to face how much they loved watching us, how we all just click together, and how we all create a wall of sound for the entire crowd to absorb. Every time we perform, each of us uses it as a release from the everyday grind of life and when we're on stage, you're seeing us as truly being ourselves. Our shows aren't only just about the music we are playing; they show how each of us really feels about what we are doing together. We really believe in our music and one another. Sharing that passion with everyone is something that is always a priority.

5. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Sonnder thrives from the fact that we are all influenced by so many different types of music, artists, and songwriting techniques. However, at the end of the day there are definitely specific bands we draw a lot of inspiration from. If we ever had the opportunity to tour with bands like Circa Survive, Jimmy Eat World, Brand New, or Coldplay for that matter, our world would be a happy place.

6. Any crazy show stories?

Not so much a specific story but a weird on going tradition or fate depending on how you look at it. We went through a time where we had a plethora of bass subs helping us out for several months. After their first show with us, every single bass player has hooked up with a being of the opposite sex because they played that show with us; even our permanent bass player now. So basically if you need some action, play bass in our band! ;)

7. What’s your take on the current state of alternative/indie rock?

Alt/Indie contains such a vast array of music. It really has become the label for all the music that doesn’t really seem to fit under an easy genre classification. It can be poppy or it could be slow and depressing; there are no limitations. That is why I think we are happy to be a part of this kind of genre. There is no one way to do anything. There is no pressure to sound exactly like this or like that. Currently, this genre has so much to offer to any listener. As a band, we always seem to find something relatable in this vast ocean. Although, none of us really sit down and try to decipher what exact genre is our favorite or analyze the music we are listening to. It is more like, “OOOOO this is rad!” or “Shut that crap off!!” You like what you like, yet you never know what will move you. It is always best to try to keep an open mind and not let a certain genre classification turn you away from some great art.

8. What’s the current music scene like there in Pennsylvania both locally and state wide?

There is a lot of music happening in Philadelphia. Pretty much every genre is represented in some way shape or form. There are a lot of small venues too that cater to helping that small independent artist get on their feet and find themselves as a performer. With all that said, it can be hard to be truly noticed out of all the noise. Some of it is good noise, and some of it is far from it. There is a general overall respect in the local scene though. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do, so we are not ones to judge and disparage something that might bring joy to someone’s world. Ryan, Mike, and Steve are from the Doylestown area which for some reason is just a hot bed for great original music. Some examples of influential bands/artists from the Doylestown/Bucks County scene are Circa Survive, Pink, Balance and Composure, Good Old War, Title Fight, and so much more. It is just a great scene to be born into. We can’t really speak on behalf of the state though; we only know the areas we know, for now anyway.

9. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

We love music and understand the need for the artist to make a living to continue to make the art we love to consume. Of course we don’t agree with the person who says, “Oh I can’t afford that 5 dollar album, so I’ll just download it.” Then he or she goes and buys a 4 dollar latte. Doesn’t really make much sense. However, that is the reality of our current society. Kids want their music for free, and the realization that it should come at a small cost doesn’t really make sense anymore. I think we are all guilty of it at times. With that said, if someone downloaded our album without paying for it but was jamming on it all the time and spreading the word, that would be amazing! Ultimately it is better that it is being heard and possibly inspiring people.

10. What’s next for Sonnder?

When “Thief” is released we will finally have something we believe in to offer to the world. We plan on working hard to spread it to as many people as possible. In the fall, we will be getting back into the studio to begin a monthly single campaign. We are hoping to release a single each month for a little while starting with the first release on Halloween. Other than that, we will be doing what we always do: staying positive and honest, pushing ourselves as artists, and hoping to make new friends along the way.

11. Any shoutouts?

We would like to recognize all the amazing artists we work with regularly that help make Sonnder more than just the five of us:
Christopher Young: An amazing visual artist and close friend of many years who is responsible for all of our design work including single artwork, final designs on other’s work, our website, and more!
Robby Webb: A remarkable musician, engineer, and friend. He is the man behind all the sound engineering of our new EP “Thief.”
Greg Gardner: This man is an insane photographer and has been so kind to us. He contributed the photographer that has become the album artwork for “Thief.” Make sure to check out all his work at http://www.gregogardner.com/
Jason Bruek: A great mentor, friend, and artist. He is always giving us tips of how to reach people with our art as well as frequently lending his own work to the Sonnder cause. Check out his website: http://alterimages.net/
Allie Coultas: She designed the new Sonnder T-Shirts to shall soon see the light of day. Visit her website to see more of her designs: http://alexandracoultas.weebly.com/