Charleston-based quartet SondorBlue live on harmony. Both literally and figuratively. On their new EP You Will Find Love On Ashley Avenue – dropping this fall – their vocals weave together so seamlessly, you’d think someone had laid one track over another. Listen to lead single, “Ashley Avenue,” a soothing, folk-pop reverie, and read our quick chat with the band below. –Maya Eslami
When did you guys meet and start playing together?
Well, Connor and I met close to seven years ago and started playing together the next day. However, I wouldn’t consider that the inception of SondorBlue because we didn’t quite understand what it meant to be an artist: we’re still figuring it out. We’ll always be experimenting, trying to manifest the way our collective mind sees SondorBlue as an “artist,” which is just us trying to weave all of our individual experiences together in a form that attempts to merge the personal and universal through emotive music.
In regards to when we really started playing together, this happened about 2 years ago, when we wrote “More Than Reality” in John’s living room. That same day, we recorded a rough demo of it with our good friend Christian Steinmetz, an engineering wizard. I guess that day, which was sometime in early July, serves as SondorBlue’s independence day… each of us gave a bit of our self to the energy that is at the core of this band.
Tell me about the EP. What was the recording process like?
The recording process for this EP was, and is to this date, the most pleasurable and informative experience of our lives. I say pleasurable because we had been listening to so much music–the Beatles, Tame Impala, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd–and were inspired to explore the sonic-territory these artists innovated, as they bridged a sort of musical, generational gap between their predecessors with sounds that reflected the times. So, we were eager to just create and at the same time stay true to the essence of the songs. The way we held ourselves accountable to the essence was by recording a majority of the instrumental tracks live, in one room, facing each other in order to feel the intention behind each take.
The recording process was so informative and such an educational experience because it forced us to learn how to pick apart the layers of a song. We had to be able to transpose what we were hearing in our heads to a record. This EP process definitely sparked our newfound obsession with the search for tones that are right for the song and this has forced us to understand the studio on a technical level with a little help from our producer, Omar Colon, and his studio, Fairweather Studio.
Your press info says you’re “often compared to the Beatles and CSNY” – where does the classic rock inspiration come from?
Well, we were all raised on classic rock because it was what our parents were listening to and this gave us a subconscious framework that has allowed us to be inspired by artists like the Beatles and CSNY. Like most humans, you look at something that was done in the past, something done exceptionally well, and you take what you want from it, respectfully. We knew harmonies were our thing and we love the principle of love, so we looked to the 60s for guidance. Now that I think about it, “Ashley Ave” is kind of our homage to CSNY’s “Our House”.
The lead single, “Ashley Avenue” displays some pretty impressive harmonies. What’s the writing process like for you guys?
Our songwriting process is straightforward: one of us brings an idea to the band and we run with it or we all get in the studio and vibe until we get “the feeling.”
Is this your first tour? If so, how’s it been so far?
This is our first tour and it has been somewhat of an ongoing event. I think we dubbed it “The Life is Here Tour” because we knew this life of travelling and playing music wasn’t going anywhere and it’s the life we’ve all wanted to live since we started SondorBlue. Anytime we are on the road, there is always a wave of joy emanating throughout the van; it has let us know that we shouldn’t take life too seriously.
And what’s next for the band?
We’ve gotten a lot more methodical with tour routing, so we’ve shifted our focus from playing as many shows as possible to playing in cities with a thriving arts scene. Aside from playing shows, we’re writing the album and furthering our individual skill sets–playing more, reading more, writing for the sake of writing more and having more experiences that we can ebb into SondorBlue’s art.
August 17 – Wildwood, NJ – Dog Tooth Bar & Grill
August 19 – Dover, VT – The Bullwheel Tavern
September 5-7 – Key West, FL – Smokin’ Tuna Saloon
September 15 – Columbia, SC – Breakers Live
September 17 – Hilton Head Island, SC – Shelter Cover Communtity Park
September 28 – Columbia, SC – Tin Roof
September 30 – Charlotte, NC – The Evening Music
October 7 – Richmond, VA – Hardywood Brewery
October 28 – Raleigh, NC – Deep South Bar