Sorority Noise talks new record, essential gear and "emo"!

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The new buzzword for the pop punk music world this summer has easily been this next band Sorority Noise! Their new record, ‘Joy, Departed’ just dropped last week and already people have been rocking it and reporting it as this summer’s anthem album. Luckily, we caught them on their pre-album release tour with Fireworks on a tour that had every show sold out. For this interview, I sent a fellow music comrade Jack Hutchings out to the Middle East to speak with Adam Ackerman from the band Sorority Noise. Read on to learn about the writing process for the new record to the different influences each member brings to this band!

If you were talking to somebody who had never heard Sorority Noise before, how would you describe the band’s sound?

 Well, we take influence from all over the place, none of us really listen to the same music so we draw influences from all over the place. I listen to everything from jazz to hair metal, Cam listens to screamo and he loves Regina Spektor, Charlie listens to a lot of rap, so we’re kind of all over the place. Ryan is in a band called Prawn as well so he brings in a bit of an indie rock influence. I guess if I had to describe it, I’d say it’s rock & roll for the modern youths.

What are three things you need to have on tour with you at all times?

You definitely need your phone so you can stay in contact with everybody, you need your keys because if you lose those you can’t go anywhere, and you need to bring snacks because if you show up to a gig and you’re hungry, you’re not gonna play well. Well actually most importantly, you need your instruments.

 How has the tour with Fireworks been going so far?

It’s been a blast the past couple shows have all sold out, which is incredible, Fireworks and Turnover are a great bunch of guys that we’ve been getting to know. We’ve had a really great turnout and response it’s been a great time!

So tell me about the writing process for Joy, Departed, was it different from the writing process for Forgettable?

There was a total line-up change for the new record, for Forgettable I actually wasn’t in the band at the time but it was recorded at my school, and I was already friends with the guys in the band at the time, so I was still hanging around a lot and got to hear the record. And basically how it went, Cam would present them with a song and they’d just be like “yeah that’s cool, let’s go record that” it was supposed to be a real fun thing. With this record we were really able to take our time with the songs and make sure everything was what we wanted, we had input from everyone, Cam would bring us a skeleton and we’d go “okay we like this part, we don’t like that part, let’s switch this here” even adding our own stuff at times. So I think the biggest difference between the two records was the time we were able to put into it and the line-up change that totally changes the sound of the group. The new record is totally new, totally fresh, and we’re all really proud of it.

On that subject, why the name Joy, Departed?

Actually it’s a funny story, Cam and I go to school together at the University of Hartford, where there’s a great conservatory called The Hartt School and a couple of our friends are in the opera department and they’re opera singers, so we went to go see them in a performance called “The Magic Flute” and it just happened to be one of the lines from that. It was inspired by one of the lines in the English langue translation. I’m not entirely sure why Cam specifically chose that line. But we heard that and we kind of looked at each other and said “wow! I really like that, it really goes with the sound we’re looking for!” I think it just really encompasses everything nicely.

Now you guys are often called an emo band, is that something you agree with?

I think all genres have their ups and downs, they all have their stereotypes, but emo at it’s heart is just emotional music which I think you could apply to a lot more than just what we do. The emo label definitley isn’t something we’re afraid of, if that’s how people want to label us, if that’s how they want to tell their friends to get them to check us out, then that’s cool. We’re just playing what we feel we need to play, so if that’s how people want to label us, that’s fine!

So what’s in the works for Sorority Noise in the near future?

We just announced a tour with Motion City Soundtrack and the Spill Canvas, which are two bands I never in a million years thought I’d have the privilege of saying I’m about to go on tour with. So we have that tour coming up, we’re probably going to be doing some touring the fall too, and we’ve even already looking into 2016 but we don’t have any details on that yet but you’ll hear about it when we do!

Do you like being a part of the underground scene or is the ultimate goal to advance to bigger things?

Well it’s always cool to move forward, I mean for us the most important thing is just being able to play the music we want to play. We have a lot of friends that moved from that underground scene into the real industry, at some point they become adults and realize they have a family to support and still love what they do, but need to do it at a bigger scale. And that’s not to say that DIY is dead or anything like that, but we have to grow with what we’re given. So if we get to a point where we get to expand, that’s awesome, we’re gonna keep doing what we do and as long as people are okay with that we’ll keep growing. But I love where we’re at right now, where we get to play real venues like The Middle East that have actually have like you know, monitors. But if somebody calls us up and says hey let’s do a basement show, we’re down for that too. Just because getting to play for people is just such a joy.

Okay let’s talk firsts, what was the first concert you ever went to?

So I was blessed to have very musically minded parents, they’d play, they’d sing and they instilled a love of music into me and my siblings at a very young age. So my first concert was actually the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald. And I’ve seen them 8 or 10 times, because they were my aunt’s favorite band, they were my parents’ favorite band, and just because they believe live music is important and they wanted to expose us to what they enjoyed. So it was the Doobie Brothers and KISS.

One of my favorite questions to ask is the gear question, so what do you use onstage?

Oh, fun! My favorite question! Well I’ll give you my personal rig, I don’t want to divulge the secrets of my brethren. So I play out of a YBA-1 Traynor head that I really love. It’s been modified to specs that I’m actually not even really sure of. Then I play a compact Orange PPC212 cab with vintage 30’s and an open back, which I really really like. For pedals I have an Xotic SP Compressor, then I run through an Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork which I just picked up, a Crybaby Wah, Planet Waves Strobe Tuner, Walrus Audio Mayflower, Marshall Shredmaster. The next ones my favorite right now, it’s a Bad Comrade made by Recover Effects. It’s all hand made, point to point hand wired. It’s got a really cool glitch fuzz thing that I’ve been using a lot. And then I have an Ibanez Chorus that I really like, a Memory Boy Delay, and Echorec by Catalinbread, a Ghost Echo by Eartquake Devices and all that’s powered by a Walrus Audio Phoenix power supply. For guitar I play an All-Stock 2011 Gibson Melody Makers Explorer.

It’s interesting because I think a lot of casual listeners don’t even realize the complexity of what goes into the sound for a band like Sorority Noise. What are your thoughts on that?

 Well for me there are two huge rules of thumb, one if you have any pedals at all you need to have tuner pedal, just tune your guitar, it’s not that bad. Some people will actually sacrifice their tuner pedal for like another phaser or something and I just don’t understand that. The other thing is if you’re gonna have it on your board, make sure you use it. I use every effect on my board, even if it’s only once for one song, I make sure that everything gets used. We’re all gear nuts so we really take our time to make sure we have all the proper equipment to make sure what we hear in our head is what people hear one the record and at the shows.

Listen to some of Sorority Noise's music on Bandcamp.

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