2016 was a breakout year for a lot of projects, but few could match the accomplishments of Portland post-punk act, . Active since 2010, the band (which now features founding member Tobias Sinclair, Conrad Vollmer (Warm Hands) on guitar and Owen Glendower on synths), came into the year on the heels of their acclaimed album, Heresy, and seemly toured nonstop, adding to their already avid following and picking up new fans every step of the way.
Just released on is , the band’s third album and perhaps the most lush and broad in scope. The record is a heartbreaking work of melancholic bliss that sees the project descend deeper into the depths of emotion and introspection. The eight song offering is a nice evolution of sound and works as a perfect accompaniment to the current state of things.
The band is about to embark on a West Coast tour and to mark the occasion, we have an exclusive track to premiere - “The Figurehead” is a great Cure cover that the band re-interpreted and made their own after recording Choke. We also spoke to Tobias Sinclair about the past year, the new album and what’s next for Soft Kill. Please enjoy the track and Q&A below:
The Brvtalist: In 2016 there are few bands I heard about more than Soft Kill. Whether it was touring, the last album, etc., you were on a lot of people's tongues. Why do you think that is and reflect a little bit on the last year.
Soft Kill (Tobias): I think we have a really dedicated fanbase and up until Choke we had never done any kind of publicity so any kind of love we were shown was purely word of mouth. Ever since we really dedicated ourselves to touring things have significantly changed, it really does prove you just have to work hard to spread the name.
TB: The track premiere is for "The Figurehead". How did you guys decide on this track to cover? Also, would you say The Cure is one of your biggest reference points?
SK: Cvlt Nation came to us with the highly original idea of having current post punk bands cover an entire no-brainer album. "The Figurehead" in my opinion is the greatest post punk song ever written. After we recorded it Cvlt Nation flaked on including us in the project so we decided to go ahead and get it out there for people. The Cure are the most influential band in the genre, it's pretty impossible to escape their influence but I wouldn't say we go out of our way to sound like them. I actually asked my baby mama out on our first date while I was high on meth to go see them this past year but she fucked that up second guessing and overanalyzing it, she also had a boyfriend at the time but had entered IDGAF mode and couldn't stop the forces of love aka I was destined to hit. It should also be noted that Owen and Conrad did the bulk of the work on this song, all I did was play bass and record vocals while holding a Pomeranian.
TB: "Choke" is your third album and probably the most layered. Would love to hear your thoughts on the evolution of your sound and did you approach Choke any differently than “Heresy” or "An Open Door"?
SK: ”An Open Door" was some fools high on dope trying to be Magazine and Wire. "Heresy" was the only remaining idiot trying to process the death of three close friends. A lot of life had been lived in the four years between those two records, at least one of which was spent doing pushups and eating soups alongside the Mexican Mafia. This kind of started the process of me realizing I had to get sober regardless of how much effort I was actually willing to give to that. "Choke" opened up the door to that being a reality, via collaborations with my two best friends and longest running bandmates, Conrad and Owen. Instead of writing songs on a 8-track we would pick up guitars and endlessly riff until things fell into a groove, which birthed half of the material on the album. The only reference point in making those songs is that we wanted ta guitar heavy album, like a post punk version of The Strokes "Is This It?".
TB: You're about to embark on a big West Coast tour? Are these the final dates of the year and how do you want to close things out?
SK: We are heading out with All Your Sisters starting December 1st and this will be the last thing we will be doing for a few months before I welcome my first child into the world this April. We are planning on some dates with Draa right before summer next year. We will be doing some dates with Chameleonsvox in September 2017 in Europe either right before or right after that.
Thank you to Tobias for the great responses and be sure to catch Soft Kill and All Your Sisters (which just released the great “Uncomfortable Skin” in a city near you.
The West Coast's best in dark music team up to burn down the world for two weeks straight.
All Your Sisters recently dropped "Uncomfortable Skin" and Soft Kill are touring in support of their release "Choke" out now on Profound Lore.
12/01 - Riverside, CA - Aurea Vista**
12/02 - Sacramento, CA - Starlite Lounge**
12/03 - Oakland, CA - Matinee Show- The Night Light
12/04 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo / Part Time Punks
12/05 - Tempe, AZ - 51 West w/ Draa
12/06 - El Paso, TX - The Monarch
12/07 - Austin, TX - SideWinder w/ Street Sects & Future Blondes
12/08 - Houston, TX - Notsuoh
12/09 - Dallas, TX - RBC
12/10 - Tulsa, OK - Downtown Lounge w/ The Secret Post
12/11 - Denver, CO - Meadowlark w/ Tollund Men
12/12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge w/ Sculpture Club
12/13 - Boise, ID - House Show!
12/14 - Portland, OR - High Water Mark
** w/o AYS