The Kentucky Post Hardcore Band SOFTSPOKEN Discuss Their Forthcoming Album, Newest Single ‘Paradox’ and More!
Posted On 23 Apr 2019
Florence, Kentucky melodic post-hardcore quintet Softspoken recently released a new single called “Paradox.”
Lyrically insightful, melodic rock with influence shining through from across alternative and punk spectrums. “Paradox” is the band’s first release since debut EP ‘Pathways’, which was met with popular acclaim, the record already racking up over 800K streams on Spotify. The rockers spent much of the second half of 2018 working on new music at Glow in the Dark Studio in Atlanta, Georgia, with Matt Goldman (Underoath, As Cities Burn, The Chariot). More new music is on it’s way in the first half of 2019.
Get to know more about Softspoken in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Not a problem! For me (Chris), I’ll be spending some time working on the business side of things with the band, and then maybe writing a little.
Now that we are into the 4th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
2019 has been amazing so far. We started the year off with a bang with the opportunity to tour with Makari in January along with the release of “Paradox”. Since then it’s just been a gradual roll out of our upcoming album. Seeing the growth, and anticipation there, along with additional tour opportunities has been really exciting.
As for goals: The first one is to just get our album out and hopefully hit some charts with the release. We can’t really speak to whether or not we’re making progress on that, but I think we’ll do pretty well. Another goal is to hit the west coast on tour by the end of the year – the farthest we’ve made it so far is El Paso, TX, but we still have a lot of the year left!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
The band came together into the current lineup in stages. Initially it was me and Billy who talked about writing together. I was living abroad at the time and reached out to him on Facebook to ask if he’d be into writing for a new project with me. He was and we found that we wrote really well together. I’d already had the name “Softspoken” chosen when I reached out to Billy, so there’s never really been any discussion about it – everyone was into the name and the meaning behind it.
There are always surprises on the musical journey. Being totally honest, I’m surprised that currently we don’t utilize screaming very much. Our first single did, but we made a creative choice to continue without it after that, and that’s definitely different from my initial vision for the band – but it’s not a bad thing by any means.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
In a pure musical sense, I wouldn’t say our hometowns influence the overall sound of the band so much. Most of us are from around Cincinnati, OH and when I think of Cinci I think of hardcore, metalcore, or pop-punk. I guess there are elements of those genres in our music, but I wouldn’t say it’s directly influenced how we write. I’d say that our experiences influence us more than anything else. We’re a mix of ages, and we’ve all done different things in music before now so it’s kind of blending all of that together.
How did your band name first come together? Was it hard to all agree on one name? What other names were you considering?
“Softspoken” was a name that I came up with when I was living abroad in Japan. I played in a different band over there and had some side-project stuff I wrote on my own. I had a boss who once criticized me for being too soft-spoken and reserved and I decided that I was just going to be who I am and not change who I am for someone else. So I tagged the name “Softspoken” onto my initial side project stuff and then when I came back to the US and got the band started with Billy, we ran with the same name.
Let’s talk about your forthcoming album, “Deaf Perception.” What was the inspiration for these songs? What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? What was it like working with your producer Matt Goldman?
“Deaf Perception” as a whole was inspired by where we see the band fitting within the overall music scene. We’ve been through a lot in the three+ years we’ve been together, and we’ve overcome a lot of hurdles, and we’ve also created some of our own hurdles too. We were at a point when we started writing for an album (that was to become Deaf Perception) where we debated whether it was best to kind adapt our writing to the current trends and “fit in” with the overall shape of the scene, or if we wanted to write who we are and just be ourselves in the music. We had this idea that sometimes there’s a sort of “deaf perception” to music – where people pay attention to superficial things and don’t pay as much attention to the heart or the message of the music. With “Deaf Perception” we wanted to challenge how people perceive us, but also challenge fans to really dig deep into the songs and listen layer by layer.
We worked on the songs for about 8-9 months before heading into the studio. I had written or recorded a full-length album since my first band when I was 18 (over 10 years ago), and I remember I was worried whether or not I’d be able to have enough material for a meaningful album – we didn’t want to have an album that was just a couple singles and a bunch of filler songs. But, the creativity kicked in and Billy, and I were able to write a lot of songs we’re really proud of.
Working with Matt Goldman was absolutely amazing. We were in the studio with him for just over three weeks. We basically lived at the studio. It was in the middle of nowhere, so we couldn’t really go out into a city and enjoy a night out on the town or anything like that. It was kind of like a retreat. When we finished recording for the day, we either passed out, watched movies, or played more music (Goldman has a ton of cool amps that we liked experimenting with on our off hours). It was definitely a growing experience. It was exhausting and challenging both mentally and emotionally. We all got frustrated at times, but for the right reasons – we wanted to make the best album we could. Matt was amazing. He really knows music and appreciates the small things that can make an album great. We didn’t rush anything and he made sure we took time to rest and refresh so we could approach each day with fresh minds.
It was a great experience.
How would you say that your single “Paradox” prepares listeners for the rest of your album?
To us “Paradox” is the most like the last single we released (“How We Rise”) while incorporating elements of what’s to come in the rest of “Deaf Perception”. It’s upbeat and relatively quick, but has the same Softspoken sound to it.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
We typically write together in our practice space. For “Deaf Perception” it was just myself, Billy and Sam at the time. So one of us would have a riff or a melody and we’d jam it out until we had a couple of minutes of a ‘song’. Then I’d take the voice note home and pre-pro it into a demo using midi drums. We really like to start writing by feeling what we’re writing – so we almost always jam and vibe off one another in our space and then translate that into a recording.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
That’s a great question. I honestly can’t speak for the other guys, but for me I’m happiest when I’m performing for sure. There are other emotions involved with the other aspects of being a musician, though. For example, I’m most relaxed when I’m just losing myself in playing guitar by myself. I’m the most excited when I’m in the studio recording, etc.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
Our next group of shows are 4/21-4/27 with Misery Loves Company – mostly east coast dates. Then we have another tour in June with Eyes Set To Kill, Rivals, and Awake At Last that we’re really looking forward to. All of our tour dates are on our website at staysoftspoken.com.
An ideal show is any show, honestly. We’re happy to have the opportunity to play – whether it’s to two people or two hundred.
Do you find that all of social media and keeping up with your fans has gotten so overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?
Social media can definitely get overwhelming, but I also think that sometimes bands – and just people in general – can overthink it and get too consumed in “I have to post content every day!” If you’re being yourself(ves), fans will engage. We handle all of our social networks ourselves. I don’t know that we necessarily have a favorite network.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
For me personally, music isn’t so much of an escape as it is a release. Meaning, I don’t retreat into music to run away from the world; I put myself into music, and put that music out into the world. For all of us, we hope that the songs we write are relatable to our fans, and that in whatever way – small or big – can help them when they need it.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
Really any band that is willing to have us. We believe that there’s so much to learn from how other bands operate, both on the creative and business side of things. So it’s always a great experience to share the road with others who have the same dream but slightly different ways of reaching it.
As for inspiration: The bands that really started it all for us – Underoath, Saosin, Senses Fail, As Cities Burn – continue to kill it even now and still inspire us. But also all of the young bands out there who keep writing, keep playing shows, and keep following their dreams. I love going to a show in the middle of nowhere and hearing the most unbelievably talented local band open. That inspires me more than anything, I think.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
The message of Softspoken is to be yourself. Speak true to who you are, and take pride in who you are. Everyone is different, but we’re all connected. By trying to see different sides, hear different stories, we can all understand each other a little better.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
First, if you’ve read through this entire interview then thank you so much for investing your time when there are a million other things you could do. Softspoken is just a group of guys who live and breathe music, and we plan on keeping on as long as we can. We have a full-length album “Deaf Perception” releasing on 6/28. Pre-Orders for the album are live now at smarturl.it/deafperception. Check out our music, and pick up a pre-order. As an independent/DIY band, it truly helps us so much. Thanks!