INTERVIEW: THE SOFT PACK

written by Chris Familton

The Soft Pack are currently riding the buzz band wave that has been generated around them for the last few months and they have responded to the hype in the best possible way by releasing an album that stands as one of the highlights of 2010 so far.

To back up the release and justify the blog space they have inhabited, the quartet have been touring for the last two and a half months and giving their new fans the chance to experience the songs up loud and in person. According to a low-key David Lantzman [bassist] the tour has been going really well though it has been hard work and a Catch 22 experience at times.

“Touring a lot does wear on the psyche a bit from not sleeping too much. Playing shows is fun but everything else can be a bit of a drag. Each element of it has its ups and downs. It’s great playing exciting shows but it sucks being away from home, not sleeping and getting sick. It’s great being home writing and recording and being able to cook in a kitchen and hang with your friends but it sucks when you want to be out on the road playing shows.”

The Soft Pack were formed in 2007 by singer Matt Lamkin and guitarist Matty McLoughlin and after meeting Lantzman and drummer Brian Hill and changing their name from The Muslims they really began to find their feet as a democratic group of musicians.

“It has been somewhat of an evolution, there was an adjustment period and we are still even going through that in terms of writing together and collaborating as a foursome. I think a song on the album that encompasses that kind of idea of working together would be Pull Out. That song came out of nowhere just jamming and swapping instruments. I feel like that was a turning point in our writing process. That was an important point for the band in terms of reaching a cohesiveness and understanding how to write and play together and it was the most exciting point for us making this record. It was such an easy song to write but we couldn’t have done that song in the beginning, we’ve come a long way going through all the other songs and playing and writing together for months. When we got to that point we really got each other,” explains Lantzman.

The other important moment in the career of the band was their move up the west coast to LA from their hometown San Diego. While both cities have great local scenes the move was clearly a big part of the band gaining more attention and being able to hook up with other like-minded acts.

“We moved to LA for reasons having to do with work and wanting a change of pace. We grew up in San Diego so we weren’t trying to leave there, we were a San Diego band from when we started. San Diego’s got a great scene, we’re actually on tour with a great band from there called Beaters. There is a good scene where we are living in LA at the moment. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti are one of my favourite bands right now as well as Night Jewel, Dunes and Pearl Harbor. I’d say LA’s doing pretty well musically at the moment,” says Lantzman.

Though it seems like the band have only just arrived on the scene with their self titled album, they are already working on songs for its followup and should be test driving some of them live later in the year.

“We recorded this record in August so we’ve been thinking ahead, We had some time off in the holidays so we got a lot of new stuff together. We’ve tested a few out live but this tour is more about playing stuff from the record. When we get back home we’ll flesh things out a bit more and we’ll start playing them live. We started playing the songs off this album long before we recorded them and I’m sure that is going to happen with the next one too,” Lantzman says.

If you haven’t heard The Soft Pack yet then two songs you should start with are the brilliant and quite different Answer To Yourself and Mexico. The first of the two surges along like a lost gem from The Saints and was written while the band were on tour. “Me and Matty were playing and I came up with the bassline and he came up with the chord progression and we just recorded it on a voice mail answer phone, thats how a lot of stuff happens. explains Lantzman.

Mexico was actually one of the first songs we did together as a foursome and then we kinda forgot about it until we rehashed some demos. A lot of the stuff we play pretty fast and we were excited about that one because it was catchy, slower and a change of pace – kind of like a summer song. We’re not completely tied to the blaring loud fast thing, we’re up for other stuff. It just kind of came out, it wasn’t a conscious thing,” he says.

Something about The Soft Pack suggests that they will stick around for the long haul. There is no distraction with fashion articles or magazine covers to deter them from focusing on their music and if they can equal or improve on this latest album then we are all in for something special.

This interview first appeared on FasterLouder

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