“Brand Extension Push Strategy” by Sondi

This Thursday (July 5th), local alt-prog outfit Sondi will be releasing their new album Unbroken Thread at The Levee. I recently checked in with front-man Liam Peacock to ask him a few questions about the band and the new album.

When and how did Sondi form?
Sondi formed after my old band The Commie Ninjas dissolved, and I answered a call for musicians that Brian Roome (Gale), put up on Bluekaffee, circa 2009 or whenever it was that I last used Bluekaffee. We added bass player Drew Brown and former Ninjas drummer Aiden Dunne over time, and pretty much had a solid lineup and a fully realized sound rounding into shape right before Aiden ran away to Labrador. He’s been back in town just enough to get everything we were planning to record nailed down, so we’re very lucky to take something tangible away from what we wrote then. We’re bringing it to the stage with a new drummer, Chris Donnelly.

Is this the band’s first album?
It is most definitely our first album, although Aiden and I have been known to blur the distinction between the various bands we’ve been in as an excuse to throw anniversary shows. I did the recording and mixing in the basement of mine and Brian’s house, which I occasionally refer to as the Johnny Engine Room. It was shaping up to be a respectable little home studio, but a flood destroyed our furniture and carpet this year, so the place currently looks like a terrifying dungeon that no one should be able to make decent music in. Thankfully, no musical or recording equipment was lost. Mike Gear mastered it from his current lair in Toronto, and he did a fantastic job from our perspective.

How does the writing process go in the band? Do people bring in finished songs or do they evolve out of jam sessions?
Any and all of those things happened. At one point, Brian suggested that it would be interesting to write songs around a concept, so we sort of shoehorned all of our existing songs into that structure, and wrote down a list of ideas, plot points, I guess, that we still had to touch on. So, whether we were working on things by ourselves or just jamming free-form, we had that in the back of our heads for the last few months we were writing. The resulting album is naturally kind of vague as far as gleaning any kind of narrative from it, but to me it works kind of beautifully as a series of songs that feel like a story, and none of us are interested in writing a rock opera, or anything ridiculous like that. Specifically, “Brand Extension Push Strategy” came straight out of a jam. Even the title came out of a silly discussion where we were passing a first year business text book back and forth.

Your sound is pretty eclectic, touching on a wide variety of gneres and styles. Who would the band cite as influences?
We threw around the names Porcupine Tree and Radiohead a whole lot when we were putting together the band, as the sort of groups who create dynamic, varied, eccentric and smart music on a regular basis. From there it gets a lot muddier, and mostly comes down to whatever we were talking about on the particular day we wrote and recorded something. With “Brand Extension Push Strategy”, I kicked off the writing by asking Brian to start by playing something that sounded like a guitar rock riff, but with a really synthetic sound, and named Hawksley Workman’s “Striptease” as proof that I wasn’t a rambling crazy person. So that’s one thing, anyway. Every day, it was something else like that.

Any big show or tour plans after Unbroken Thread is released?
We’re looking into a few other shows, but after August, Drew leaves and the world changes again. Brian and I will look into continuing the band beyond that point, but right now, it’s all about the summer’s plans!

Check out Sondi with guests, Those Lasers live on Thursday (July 5th) at The Levee and pick up a copy their deadly new debut album Unbroken Thread. You can also listen to and download the whole thing at the link below.