Sorin To New Heights

 

I sat down at Jack’s Diner with Alex Light, Ade Porter, Skylar Wells, and Kevin Bowman of Sorin a few weeks back to talk about their recently released EP New Heights; here is what they had to say.

It sounds really good. It’s play-it-in-your-car music. I was thinking earlier—your title track “New Heights” is 16 minutes long, which is longer than most EPs. How do you start out on a song like that? 

Alex: You take acid. [laughs]

Kevin: I remember Ade brought like one riff to me—a little riff solo thing that I played—and kinda just started working on it. We name each individual part of our song, and we named that part “New Heights,” and it ended up growing out of that. I had a recording project I had to do for my recording class at Butte College, and basically just a lot of the song came from writing it on the spot for that project. Threw in more stuff that Ade had written from high-school, it just kept growing. Kinda got out of control.

Ade: The original idea was probably like four years old by that time. It was written in high-school, and from there over the course of four years. Riffs had come out of it but I never really thought much of it. It always seemed like a song that would never have a place in a band [until] it came to forming Sorin.

Alex: I think we were all listening to Between The Buried And Me.

Ade: A lot…that had a huge impact.

Alex: [For] at least four years before [it was written] we were probably all listening to Between The Buried And Me. That whole time… I have said for a while to myself that we’re able to do what we’re doing as a band—with heavy music and more experimental refrains, into other places that aren’t really heavy that are more experimental. We’re able to do all of that because Between The Buried And Me does it. And did it. Their umbrella has kinda allowed us to become us…and you could say that it’s pretty derivative, and that we’re just ripping them off— and to a certain extent we are—but really like…it’s just the nature of the evolution of music. We wouldn’t be able to be so uniquely ourselves without Between The Buried And Me coming in and doing something a little similar… we wouldn’t have been able to express what Sorin is until someone broke the ground with a fifteen minute song.

Ade: One anecdote I wanted to share about the original pieces: the night I wrote them was the night I had gone to something called the Classical Guitar Project. It’s a monthly event of classical guitarists in the area and traveling musicians playing for a night. That night had totally inspired me and stretched me musically and I came home and wrote a lot of the middle of “New Heights.” Props to that entity that keeps happening. It totally changed how I write.

In what ways has Chico shaped Sorin? 

Kevin: Chico has a really cool metal scene. We’ve all been a part of it in some way. I was a big huge local music scene fan in high-school and junior high. Me and Ade used to go to shows together. Alex has been in a lot of local bands.

Alex: It allows about half the band to live for free, so there is time to actually create and pour your soul into something you’re stoked on beyond paying bills.

Ade: That is a good point. Part of living here means we don’t have to worry about surviving, which can hamper creating, making art.

Skylar: Also I feel like Chico is an open minded community, and that makes [me] capable of getting behind a band like this. I’ve lived in smaller towns like Grass Valley and Anderson for periods of time; I can’t imagine trying to do a band like this and having it go anywhere. It’d be hard enough finding other musicians. Chico is pretty great for that.

You’ve got a really cool vocal range. How do you write something like that into a song? I guess I’m more interested in your process as a band, is it always the same? 

Alex: Its never the same. Not at all. I never fucking know. There are some common threads, like with “Milk,” it’s like [a] gangster rap thing going on. I was just spitting in my head—less about the words more about the cadence and flow of it—and making it sound sick and percussive. That’s a common thread through most of the work; since you’re screaming all you really got is your range and your rhythm to get what you’d usually get across with a melody. I drink lots of coffee at The Naked Lounge and listen to the track and work things out in my head. It’s a lot easier to scream in your head, to hear.

Ade: I think every person who likes metal does, to an extent, scream in their head.

What are the goals for Sorin moving forward? 

Kevin: Writing more stuff.

Ade: The main goal for the last few months has been getting this EP out, and that’s done. We’re just repping it as hard as we can; really serving it up. Writing too.

Alex: We get to tour now that we have this. We’ve been waiting on having [that] to play anything out of town, so that’s something I’m really excited about. Bigger and bigger road trips. Try to take it outside of Chico. Spread it around on the Internet…

We’re gonna write because we have to for our mental/ emotional health, but we could tour for the next year or so if we were given the resources…There is a certain momentum that keeps the band glued. If you’re an artist sometimes you need to paint every day to be like, ‘yes I did something.’ This band has a visceral feeling of creating and butting heads and finding agreements and finding disagreements and finding new treasures in places you haven’t looked for. The excitement of discovery. Without that we quickly become a karaoke band feeling like we’re playing someone else’s songs because we wrote them so fucking long ago. It’s like when you have a partner: after the first four years, if you want it to still be sexy, you gotta start dressing it up differently.

Ade: Gotta be proactive

Alex: Yeah, gotta find new postures. New bad places to have sex. [laughs]

Kevin: Role-playing.

Alex: I feel like recording this EP kinda initiated that. We’ve given birth to it; it’s now its own life. We can see it outside of ourselves.

Kevin: We can let it go now.

 

Check out the EP review here 

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A fourth year at Hampshire College, J.D. DiGiovanni is in the North State researching the history of secession movements in California as a part of his senior thesis.