I emailed the guys letting them know I wanted to feature them on my blog + wanted to ask a few questions. They were super helpful + super nice with their reply. So here's there's answers.
*Introduce the band to my readers. (Your names + what you play, etc)
SSOP is a five-piece group! It's made up of James Bohner (vocals), Will Miller (guitar), Andrew Snell (guitar), Mitch Canote (bass/vocals), and Andrew White (drums).
*What's the origin of the band name? Have you changed the band's name before?
We've always been Somewhere South of Perfect, but the idea came to us while brainstorming names for a song that eventually became "Honestly" from our first E.P. We thought it was super catchy so we pocketed it and wound up using it for the band once we released the project. It just conveys the idea that no one is perfect and that our lives are to be spent in humility knowing so.
*What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
We call ourselves pop/rock, but no one really knows what we're creating! All five of us have different influences, but the music we listen to is actually drastically different than the sound we portray. We're all fans of FTSK and a few other pioneer-esque pop artists, but our interests range across the board. We take a lot of inspiration from heavier artists such as Memphis May Fire, Crown the Empire, etcetera.
*When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
The band formed in June 2011 just because we all love to make music! We were newbies to the music scene and managed to create a fairly decent first E.P., but other than a love for the music, we didn't have any mind-blowing inspirations. We've since had a rejuvenation of goals, but we'll get to that later on.
*Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
No labels and no attachments. We've been kicking it independently from the beginning and have just recently been talking with some companies about taking this to the next level in the business area of things. We're more about reaching people than pursuing the labels.
*Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Venues... We have played a ton of shows over these last few years, but I'd say The Blue Note in Columbia sticks out as a favorite. Super cool downtown vibe and a great local scene. Also, any show organized by Jimmy Mustion is guaranteed to be a success! Our biggest gig on the calendar right now is the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on August 18. You all should come out! We'll get the chance to play with Audio Adrenaline, which is fun considering we all grew up hearing their material! Aside from that, it's definitely a transition period for us. We're toying with a completely new sound, so letting the pieces fall together is a process. We're taking the scene one day at a time.
*Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
We play every song we have at every show, but "Be Careful What You Wish For" seems to be a fan favorite! Having just dropped three new tracks, the fair will be our first opportunity to incorporate the new songs into the set. We're stoked about a brand new intro track from our producer, Geoff Rockwell, as well. We usually play the same set, but we've thrown in covers from Bowling for Soup to Lupe Fiasco in the past. You just never know what kind of genre-mixing you might find at an SSOP show.
*Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
We all write the songs, and though most of them are about our experiences with relationships, we're moving toward exploring a few more mature themes in writing. Like I said, it's an exciting time for change and experimentation!
*How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
The tunes have definitely changed a bit. Our first E.P. was in a large way an extension some older piano-driven projects we had done that had gotten transferred to guitars after a member change. Now we're moving into some really riff-driven stuff. We're looking to capitalize on fun rhythms to keep the people bouncing. Lyrically, it's always been about big hooks and connecting with young people. We're hoping for more of that in the near future.
*What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Our biggest challenge has always been location. At one point, we were all living in five different cities and driving hours on end for shows each weekend. It's just hard to maintain the dream financially when the geography is tearing at the group's seams. It's really limited the amount we've been able to write because togetherness has been few and far between for some seasons or our music careers. Fortunately, it's improving. Without the solid friendships we have in the band, I'm afraid we'd have parted ways long ago!
*What's your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
Fame? Not at all. Fortune? Only enough to one day support our families and give generously to those in need. Our faith and foundation in Jesus Christ has always been at the center of this band, and you can't go on pursuing the glitz and the glam knowing the true meaning of being a follower of Jesus. We want to love on people and show people that the music industry isn't all about glory and groupies. That's why we're so passionate about Memphis May Fire. They've brought the message to a crew of lost people without sacrificing their beliefs and standards. It's an exciting adventure to be a part of, and I'm glad you asked that question.
*What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Advice for the kid wanting to be in a band... Lol well... First of all, evaluate your motives. Why are you pursuing music? I'm afraid too many people are in it for the wrong reasons. Also, I'd have them be very intentional with every move. The era of fairytale band signings is coming to an end. Realize that your first single might not be complete gold. You won't be signed to Sony or Fearless or Rise or whichever label may tickle your fancy after one hot track. It's a game we all play, a machine we all feed, but be intentional. Evaluate your diligence, and when you feel your life calling you toward music, pursue and be a warrior. Giving up is only an option for those who don't understand what it means to truly seek joy in the undertaking of your greatest passion.
*How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Well, first of all, we're abandoning the term "fans." We're all about making friends because we're no cooler than the next brother. I guess we tried to convey that a bit in our most recent release, "More Friends Than Money." We're all over Facebook and our tunes are up on iTunes! Our first E.P. is up totally for free on a few websites (artistsignal.com) and you can find a few tracks for free on Twitter's Tweet for a Track feature. Honestly, if a friend-to-be just asked real nice for a free song, we'd probably hit them up in a heartbeat. Lol it's all about having fun and realizing that part of the game is being a little poor sometimes. We'd rather have a song in a friend's ear than a dime in our pocket.
*Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
The financial and emotions shout-outs could go on and on... I'm almost afraid to even begin because I'd hate to leave someone out. The best place to find it would be in the insert of our first E.P., "What Happened to Love?" For now, let's give all the credit to God, who gave us the hands and minds to delight in the passions he instilled within us!
*Any Last Words?
As for last words, let's just say that we want to love people. We want to meet people and to connect with them. To relate with them and to become real friends who live the same lives under the same passions. We want to help those that need help and love on those who have perhaps never been loved. The mission goes much beyond the music field for us, and we're excited to see what the future brings upon us!
I can't even express how much I loved reading their answers to these questions. It's very easy to get caught up in things + forget the real reason behind what you're doing. I kind of feel that way with this blog and I pray each night that God is in control of my words + this blog. I love seeing people on fire for Christ. I'm really glad I came across this band + I really hope you take the time to give them a listen + support these dudes.
I'm all about promoting music I dig. If you'd like to be a part of Music Monday, please send the answers to the above questions to my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a few music samples so I can see if we will be a good match.