Sobriquet – Interview

We recently reviewed Sobriquet’s new EP A Hundred Thousand Songs, and we loved it! These guys are really changing the metal/hardcore landscape, and we wanted to know more about them, so we decided to have a chat. See how things went below…

By Jane Howkins

You’ve just released an EP titled A Hundred Thousand Songs. What can you tell us about the EP?

Tom: We’re super excited to release it. It’s probably the widest-ranging body of work we’ve put out so far, and it’s an attempt to show off as many sides to what we do as  possible.

Ludo: it’s the first one we’ve collectively written as the five of us together and it’s definitely a bit more focused on where we’re hoping to develop ourselves as a band going forward.

Do you have any plans to release a full length album in the near future? If so, what can you tell us about that?

Tom: Currently we haven’t got plans to release a full length, but another EP might be our next step. We’ve got a lot of material written for whatever it is that comes next, so we’ll have to work out our exact plans once this EP is out!

You’re from Sheffield. What is the music scene like there and are there any local bands we should check out?

Michael: The Sheffield music scene is great; it always manages to walk off any setbacks thrown at it so we’re sure when the lockdown ends there’ll be more shows than ever.

Tom: There’s some awesome local bands that you should check out. Havelocke, Air Drawn Dagger and Toronto Blessings are some of the best ones around when it comes to punk/noisy stuff, but Sheffield also has a really strong extreme metal scene, especially for doom. Archelon and Ba’al are two of our favourites from that scene but there are new ones cropping up all the time!

Your music is quite mixed, in terms of genre and style. What is your writing process like?

Tom: Our writing process involves quite a lot of back and forth between different versions and ideas – sometimes songs are written in the room and sometimes songs are demo’d on computers and sent to the group chat. Getting fresh eyes and ears on it from all the members is definitely what gives it that edge and that unique sound that we have fallen in love with.

Ludo: In the old days it would just be that one of us would try and write a whole song by themselves and teach it to the rest of us, and whilst that worked for us for a bit, it’s not exactly the most creatively fulfilling process when you are a band that has five people with five very distinct tastes and preferences. We’ve found collaboration is definitely a more rewarding and exciting way to go about doing things when we’re all on the same page and share a similar vision.

What sort of stuff influences you, and who/what would you say are the biggest influences on your music?
Tom: A band like Converge are a huge inspiration for me both sonically and in the way they conduct themselves. They cover so much musical ground with their sound but it always sounds like them which is something I have a huge respect for. The same goes for a smaller band like Palm Reader who are one of my favourite bands.

Ludo: Although I love what the current metal and punk scenes have been doing to evolve over the past few years (and of course that’s massively influential), and the five of us have all got bands that we collectively adore, I think the more interesting influences on me personally are the ones kind of outside the typical wheelhouse for a band like ours. For me I’ve really gotten into the new avant-garde pop scene that PC Music helped pioneer, and I’ve always loved 90s Britpop bands like Mansun and Blur. A lot of bands and artists from Japan in particular have helped inspire me too, especially with the visual aspect in what we do.

You recently released a new single called Higami. What can you tell us about the track?

Ludo: I wrote it when I was living in Japan briefly. The title can be loosely translated as Inferiority Complex or Wrongly Biased Thought – basically it’s a song about self-esteem and learning to love yourself. I think that carries in the music itself as well – it’s dark and stormy but there’s definitely a bright ray of sunlight trying to fight it’s way through the clouds.

Do you plan to release any more singles anytime soon? If so, when and what are they?

Michael: We’re in full production mode for our next body of work (whatever form that takes) which is one of the most exciting times for the band and have about a dozen ideas in various stages of development. That will obviously involve singles (and the heart wrenching decision of which song deserves single status)

On top of that we are looking into releasing some stripped back reworks of our previous material which will probably also come out in single format. Partly because we still want to be releasing stuff but also want to challenge ourselves with a slightly different sound.

Do you have any plans to tour in the UK (after the coronavirus pandemic has died down obviously)?

Tom: We actually had a tour planned for May which has had to be rescheduled to October so we really can’t wait to play that. We’ve only played one show this year and we were all so up for the tour, October seems like such a long way away! On the other hand though, all artists are in the same position so we’re certainly not the only ones feeling this way.

Why do you think people should attend one of your shows, and what can people expect from a Sobriquet gig?

Michael: Our ethos has always been that people come to a live show for something more than just the music they’ve heard already played back at them. We obviously can’t afford the pyrotechnic and lighting bells and whistles (yet) so we throw ourselves into very unique and lively shows where we like to think anything can happen.

Ludo: When all is said and done, we want to be the band that the people will be talking about at the end of the show. If we can create a lasting impression then we’ve succeeded.

Any last words for the fans?

Tom: You can check out all of our stuff on our website (www.sobriquetband.co.uk) and you can also get tickets to our upcoming shows there! Hope to see you at a show soon!