A neat blend of “happy emo rock” and 2000s power-pop, Old Sol‘s Life’s Scary, Man EP is packed with witty, biting lyrics, upbeat riffs, and poppy melodies. The cheerful pop-punk sound produced by this Illinois four-piece is almost addicting–keep an eye out for a review in the near future–despite only having six tracks.
While listening to Life’s Scary, Man (and waiting for the EP review!), check out an interview with Old Sol below.
Indientry: If you had to describe the color blue to a blind person using only three words, what would they be?
Old Sol: Ocean, ocean, ocean.
What are you guys currently listening to?
Lots of smaller bands across the states are doing some really cool things right now: Super American, Lincoln, Bay Faction, to name a few. Slaughter Beach, Dog’s new album is a fantastic escape into wholesome, rural Americana; highly recommend if you like pretty words!
What’s your first musical memory (whether that’s a favorite album or picking up an instrument for the first time)?
In terms of an album that was formative for us as a group, Suburbia by The Wonder Years definitely stands out. That was one of the first albums we all bonded over around the time we started playing music together. We actually covered “Came Out Swinging” on a demo tape for our local battle of the bands back in the day (attempted to, that is). You’re Gonna Miss it All by Modern Baseball has similar standing. We covered “Your Graduation” at shows for yeaaarrrss. Gotta give the people what they want!
How did you meet? What inspired you all to make music together?
Our high school had a big talent show that we all wanted to be in so we tried out with a Yellowcard cover. “Believe,” to be exact, so that’s where the violin comes from. We didn’t make it because bureaucracy is poison and the judges were scared of music with emotion and pretty much we were so stubborn and pissed off that we refused to give up. We kept being a band and made it the next year!
What do you do outside of music that recharges your creativity?
Get high. Also acceptable – “get high, have sex, get high again”
Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?
Most of our performances are house shows or similar sized venues, which are always fun and interactive. We played House of Blues once a few years ago and that was pretty rad, felt like a real Certified Band™. I think we generally enjoy smaller venues but bigger rooms are great too when opportunities come up.
“Happy” emo rock is an unusual descriptor. What draws you to that genre?
Happiness is an emotion! Not one that we actually end up exploring often in our music, but the point stands. The genre, pioneered by bands like Say Anything and Motion City Soundtrack, is marked by traditional emo subject matter (e.g. I hate myself and life is hard) dressed up in wry, sarcastic, almost funny lyrics. Throw in a little bounce in the rhythm section and you’ve got yourself a happy emo rock song no problem! We are, of course, meme-ing, but there’s also something true there. Music, to us, is a lot about manipulating tension and release, and the clashing emotions of sad and happy create a bit of a weird vibe that plays to that tension-building. We try not to limit ourselves though, so we’ve been branching out to genres like happy emo jazz and happy emocore to keep ourselves busy.
The lyrics on “Life’s Scary, Man” seem to be anxiety-ridden and about messy relationships. Who writes the lyrics? Do those come from personal experience?
I do! (Ilan) It’s always a mix of the two: personal experience and imagination. The essence of any song I write is personal; I am trying to express real emotions I’ve felt or thoughts I’ve had. That anxiety you hear, it’s really there. In terms of specific lyrics and phrases, some are true, some aren’t, some metaphor, some exaggeration. Lots of the specific imagery I use comes from real events, though. For example, the very first words of the album talk about me getting acid reflux so bad I can’t make a move on a girl I took to a drive-thru movie. That really happened. We just sat there awkwardly for two hours watching Jurassic Park and then drove forty-five minutes home in silence and I deadass wanted to die.
I’ve seen that you use your social media and your music to get people to donate to the ACLU and the Transgender Law Center. Do you intentionally use your music as a platform to discuss otherwise touchy or political topics?
As for any political speech we engage in via our band social medias, we don’t post excessively and only say things when we feel our views are worth sharing. I believe our last post in which we decided to donate our merch proceeds to specific causes was in response to the election of Trump.
What’s next for you? Any plans to tour, play shows, or make more music?
Gonna write the most diverse album of 2018 and do some gigs. And chilllllll.