Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Interview With Val From Sojii

In this digital age, there’s A LOT of fucking bands out there, and one of my favorite past times is sitting down with a good pair of headphones and just digging through Bandcamp on the search for something new. On most occasions I find a few bands or artists who catch my attention for a few songs, but ultimately I loose interest or forget their names soon after closing out the app. Not Sojji though. The distinctive pig in a dunce cap album art work enticed me to click on their debut self tilted ep, and when the spastic energy of the beginning of “Milksop” gave way to a tight lead line, I was hooked. It wasn’t long after playing their ep back to back a few times that I liked the page, and hit Val up for an interview. 

1. To someone who has never heard Sojii, how would you describe your sound and the overall vibe of the band? 
Angular hard stool 

2. Y’all have a very cool, trashy, some would say, “lo fi” aesthetic being presented through the sound of your music and the photos you post on the band page. Is that an artistic decision you made with intention, or just a reflection of your collective lifestyles? 
Well I think all the trashy photos are from me cos I’m a trashy person. Danny is more linear and Donny is a classy fuck. 
3. I know that you used to live in New York and that Sojii followed you when you moved to Grand Rapids. How did the band initially form and how did moving affect it?
Yeah. Well the band didn’t only move. All the members have changed completely. It started because Anna, Raegan, and I went to the same school and we hated everyone and knew there was more somewhere out there in the deep smoggy sky. It has changed completely cos there are different people. For better or worse. I believe it’s more of a fluid entity than a fixed image of identities.
4. What are your personal influences as not just a musician, but as a person? What are Sojii’s collective influences?

My personal influences are industrial buildings and sites I saw [they] were so cold and forlorn and I wanted to take them home with me. Adrenaline too. I think our collective influence don’t exclude md2020. Touring. Sodium. Ajvar, Alice, and Prudence.
5. Lyrically you have a very “stream of conscious flow” with some pretty dark and nihilistic subject matter being presented. How do you typically come up with your lyrics? 
You just said it! It just cums. 
6. I’ve really enjoyed the ambiguous nature of you lyricism and how many different meanings can be inferred from your lines. For example, off your latest single, “Junkmale”, you have the lines “Look outside the kitchen window/At the kingdom at my feet/I slain the fertile cesspit/Put my feelings at ice cold ease” followed by “if you wanted it/I don’t/Kill that part anyway/If you needed it/I don’t/kill that part anyway”. Would you care to dive into what you meant by this? 
I don’t remember exactly. It started as a concept Katie gave me for the music she wrote. Really It’s about killing my ability to carry a child in order to live life as selfishly and opportunistically as I can. (Gender roles blahblablahblah) 
7. You finished a tour last year with the noise duo An Atomic Whirl. How was that experience for you? Where there any memorable moments from your time with those goof balls?
Otherworldly. They’re a couple of the craziest cats I’ve ever met. I wanna tour with them in Asia. Idk if this is trü but Kenji said he was gonna make his solo project into “Kenjii” cos of us. Haha. Also they’re moving back!
8. Besides AAW, what are some other great bands you’ve had the pleasure to play with? So far what venues have you enjoyed the most?
Ape Not Kill Ape (MI), CHOIR (PA), Girl Pusher (CA), Vertighost (CA)
Honey Trap in LA, Baxter BLDG in DC, Aviv in NYC (r.i.p)
9. With three tours under your belts, what have you learned since the first one? If you could give some advice to up and coming touring bands, what would it be?
Who I want to play music with. What is important to me. What really matters. Tell cunts not to bring fucking cheeze whiz cos it’ll stain the fuck outta my ‘98 econoline carpet goddamnit.
10. What are your most memorable good/bad/weird moments from tour?
Good time was when these two kids followed us from west ma to another couple shows and brought us exciting party favors.
I wanna say no bad times on tour cos I love every bit but it throws me off when anyone is sad or upset. Tour 'sposed to be fun. I did end up in the ER in Connecticut because of aforementioned party favors. The cops took my knife away and never gave it back.
I believe that I am the weird moment because I can’t think of anything weird.
11. When you first started the band, did you imagine things would turn out as they have? Now that you’ve made quite a bit of progress, where do you see Sojii in the future?
I like to embrace the now with eyes to the future. I don’t know that I’ve made much progress, but I have a lot of wet dreams about Sojii. I want to do everything I can as long I let me.
12. I understand that y'all are working on recording more material. Would you like to fill us in on how that’s going, and give us a hint as to how it will sound?
It’s going great. YOU’ll KNO WHEN U KNO. All I can say is we’ll probably b recording in Chicago.
13. wut’s ur last wurds???
Gabe Page

Valerie is one of the more interesting characters I have come into contact with through this magical thing called the “DIY Community”, and I think Sojii accurately reflects that, not just in Val’s meandering and ambigious lyrcism, but also in the straight weirdo rock nature of their specific brand of noise rock. Seriously, CHECK THIS BAND OUT. You won’t regret it. (Well, maybe you’ll regret it if you get the god damn cheese wiz in the carpet!)



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