Sorority Noise has had one hell of a year, between releasing a split with The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, signing with Triple Crown Records, and tours galore, including their first headlining tour. They have plans to release LP3 in 2017, and Adam Ackerman and Cameron Boucher have had some excellent projects in the works, including one of Adam’s songs getting an exclusive spin on our site, as well as new Old Gray material.
When the band was down in Richmond, Virginia, we were able to chat with Adam. Cam wasn’t feeling well, and answered some questions via text after the show when he was feeling better.
Modern Vinyl: You guys recently signed with Triple Crown Records. What are you looking forward to the most with the partnership?
Adam Ackerman: I think just being able to work with Fred. He’s just such a cool guy, and he’s been supporting us for far longer than we’ve even known. He was the one who pushed for us to go on the Fireworks tour last summer, and has been keeping his eye on us from afar. He really understands that this is our project, our group, and he wants to facilitate our record the best he can. It’s been really great working with him already. He’s super nice and it’s always fun to see him at shows. I think just getting the chance to work with him is pretty exciting.
MV: You guys are joining a roster that’s already stacked with great acts.
AA: Yeah! Some of our absolute best friends are on that label now. We’ve got Tiny Moving Parts there, [and] Foxing. I’m trying to think of who else is there right now, but I can’t think of the whole roster. Even just those two are some of our best touring friends.
MV: Let’s talk LP3! That’s coming out some time next year, so what can we expect to hear on it?
AA: I don’t know. I mean, I do know, but I don’t know how to portray it without giving anything away. This was the first record that we all set apart the time to really dig in and all get together. It was our first time working with a producer; [it was the] first time in a studio that we were unfamiliar with. It was really fun to have all four of our influences come together a little more. All the people that worked on our record were incredibly thoughtful when doing everything, because they know that this is very personal for us, and very…I’ll use the word fragile, in the sense that no one overstepped their boundaries and everyone gave us a great way to deliver our material. I think you’ll hear a lot of new influences, just from having everybody in the mix. We also took as many risks as we possibly could, because we had the opportunity to. I think the overall product is really great, and I’m really proud of it. I’m excited for people to hear it.
MV: You mentioned that this was the first time you’ve worked with a producer on an album, but is there anything else you’ve done differently compared to everything else you’ve recorded?
AA: This was the first time we wrote songs in the studio. I think we wrote maybe one or two of the songs during pre-production. It’s not too outlandish, but for Joy, Departed, it was such a quick process. We got together, we had one 12-hour practice, and the next day we recorded drums. It was nice to have a little bit more time to actually flesh out ideas, and put a little more into it. The main difference is the amount of time we’ve had to work on it, for sure. I think it shows.
We have the same lineup as Joy, Departed, and I think it has a lot of similarities in the songwriting style, and the orchestration of it all. Sonically, and as far as songwriting goes, I think it’s a far more mature sound for us. I hope people will like it! I definitely do.
MV: Speaking of releases, you just released the split with The World Is A Beautiful Place… Why did you team up with them for that?
AA: The World Is… has been a part of Cam and Charlie’s life for a long, long time. That goes back to when they were playing in Old Gray. We’ve always wanted to do something with them, and it worked out where they had a song, we had a song. They said “Let’s do something with it!” It’s always fun to work with friends. That’s really it. We just wanted to put out music with friends.
Cameron Boucher: Pretty much exactly like that; I’ve been playing shows with them and seeing them live since 2011, [and they were] some of the first friends I had in music outside of my own scene, so it only seemed properly fitting that we eventually would collaborate together. I am really happy with how it came together!
MV: This is your first headlining tour! How has it treated you so far?
AA: It’s been unbelievable. It’s been truly surreal. A lot of the venues we’ve been playing, particularly First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia and Middle East Downstairs in Boston, they used to have different places in my life. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, and have seen tons of shows at First Unitarian. One of our first Boston shows was with Modern Baseball at Middle East Downstairs. Just to go from opening our first tour with Modern Baseball, and headlining the same venue, and also playing a venue where I’ve seen some of my favorite bands play…to headline it and sell out was really, really something we’d never expected. It was just so cool. We had so many friends come out, and we got to bring some of our favorite bands out, between Free Throw and Ratboys. They’re just incredible bands. To have that comfort and control and just to be able to come out and go, “Anyone that’s here is here to see one of the bands we brought, or us,” it’s just a lot more comfortable, and just really cool to have this opportunity right now. I’m beside myself, to be honest.
CB: It’s been honestly more than we could’ve ever imagined. We’ve been supporting bands for so long [that] it’s just genuinely bewildering to have people be this cool at our shows, always grateful. We get to shows a lot earlier now to set up, and since these shows are all kinda near Philly, it’s just been super relaxed and we’ve stayed at home a good bit.
MV: Each time I’ve seen you guys has basically been down in Richmond; when you were with Modern Baseball and Tiny Moving Parts at The Camel, and last year you had the one-off [at Strange Matter] since that wasn’t part of a tour.
AA: If I’m not mistaken, I believe that was when we were on tour with Motion City Soundtrack. We had an off day, and we decided to play a show here [in Richmond] because we had never headlined in Virginia. We decided to play Strange Matter, and it went really well, and now we’re back! It’s cool. Strange Matter has always been really nice to us, and the food is incredible. Everybody has always told us that the food is spectacular here, but this is the first time we’ve made it when the kitchen was open, so we had a chance to sit down and eat the food that people have been telling us about for so long.
MV: Sheridan from Punk Talks joined you for a few days on this tour. Why do you feel it is important to facilitate a conversation about mental health with your fans at these shows?
AA: Playing music is really fun, and it helps me a lot, and that’s my outlet for everything. Not everyone knows that they have an outlet, or can just go talk to somebody. I think the best part about every night is when I see [that] somebody always goes up to Cam and says, “I really appreciate what you said about mental health, I suffer from this,” or “I’ve been struggling with that.” The fact that it just gives everybody a sense of comfort and a sense of not being alone; to have this platform to say that on, I feel like it would be a waste if we didn’t talk about it.
It’s important that people talk about it, and get the help they need, and talk with their loved ones and professionals when they’re going through hard times. I think it’s just important that everyone addresses mental health in the same way that people address physical health. People should take care of themselves. If we get any opportunity to show someone that that is an okay thing to do, and it’s something worthwhile, then I can’t think of any better reason to talk about it.
CB: I think it’s super important. I don’t think when I was growing up, the idea to talk about mental health, or anxiety, or depression in a real manner was much of a topic you discussed at shows, so it’s very cool to be able to hopefully talk about it a little and let people know that they’re not the only ones dealing with this.
MV: You talk about how self-care is important, and physical care. So when you’re on tour, how do you keep these things in check?
AA: It’s hard on tour. It’s really, really hard on tour. For me, my first step is to try and take care of myself in a physical sense. I try to make sure that I’m eating and sleeping. I try to make sure that I’m taking care of my body, because if anything is wrong here, it’s just going to amplify anything that I’m going through. I’m just super fortunate to have the bandmates that I do, because if I’m ever struggling with something, or if I’m ever feeling down, or going through a funk, I can go to them and say, “Hey man, I’ve been feeling this way.” They’ll help me. The bands that we tour with, I’ve been able to talk to at least one person on every tour about something that’s going on in my life. It’s just really important to be open and honest with people, and let people know what you’re going through. On tour, it’s just good to have the friends that I do, and your bandmates to really help support you and lift you back up. It’s difficult, but we make the best of it for sure.
CB: You know, i’ve been doing this for a few years now and I still don’t have a 100% correct answer to this. I’m honestly working on it every tour; it’s not easy, but there are some certainties I’ve come to learn:
MV: And on that line there, how do you hope to see change within the scene, in regards to the stigma surrounding mental health, and facilitating a safer place for everyone?
AA: Sad boy culture, first of all, has to go right out. Fuck everything about that. Anybody who is using the terms “sad boys” and things like that, or talking about how depression is cool, or making suicide jokes; all of that has to go away. For some people, that’s a very real thing that they go through. You can’t try to glorify it to identify with this music, and you don’t need to glorify it to identify with this music. I’d really like to see that change. Other than that, I just want people to be able to reach out to one another. If they see someone struggling, that’s a friend of theirs, or someone they’ve met at a show a couple of times, and you see them off on the side not seeming like themselves, I hope that they can open up a conversation and try to make that person’s day better.
MV: So, the election’s on Tuesday. Do you have any predictions for how it will go, or how you wish it could’ve gone this year? (Editor’s note: This interview took place BEFORE the election.)
AA: Oh man. In so many words, I think we have a lot of issues in our country with how our government is run. It’s obvious. The fact that we’ve allowed someone like Donald Trump to even have the option to become President is…honestly mind-boggling to me. In the same regard, I was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Let’s be very frank about that. To have the now Democratic candidate say that she definitely rigged the election so that he would not be able to become president and have nothing done about that is really disheartening as a citizen. I’m not really much for the third parties either. I’ve just never really liked politicians as a whole. What I really hope would go differently next time, is that I would really love to see just less sensationalized “reality TV” type marketing campaigns and media things, because I feel like that’s what’s getting everybody riled up right now.
Everything has to be amplified, and nobody is focusing on the actual issues at hand. At this point, it’s a couple of days before the election. I don’t really know what any candidate is going to do for us. It’s weird that I even have to think about social issues as the main point of voting for someone, because I feel like we should move forward as a society and accept all people for whomever they choose to be, or whomever they are, really. I would just like to see more honest people in front of us. More accountable people. And I would love, for once, to just trust the whole system.
MV: Lastly, is there anything else that you would like to add to this?
AA: When you told me I worked for Modern Vinyl, I got really excited because this is my second Modern Vinyl thing this week! I had a song stream earlier this week on the site, which was incredible. I really appreciate you guys for putting that out, because that song is really important to me. My friend Madeline, who is putting it together, their friend was very important to them. Again, just to be able to talk about how you feel with another person is great. And that was really cool to be able to support a family who lost their son. I was excited that you were working for Modern Vinyl, because I was really happy that you guys did that for us. Anything that you guys ever want is cool with me.
Details about LP3 are still a little scarce, but it’s definitely an anticipated album of 2017 for most of the MV staffers. Sorority Noise has a few more shows lined up for the rest of 2016, all of which are in California. After that, Cam’s other band, Old Gray, will be playing a handful of dates from Dec. 9-18.