With their new impressive fourth full-length “Total Dump”, French noise rock trio SOFY MAJOR have sharpened their arrows and we couldn’t wait too long to sit down with guitarist/vocalist Thom and discuss the album and learn what made it radiating right from the first listen. See the full interview below.
Total Dump by SOFY MAJOR is out now via Antena Krzyku, Corpse Flower Records, and Deadlight Entertainment. Mixed by Dave Curran (Unsane, Big Business) at Black Box Studios, and mastered by Carl Saff (Fu Manchu, Rosetta, KEN mode, Child Bite) at Saff Mastering, the record can be listened in its entirety below. For fans of Unsane, Harvey Milk, The Jesus Lizard, Coliseum, etc.
Hey there guys, thanks so much for your willingness to participate andsharing your thoughts through IDIOTEQ. It’s been well over 3 years since the release of the acclaimed ‘Waste’ and it’s great to hear you cautiously challenging yourself, sonically exploring many different directions. Please give us your thoughts on the creative process behind it and how you feel your sound has evolved over the years.
Well, it’s all about surprising yourself and people while maintaining some kind of coherence with your past material. Offering something new and surprising without losing your identity is key to me. This is, in my opinion, the greatest challenge. And we tried to take up this challenge on “Total Dump”. I like to think that we met it, but I might lack some objectivity! I just know that it was a very fruitful creative process. I didn’t say easy… But we took our time and looked into many details; dynamics, variations, structures, etc. It wasn’t just about the global sound itself. Though, obviously, my playing and guitar set-up and stuff are way different than Seb’s (former guitar player). So, when I joined the band again full-time, I had to find the right balance between bringing my own thing and kinda sticking to what had already been established and was core to the band’s identity. I was in this weird but interesting spot where I had to mess with things while being respectful, you know? Eventually, on all levels, this record was as fun as painful to make and that’s partly why we’re so proud and relieved it’s finally out!
You’re already getting some really good press on it. Have you come across some interesting views and takes on “Total Dump”? Are there some aspects of others’ perception of your work that made you think?
As it’s my first full length with the band, I can say that I’m pretty excited to read here and there that some people think it’s the best one yet, haha! For the rest, anyone can write anything on it, it’s fine by me. I mean, we do choose to let our stuff go out there and get public. Once it’s released, it kinda doesn’t belong to us anymore. I just have to admit that it kinda makes me tick a little when I read that we’re a “stoner” band: it’s a genre I absolutely have no connection or affinity with. I just watched some of those hilarious videos by Red Fang and saw them live, once, but that’s it… My only connection ever to “stoner”.
What artists and records have inspired your work?
Not neccessarily the ones people and critics often think of, haha! Like, when we were working on “Total Dump” I really was under the influence of… Annie Clark (St. Vincent)! I’m a huge, huge fan. I love her approach of the instrument and how she messes with pedals and stuff but always with the intent of serving the song. She taught me to be patient and not to give up ’til I reach the sound I precisely have in my head… You know, I get that many listeners and reviewers often come with Unsane, Melvins, Baroness, etc. as our main inspirations. We’d be terrible liars if we said that there’s no affiliation at all. We even have the privilege to call Unsane our buddies. But we’re inspired by so many different other things! Some of the stuff that really helped to shape the identity of Sofy Major goes right back to the mid/ late 2000’s, when the band was just getting started.
It was my first stint with the guys (I played drums back then!) and I remember that Mathieu (bass/ vocals) and I had huge crushes on albums like “Forging Steel, Lying Stone” by Akimbo, “The Ruin of Nova Roma” by Taint, “Christmas” by Old Man Gloom, also the first, eponymous, Torche record, etc… These were major inspirations to us and still are to this day, I think. This is common ground and then, like I’ve said, the three of us now listen to many different other things that might add some extra flavors to the recipe, if there’s one…
Lyrically, what real-life events and emotions informed your perspective on these songs?
You mean, our lack of perspective, haha?! Seriously, during the making of this album, we all found ourselves in dark places. Sometimes all at once, sometimes one after the other. Moving forwards but with blinders on, or taking steps back. So, personally, regarding the lyrics of the three songs (Total Dump, Giant Crush Crash, Cream It) I was gonna sing the lead parts on, I decided that I’d openly write about what was going on. I know that Mathieu likes to go for a more abstract, imaginary approach when it comes to writing lyrics, but on my part I just wanted to tell things like they were. We were losing dear ones, losing friends, losing our groundings, our shit, our minds…. in every possible way. We didn’t believe in anything anymore and, at some point, weren’t even sure we still believed in this band… But thank goodness we’re stubborn, and/ or stupid!
Did you intentionally bring us on a whole journey by defining this particular ordering of the tracks?
Indeed we like to take extra-care of the tracklisting and spend some time working on it, until we feel we have the best sequence. An album is like any story or joke; the way you’re telling it is an important part of how good it’s gonna be.
What’s up with this cover art? How does it relate to the content of the record?
I came up with the whole cream pie idea and surprisingly my bandmates agreed at once! Since the band’s first album, there’s always been the painting or picture of a face on the cover. We wanted to keep that pattern going but try something less dark, less “metal/ hardcore” oriented. This album is about how everything can quickly go wrong, how all odds can suddenly go against you and you had no chance to see it coming. But we just didn’t want to illustrate that in a typical, cliché, dark way. So I came with this idea of the metaphor of a family dinner or a party where all of sudden things escalate quickly and end pretty bad…
After so many collaborations with many different labels, you’re teamed up with a trio of new labels: Corpse Flower Records, Deadlight and
Antena Krzyku. Please tell us a bit about each of them and how did you end up working together on this new record.
As soon as we started sending emails and talking to labels, I told my bandmates that I felt like Antena Krzyku would be a good fit. You could say I’m a little biased, as one of my other bands (Alabaster) is also on this label, but I had a good feeling about it. So I just sent Arek (Antena’s boss) a link to the album… and he loved it! Actually, the label schedule was already kinda full ’til May but he was just so motivated to have us that somehow he managed to reorganize his plans, so we could release “Total Dump” right when we wanted to. This means a lot. Arek is a true music enthusiast, and that’s the kind of people we want to work with. Just look at the diversity of Antena’s catalog… He’s not here to pose or pretend. He’s been around and into this for more than three decades, you just have to respect that. Plus he’s a vinyl freak so, as a band, you’re assured that your pressing will be great!
Obviously, the record industry, including independent artists, labels and distribution platforms, is in rough shape these day, being a result
of the rise of digital media and distribution. As an independent artist, how do you assess the change and its impact on the recognition of your
work? Apart from the labels’ work, how are you getting your music heard?
My girlfriend suscribed to Spotify premium and I’m so happy to get to discover new stuff every day on this platform… So, it’d kinda be hypocritical going on a rant about streaming platforms’ policies and stuff. But I have to say that anytime I’m really hooked on a album I’ve just discovered on the Internet, I then go to the record store and buy/ order a physical copy. And I hope people do the same for our stuff! For the rest, Mathieu, as a former label owner, will have a much more interesting insight and perspective on the matter. I can just say that, since the beginning of the band, we all knew that in our niche the best way to gain listeners, exposure, etc. was touring and go play everywhere, as much as we could.
Ok guys, so what are you working on next? What live shows can we expect from SOFY MAJOR and are there any other projects you’re involved in right now?
The other Mathieu (drums) and I have just started a band called P.L.P and it’s my chance to honor all of my 90’s alternative/ indie-rock influences…
Also, I still have Alabaster going on. Fans of Pissed Jeans, Daughters, Coalesce, etc: please consider giving it a listen…
Finally, I work as a bass player in a fine celtic band named Oubéret. It pays the bills, brings lots of extra-fun and gives my ears some rest: all good!
That makes for a busy schedule aside from Sofy Major, the three of us are actually really busy… But now that “Total Dump” is finally out, the goal is to play as many shows as possible this year. You can expect these shows to be brutal, loud, fun and full of love. We obviously want everyone to have a good time, enjoy the music, enjoy themselves… and if some love it enough to stop by the merch booth and grab a copy or a t-shirt, then it’s definitly a perfect night, ha!