Age-defying success of teenage Sonic Blume continues with shows Nov. 16 at Asbury Park Yacht Club, Dec. 22 at House of Independents, a forthcoming video, a slew of singles in the New Year to follow two well-received EPs, and a debut LP hopefully by summer!
The members of Asbury Park/Red Bank-based Sonic Blumemay be teenagers, but they’ve learned enough from music mentors, such as Lakehouse Recording Studios’ Jon Leidersdorff, producer Erik Kase Romero, Deal Casino front man Joe P., and videographer Anthony Yebra to put together a strong team. Romero and Yebra are part of that team along with Lakehouse-operated label MOTO Records and manager Allison Green, mom of Max Connery, Sonic Blume’s front man, songwriter, guitarist, synth player and vocalist. Together, they have developed the Asbury Park Music Award winner for Best Young Band into a good draw at such top venues as Starland Ballroom, Asbury Lanes, and House of Independents where Connery, drummer Danny Murray, bassist Andrew Phelan and guitarist Chase Landgrebe will play with The Happy Fits and Shoobies. But first Sonic Blume will play the Second Annual Makin Waves Hunger Benefit on Nov. 16 at Asbury Park Yacht Club with Bulletproof Belv and Matty Carlock. The beneficiary of that show and three others also happening at APYC and next door at Langosta Lounge will benefit Food for Thought, the folks who organize annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the homeless and the hungry. The show is free, but funds will be raised by a dozen acts donating their pay, plus proceeds from a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction, the prizes of which will include a live painting of Sonic Blume created earlier in the night by Toms River-based artist Kristen Woolley.
When not performing, Sonic Blume will be readying a new video for “In the Sun” to follow Yebra’s summer “Shotgun” clip from their second Romero-helmed EP, Beach Karma. They also will be dropping several singles in the New Year leading up to a possible summer release of their debut full length, which would be their third record overall.
Find out about all that and more in the following chat with Connery:
Did you all grow up in the Red Bank area and do you consider that a dual base with Asbury Park?
Yeah, we all live in the Red Bank area. Danny and Chase are from Middletown, and Andrew and I are from Rumson-Fair Haven. We actually all met in Red Bank at the Count Basie Theatre’s music program, and even played for the first time as Blume at Jamian’s two-plus years ago. More recently, we had our first official video premiere at The Downtown and our EPs are for sale at Jack’s Music Shoppe. So, yeah, it’s definitely as much of a home base for us as Asbury Park.
Are any you guys of legal drinking age yet?
No! We still have a few years to go. Danny, our drummer, is 18 and attends college in Philly. The rest of us are 17 and seniors in high school.
People often comment on how much you have been able to accomplish at such a young age. Besides the music, what do you think have been the greatest contributing factors in that success?
We’ve had a lot of great people surrounding us and helping out a lot, like Jon Leidersdorff and his team at Lakehouse, and then, of course, Erik Romero, our producer. Also I can’t give enough thanks to my mom, Allison Connery, who helps keep us organized and manages the band.
How did it feel to win the Asbury Park Music Award for Best Young Band?
It was really cool to be awarded Best Young Band. Bands that we love and look up to, like Dentist, The Cold Seas, Deal Casino, and Remember Jones, also either played at the Awards or won awards, and it was super cool to be recognized at the same event with them.
What would you say your greatest accomplishment has been and why?
I would have to say writing, producing and releasing our self-titled EP.
How did the band get together and how did the Count Basie Theatre influence that and your relationship with Lakehouse Recording Studios?
Yes, we all met at the Count Basie Theatre’s music program. It was at the program that we all became amazing friends and realized that we all had common musical interests and started our band. We met Jon Leidersdorff from Lakehouse at one of our first gigs in May 2016 at a Battle of the Bands at Mater Dei High School. He told us he really liked our sound and we should try writing some originals. Inspired by his feedback and excitement, we started writing and a year later, we contacted him, and he immediately remembered us, inviting us down to Lakehouse. The rest is history. I guess you can say Jon saw something in us, and we’re so grateful for his encouragement and support.
What have you enjoyed and learned most in working with Erik Romero and how has he helped to shape your sound?
We have learned so much from working with Erik. He has so much experience and is amazing at what he does. He completely understands the sound and aesthetic that we go for as a band and really helps us achieve that in the recording. He’s a great mentor and friend. We’re lucky to be working with him.
What elements go that into that sound as far as instrumentation and effects and what artists inspired it, why and how?
Lots and lots of reverb and delay are key with our music, and inspired by ‘90s shoegaze bands, like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, and more modern dream-pop bands, like Wild Nothing, DIIV, Beach Fossils, and Alvvays. We are also hugely inspired by ‘80s band The Smiths. I actually play the Johnny Marr signature Fender Jaguar guitar just because I love his playing and tone so much. The Smiths bass tones are amazing too, and on songs like “Sunflower Bean,” we really tried to emulate that.
Why do you think that sound resonates with music fans and behind-the-scenesters? How does it both fill a void along the local music landscape, yet also compliment what’s going on in Asbury Park?
I think there’s a huge amount of nostalgia related with the genre. I am constantly told by people how when they listen to our music, it reminds them of ‘80s new wave bands, like The Cure, The Smiths, New Order, Joy Division, Cocteau Twins. It’s kind of crazy for us because we were all born in the 21st century and obviously weren’t alive back then, but those bands are still super important to us.
As far as dream-pop music in Asbury Park, I don’t really know of too many other bands doing a similar thing. There was an amazing band called Lunch Ladies who were in the same realm, but I think they broke up. A lot of the major dream pop bands are based out of Brooklyn.
What do you like most about your most recent album and why?
I like the fact that we got to experiment way more on this album than on the first, and also it was really fun playing a lot of different synthesizers in the studio. Adding the ‘doors’ or interludes was fun too.
Two important relationships that developed from Erik and Jon are with your videographer, Anthony Yebra, and Deal Casino, who seem somewhat to have taken you under their wing when they have the time. Comment on how both have impacted and influenced Sonic Blume.
Well first off, Anthony is such an amazing videographer! It was great to have his expertise, guidance and creativity when it came to shooting our very first music video. We had a blast!
And the Deal Casino guys are such genuine and amazing people. Joe P. has personally been a mentor to me, and I sometimes bounce ideas off him. He is an incredibly talented songwriter and musician. It was a huge honor when they had us open for them at their release show back in June at The House of Independents. We’ve learned so much from them all about keeping it real, staying true to ourselves and our art and having fun with it too.
Is there another video on the horizon?
Yes. We shot a video recently for our song “In the Sun,” which should definitely come out before 2018 ends.
What are you working on now record wise, at what point in the process is it, what configuration will it take — single, EP or LP — and how does it compare to your two EPs in sound and approach?
We are actually going to be recording some songs over winter break in December. We plan on releasing those as singles, which will be a part of our first official LP, which will come out in 2019.
Will you record with Erik again at Lakehouse?
Definitely. We’ve already showed him some new demos.
Do you have a sense when that next recording will be released and will it be on MOTO?
Singles to be released in beginning of 2019, and not sure about the full LP, maybe summer 2019?
What have you liked most about working with MOTO and why?
As I’m sure you are aware, MOTO Records is an educational label for young artists, and being a part of it has taught us so much about the industry and process of writing, recording and production. It’s been an invaluable experience to learn from such a professional and talented and supportive team over at Lakehouse.
What do you think of the Makin Waves Hunger Benefit for Food for Thought and why did you want to be a part of it?
We’re happy to be able to perform and raise funds for such a great cause. You have done such a tremendous job at pulling this together. It’s important to be able to help those less fortunate than us. No one should have to be hungry.
Is there anything else going on or coming up that you would like to mention?
Yeah, we’re playing a sick show on Dec. 22 with Shoobies and The Happy Fits at the House of Independents. It’s our third show with them and it’s always an awesome crowd and good time!