With two new brand new singles out this year, indie rock band Punch The Sun is paying their dues in the New York music scene and they aren't slowing down anytime soon.
I got a chance to chat with lead singer Shannon Söderlund this week and learned a lot about this great band. Check out the interview here!
Consider The Music: It's great to meet you! So, how did Punch The Sun form and how long have you all be playing together?
Punch The Sun Band: We’ve been playing together for about the last 4 years, but our connections go back further than that. I met Dru, our guitarist, when he played in a band with my brother back in 2003 (I joined the band in 2005, then Dru and I started dating in 2006 – around the time the band dissolved). I met Campbell, our drummer, at the University of Montana in 2009. We all ended up in New York a couple years ago, where we met Pamela (she hired Campbell at his first job in the city) and pulled her in to sing harmonies. For a while we played under my name, “Shannon Söderlund,” but around a year ago I started playing the bass (we had a different bass player before) and it felt like it was “time” to have an official band name. Thus we became Punch The Sun!
Consider The Music: Both your singles "Steady Volume" and "Mistakes" are giving me some seriously nostalgic 90's rock vibes, in the best way possible. I'm even hearing early No Doubt and Weezer in there. Is that the vibe you're wanting your audience to feel?
Punch The Sun Band: The more we play and the more I write, the more cohesive this music has become – and it really does tie into the stuff we grew up listening to in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Weezer was one of my favorite bands around that time, so it makes sense that they influence the music. I wouldn’t say we’re trying to emulate that vibe, so much as I’m not trying to disguise it too much when it happens to pop up in the music.
Consider The Music: Shannon, you have some serious pipes. I'm curious, have you as a vocalist, ventured into others styles of music prior to your time with Punch the Sun? I'm hearing some definite soulful timbers in there.
Punch The Sun Band: Well thanks! I’ve had a pretty diverse vocal background. I grew up in a Baptist church, so I feel connected to the rich musical tradition of Baptist hymns and Gospel music. I also grew up playing in a band with my family, which had a contemporary Christian rock vibe. In college, I fell completely in love with jazz, and that’s actually why I moved to NYC – to be a jazz singer. After a few years, though, my interests got really wrapped up in my original music and I decided to pursue that line with more freedom, rather than feeling beholden to a “jazz” sensibility.
Consider The Music: I'm pretty stoked to learn that you all are based in Astoria. I lived there for 8 years! How did I never see you guys play? And also where can people see you guys play now?
Punch The Sun Band: Astoria is the best! You were probably around while we were playing under my name (Shannon Söderlund) and before we officially switched over to Punch The Sun, so you might’ve missed us in this formation. We’ve played all over Astoria – The Bonnie, The Quays, The Shillelagh, Astoria Bier & Cheese… the list goes on! On November 5th we’ll be at Sweet Afton for the “Astoria Music Now! Turning Leaves Festival,” and later in the month (Nov 19) we’ll be in Manhattan at Rockwood Music Hall – one of our favorite venues in the city.
Consider The Music: The chord changes in 'Steady Volume' have me playing the song on repeat. Where did the inspiration for that song come from?
Punch The Sun Band: That song came out of a period where I was writing on electric guitar a lot. I remember I was feeling awfully awkward at that time whenever I would meet someone new, or worse – run into someone I’d met once before, briefly, but didn’t really know (what the hell do you talk about??). It felt like high school, when I used to spend hours sitting in front of my mirror having imaginary conversations that never really panned out in real life. So I was ruminating on that phenomenon with guitar in hand. There’s something so personal about playing the guitar rather than, say, the piano… the instrument is right next to your body; you’re practically hugging it. The guitar is a real “partner” in introspection. So I think it was the perfect instrument to bring this song to life.
Consider The Music: Which artists would people be totally surprised to hear that you listen to?
Punch The Sun Band: Hmm… this is a hard one! Probably folks in the jazz world, like Brad Mehldau or Ben Wendel. That’s not a huge surprise given my jazz background, though. I will admit, I got a very surprised (incredulous?) response last year when I said Babyface’s Christmas album was one of my favorites! I have it on repeat during the holiday season - it’s incredibly nostalgic for me.
Consider The Music: What music do you have coming up for listeners and where's the best place for them to hear it?
Punch The Sun Band: We’re releasing two new singles before the end of the year (our next one comes out on 10/26!), and if folks want to hear them as soon as they come out, they should follow us on Spotify! Our newsletter is also a good place to get info on what we’re up to – you can sign up on our website, punchthesunband.com. Or come to a show! I love doling out hugs after I play music.
Chatting with Shannon was a lot of fun! I hope you'll give these rising stars a follow at punchthesunband.com. Indie bands need all the love they can get! Check out some videos of the band below.