Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Sounds of System Breakdown

SOSB InterviewSounds of System Breakdown are flowering a new sound we’ve never heard before, a sound completely unique to themselves. With their upcoming album Nomad, SOSB are completely breaking new musical ground. The first song I heard by them was Mayfly– a song that gets you swaying throughout all its verses, yet can get your heartbeat racing in the middle eight. On it’s own,  Mayfly could stand as a staple to innovative indie music. With such love for this band, SOSB took the time to speak with AMBY about traveling in time, Nomad, and lucky Star Wars underwear!

AMBY: Hello SOSB! What have you been up to lately?

SOSB: Hi Alicia. In the past month we’ve played a couple of shows in Dublin and London, released a single and music video, Mayfly, and are currently starting the process of making a bunch more videos. We’re hopefully going to be working with some excellent UK and Irish filmmakers so really looking forward to that.

AMBY: Your sound is very unique! How would you describe it to those unfamiliar with your music?

SOSB: We’re a live band who play electronic music. Our new album has elements of 90’s dance music, disco, industrial and post-punk going through it. It’s just finished so we’re still too close to really say what it is yet.

AMBY: The songwriting in Mayfly is brilliant. Love how all the different sections of the song come together perfectly. What was the songwriting process like?

SOSB: Thanks! In this case we came up with the synth baseline first and wrote the rest of the music around that. We nearly always start with music and then I take it away and write words. The subject matter was fairly close to home but the lyrics went their own way. I try to keep it to a theme or give little snapshots of a story but really as long as the rhythm of the words sounds good I’m happy.

The bit in the middle actually came from a song I wrote years and years ago. I was checking through a bunch of old recordings with Ed and as soon as we heard it we knew it would fit perfectly with the rest of the song.

AMBY: The direction you’ve taken your album Nomad is extremely innovative! How would you describe it in three words?

SOSB: I think “concept album” is too strong but we definitely started with a pre-planned structure for how the album was going to work. There were lots of disparate sounds and ideas being brought to the table and we needed that structure to pull it together. The album is supposed to be a bit of a journey itself, and in order to achieve that we rehearsed the album straight through, often linking one song directly into another to keep the pace going. We’ve kept those joins and that pacing in the final product.

We also owe a huge debt to our co-producer Rob Kirwan who achieved a relentless, driving drum sound and who kept us focused on the important things in the late stages of putting it all together.

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. Three words? Weekend synth soundtrack.

AMBY: It’s hard to pin an exact genre to your music. Who influences you as musicians?

SOSB: There’s a list a mile long if you want what influences us individually, but at the middle of the Venn diagram there’s bands like Talking Heads, Prince, Queens of the Stone Age, Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem. The music we were listening when recording Nomad included Whitest Boy Alive, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Apparat, Baths and Caribou. And Bowie, but I don’t think anyone’s not influenced by him. At the end of the day we try take in as much as we can but forget about all that when we’re writing, so we can some up with something that’s our own.

AMBY: What’s the funniest moment you’ve had together as a band?

SOSB: Funniest/weirdest moment was sitting in an outdoor hot tub, halfway up a mountain by the sea in a remote area of West Cork, in complete darkness in the middle of one of the coldest, wettest and windiest nights I’ve ever experienced. Beer in hand, gradually turning into raisins because it was a 50 meter run back to the house. There was also a pair of geese that intimidated Richy at Grouse Lodge studio. They went for him every time his back was turned.

AMBY: Dark Chocolate is a pure dance track! What was the inspiration behind putting an instrumental on Nomad?

SOSB: We often play live instrumentals because it’s nice to be able to step away from the mics and have a bit of a dance. In the case of Dark Chocolate we wrote the music and tried out a few vocal ideas, but it just worked better the way it was.

AMBY: What part of the world would you love to play?

SOSB: Somewhere warm. Brazil would be nice this time of year. I was recently in New York and I’d love to get back there for any reason, but especially for music.

AMBY: Where would SOSB go in a time machine?

SOSB: CBGBs in the 70’s for Talking Heads, via the Hacienda in Manchester in 1990. Maybe check out Hendrix and Ziggy Stardust before buying a rake of property and retiring on one of Saturn’s moons in 2150.

AMBY: Who are some bands you’ve been listening to lately?

SOSB: Yacht recently put out a killer single called Second Summer which has been on loop for a while. Lots of Junior Boys, Grimes and Toro Y Moi, whom i’m raging I missed in London last week.

AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?

SOSB: We’re looking forward to our album launch, summer festivals, hearing and meeting new bands and getting to travel. Maybe even to Canada? Plus there’s a new QOTSA album on its way, can’t wait for that.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about SOSB that nobody knows yet?

SOSB: I don’t think anyone knows about my lucky Star Wars underwear. Shh!


Thank you very much SOSB, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout

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