A Concert and Convo with soccer mommy

The Fillmore is known for many things: apples, posters, a very well-organized merch line and, of course, all of the many amazing artists that have played it.

“Oh my god – Jerry Garcia!”

“WOW Miles Davis!”

We’re sitting on a couch in the dressing room shared by Soccer Mommy and Stef Chura. Patrick, the Soccer Mommy drummer, Carmen, the bassist, and Julian the guitarist, are vocalizing their excitement about the posters that fill the walls. It is Friday, July 21, and the tiny room is full of young musicians eating, drinking, laughing and talking music.

Sophie Allison, Soccer Mommy herself, is a 20 year-old alternative singer-songwriter with a friendly, chill vibe. She sits on the couch with her legs crossed, one elbow resting on her knee, ready to be interviewed. The rest of the musicians file out.

KCR: Can you introduce yourself for us?

Soccer Mommy: Hi, I’m Soccer Mommy, or Sophie Allison.  One’s my real name. One’s my stage name.

KCR:  Is this your biggest tour so far?

SM: Definitely. it’s our first tour (laughs), so [we’ve got] nothing really to compare it to besides playing shows out of town every once in awhile when I was at school.

KCR:  How’s it going?

SM:  Good!  It’s been fun.  We’ve only been [touring for], what, five days?  It’s the fifth day.  It’s been good.

KCR:  Is this your first time on the west coast?

SM:  No, not ever.  This is our first time playing.  But I’ve been twice.

KCR:  To the bay?

SM:  San Francisco once, LA the other time.

KCR:  And you just played Wonder Ballroom, so was that Portland?

SM:  Yeah, that was good.  It was a fun one for sure. It sounded really good and it was a little bit bigger.  Not this big, for sure, but it was the biggest one besides this one. So, it was definitely cool.

KCR:  You go to NYU, right?

SM: Yes, but I’m taking a year off now.  But, I do go there and I’ll probably be returning.

KCR:  Is it hard to manage being an artist while being in school?

SM:  Yes, definitely. It’s hard to do school when you’re doing [only] that. It just seems boring and not fun, because it is. It’s just like having two jobs, kind of. You’re full-time trying to pursue being an artist and then you’re in school full-time. It’s like a double life.

KCR:  Do you think that New York inspires you in a different way than Nashville does?

SM: Yeah I would say so. I think my experience in New York is a lot different from my experience in Nashville. Partially because I don’t live with my boyfriend when I’m in New York and I do when I’m in Nashville, so it’s definitely a very different experience. And, the cities are extremely different too.  [New York City] is much more wild and upbeat, and Nashville is a lot more chill.

KCR: You get very personal in your songwriting. Is it hard to be so vulnerable?

SM:  No, I don’t think so because I don’t do it in real life. I only really [am vulnerable] in songs, so it’s easier than it would be in my day-to-day life. I don’t really express those kinds of things, so I can just put them in a song and no one really knows what it’s about. It’s [being] vulnerable without being as vulnerable, I would say.  

KCR:  Do people ever try to talk to you about things that you’ve written?

SM:  Oh, people have tried to guess, like, “is this about this person?”  And I’m like, “no, it’s not.”  They’ll just assume.  Or, they’ll ask me what it’s about and I’m like “I don’t know.”  I don’t usually write songs about one instance, it’s usually like a….

KCR: Culmination.

SM: Yes! That’s a word.

KCR:  You’re playing with a full band now. Do you feel like that changes the vibe compared to the “bedroom pop” that you started out making?

SM: Yeah, definitely. But, I think that’s always what I wanted for the songs.  We’ll play a lot of songs tonight that are from “songs from my bedroom.” [Which is] stuff I released on Bandcamp that was just me playing. But the only reason they sound like they do on the first [collection] is because I couldn’t really make them sound better. I was recording on a really crappy device. I had to play drums really softly so it wouldn’t distort. It’s mostly the drums that are different (laughs). Everything else I could still record. Now it’s just better quality [drums] and slightly better arrangements. When I was doing bedroom pop stuff I would do some…I don’t want to say electronic, but I would have some drum machines every once in awhile. I did have a couple [songs] like that, and I don’t really do anything like that anymore. Although, I am trying it out on some stuff right now – having drums and a drum machine together on songs. But I don’t do just drum machines on songs anymore.

KCR:  How’d you find the band that you’re working with now?

SM:  [The guitarist] is my boyfriend. They’re all from Nashville. The drummer is one of my boyfriend’s good friends and also someone I just kind of knew through being the same age in high school. Now, we’re obviously closer from being in a band together. And then Carmen is just friends with Patrick and went to high school with him and Julian [who plays guitar], and is also in the local music scene. So, I just know her from that too. She joined like two weeks ago, but she’s great.

KCR:  How did you pick which songs are going to be on “Collection?”

SM:  I just [picked] what we’ve been playing live since last summer, with a full band. I picked the ones I like the most. And the solo ones are the ones I play in New York live. And there’s two new ones, obviously. It was a pretty easy choice in the end. [With one song], I was thinking, “should we do this?” But, we weren’t playing it live as much, so it didn’t make it [on “Collection”].

KCR:  Are you working on a full length of new songs?

SM: I am working on a full length of entirely new songs…I think there might be one that has come out before.

KCR:  Do you have an expected date?

SM:  Early next year. So, not long. Really rushed. It’s going to be so fun getting it all done while I’m on tour. I don’t have a free minute for the next four months. I’m on tour or recording somewhere or in London. It’s cool, but then we’ll get another offer for something [I’d like to do] and I don’t have any time [to do it].

KCR: Are you a yes person?

SM: I’m a really big yes person. We’ll get an offer and I’m like, “I have to fit this in.” And, we’ll have two days here, and three days here and a day here, and that’s the only time we can do it.  It gets a little wild.

KCR:  No wonder you’re not going back to school.

SM:  I know! I’m keeping busy. If I’m not going to be in school I’m not going to waste my time.

KCR:  Do you actually play soccer?

SM:  I did. I used to. I was on a travel team.

KCR:  What position were you?

SM:  I played everything. I played center, for a while. I didn’t play forward very much. It was usually center or midfield. It’s not that big of a difference when you’re like 13 or 14. Or [I played] defense. And sometimes I would play goalie too.

KCR:  Wow, all over the place!

SM:  Yeah, I did a lot. And, on my middle school team I played forward. I played travel and school soccer for a minute, and then I was like “I hate this.”  And then I went to high school, which was an arts high school, and I was [playing soccer] my freshman year. Then, I was like, “why am I doing this?” I had a revelation where I realized I could just quit. I asked my dad [if I could quit] and he was like “yeah if you don’t like it.” So, I just quit. It felt so weird.

KCR: We probably all go through one of those phases where you realize you can just quit.

SM: Yeah, you realize that if you don’t like it, you just shouldn’t do it.

KCR:  Did you pick the name before or after you quit?

SM: Oh, long after. Years. I quit freshman year of high school.

KCR:  So the ‘mommy’ just comes from the aesthetic.

SM: Yeah. It was just a joke name, you know? It’s cutesy – the way it sounds. But, it’s also kind of a joke. Especially with all the “mom” or “dad” names. It’s making fun of that a little bit. I don’t know. I don’t care that much about a band name. I’d just rather write the music; I’m not that great at the names.

KCR:  Who’re you listening to right now?

SM: We’ve been listening to a lot of music on the road. A lot of 16 hour drives have been happening. We’ve been listening to the Drums’ record a lot – actually just cause we’re [on tour with them] and it’s so catchy. We listened to Jay Som’s record a lot—shocker—going on tour with her too. I listened to that new Japanese Breakfast album a little bit. [I’m] always listening to Mitski. We’ve been listening to…Big Thief. And Frank Ocean, we’ve been playing a bit of that too. DAMN we’ve been playing a lot. Oh, and that new Anna Altman record is super good. I don’t even know how to describe it; it’s just like really good. It’s kind of shoegaze-y. It’s a two-piece and I know a person in it. It’s really good for only being guitar and drums – and just in general of course.

KCR:  Final question: if you had to be stranded on a deserted island with one artist, who would it be?

SM:  Oh this is going to be so hard.

KCR: At least we didn’t ask you to pick one band member.

SM:  Well, then I’d pick my boyfriend!

KCR:  Easy choice.

SM:  I feel weird saying it about anyone because most of the artists I love I could easily meet soon. Do you know what I mean? Like when you love artists that aren’t that huge, it’s easy to just meet them. And then it’s weird.

KCR:  What about a dead artist? Or someone super famous.

SM:  That’s so hard. It’s such a big decision. Liz Phair would be a cool one. That’s someone I wouldn’t meet on the average day.

KCR:  Now you’re going to meet her because you said that.

SM:  I know. Good! Jinxed myself, what a bummer. Yeah, I’m gonna say Liz Phair. Or like, Lana del Rey. But I think Liz would be chill.

It gets loud again, and the pre-show routines begin. Soccer Mommy touches up her makeup (I check to make sure her eye shadow is blended) and changes into a new midi-length, long-sleeved boot printed dress. The band shoves in some food, cracks a few cold ones and jokingly frets about playing the sold-out Fillmore. Then, they head on-stage.

After spending a couple hours with them, the group now seems young, and like our peers. But, make no mistake, Soccer Mommy’s music is nothing but mature. The crowd pushes forward, listening to Soccer Mommy’s hypnotic voice meshing with the upbeat rhythms and light notes. Besides the occasional yell of “girl power” by one super deep voice, the audience is quiet. The reaction, however, is loud after every song, and Soccer Mommy makes sure to thank the crowd several times.

The band plays for 15 minutes and then unplugs and heads off stage, leaving Soccer Mommy alone with her guitar and her mic. She plays about five more songs from her upcoming EP “Collection,” (not, however, her new single) and then heads off-stage to sound of the crowd’s applause.

Soccer Mommy is a young artist who is already producing eager, vulnerable music – bedroom pop or not. “Collection” is going to be a winner, based on what we heard at the Fillmore, and is out August 4. For now, check out Soccer Mommy’s current music on Spotify or bandcamp, or pre-order “Collection” here to support a starving college student like yourself.

By Sarah Anderson and Alicia Hoole

KCR Secret Sessions and Concert Review: The Regrettes

On Friday, July 7, I had the pleasure of interviewing The Regrettes (above) and attending their show. The band is signed by Warner Bros. Music and, believe it or not, every member is under 21.

During the interview, band members Lydia, Maxx, Sage and Genessa fumed about the disrespect they get because of their age. But, make no mistake, The Regrettes have more than enough experience and talent to garner the esteem of their musical peers.

The Regrettes were formed in 2016 and signed with Warner Bros. Music in the same year. The band’s lead singer, Lydia, is a veteran in the music industry despite her age and is one of the youngest people ever to perform at SXSW. And, fun fact, she was a part of Ryan Gosling’s band, Dead Man’s Bones. The rest of the band honed their skills by going to the School of Rock. While the band’s average age is only 18, their sound is much more mature.

After first listening to The Regrettes,  you might think that they are simply a punk rock band. However, they are so much more than that. Their new and refreshing songs mimic sounds from many different eras, like ‘60s doo wop groups and ‘90s punk rock. This is why The Regrettes’ music not only attracts teenagers, but an older audience as well. As they performed, I saw people of all different ages bonding over the music the Regrettes blasted through the speakers.

The Regrettes came on-stage at 9 p.m. and opened with “I Don’t Like You,” a song from their debut album, “Feel Your Feelings, Fool!” that dropped in January of this year. The band played many crowd favorites such as, “Hey Now,” “A Living Human Girl” and even “Seashore,” a song written by Lydia directed at people who have put her down because of her age, according to Genius.com. Songs like these brought the crowd to life; no one could help dancing along. The band’s energy was contagious. Lydia dedicated “Seashore” to our current president and made the crowd go wild.

The Regrettes even played some of my favorites off their record, such as “Lacy Loo” and “Picture Perfect,” a track that contains a rift from Salt-N-Pepa’s classic song, “Push It.” The concert ended with them playing “Hot,” a song about calling out people for being narcissistic and thinking everyone wants to be in a relationship with them. I know that feeling, but the song was more relatable on a literal level because I was sweaty after dancing along to their whole set.

The Regrettes were amazing and it was definitely a concert I didn’t regret going to. Check out more of The Regrettes here.

Victimas del Dr. Cerebro Show comes to San Diego

Videos by Estevan X. Barrios

In the mix of the sick shows going down in San Diego this summer, Victimas Del Dr. Cerebro made their second stop on their USA tour on Wednesday, July 12. Originating from Nezahualcoyotl, a city in Mexico’s capital, the band played a mix of old and new songs. The tour, in support of the group’s new album, “El rey de los monstruos”  (Cerebro Records / Dragora 2017), released earlier this year, started in early July.

I was lucky enough to talk to the band. The group is extremely excited about their new members: Adrian Toussaint (guitar) and Julian Andre (drums). Also new to this tour, dancer Priscilla adds excitement to the live performance as she jumps and writhes around the stage dressed as a monster.

Videos by Estevan X. Barrios

After more than 25 years together the band continues to have notoriety. But, thanks to hard work and dedication, the group is now touring for their ninth album. Founding members include father and son duo Jesus Flores “El Chipotle” (keyboard, saxophone, and vocals) and Ricardo Flores “El Abulon” (vocals and keyboard). Brothers Arturo Flores “El Tuco” (bass) and Daniel Flores “El Ranas” (guitar) are also founding members of the band.

El Tuco said the new members have added to the band’s already solid foundation. He mentioned that the side projects of all the members have also helped the band continue to constantly reinvent itself.

Abulon explained that Las Victimas are not a band of one genre.  They don’t limit themselves, and there is room for all genres in the music they make, Abulon stated. They want to show people that there is more to music than electronic, electronic pop, pop rock, and other mainstream genres. In that quest, the group continues to make music with sounds they like and have never heard before. They are bringing in a new era of rock.

This band is a family in itself, and it will be interesting to see how they continue to grow. Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out their new album, “El rey de los monstruos.”

An Interview With Party Favor

On June 25, the second day of the ID10T Festival at Shoreline Amphitheater, I sat down to talk to the EDM artist Party Favor about his fans, touring and of course, music.

KCR: First of all, congratulations on a great set tonight!

PF:  Oh, thank you, you’re too kind.  It was fun!

KCR: So, you went on tour last year and you’re playing quite a few dates this summer. How’s that been going?

PF: It’s been amazing.  I had my first Friday off last weekend and it felt great.  [Touring] is awesome. I’ve been doing this for a long time and as a musician, in any genre, you can only hope to tour a lot – but it’s definitely very taxing on you.  For shows like this though, where I can come up here (I live in LA) – the Bay is so close and they always show me so much love.  I’m very happy to be here.

KCR: What’s your favorite place that you’ve visited so far?  I saw that you’ve been all over the world recently.

PF:  Yes, oh man, I’d say Myanmar was really cool.  It was a country that was extremely closed-off. Until about five years ago, they hadn’t opened their borders. They didn’t have internet.  It was so neat to be there, and all these kids knew all the words to the songs [I mixed] and to my songs. There was so much energy I couldn’t believe it.  They had been in the dark for so long and they caught up so quickly. And it was a really cool country too.

KCR: Do you have any good tour stories from when you were abroad?

PF: Tour stories from when I was abroad?

KCR: Or just in general.

PF: I have other tour stories.  I don’t know if they’re appropriate for radio (laughs), but abroad was pretty cool.  In Japan, I was out in the Shibuya area, which is a huge shopping area.  So, I was out there walking around and I had three different people, all separate, come and find me on the street in this huge area where there’s hundreds-of-thousands of people walking around, because of my Snapchats.  Some girl brought me a picture she had painted of me. So it’s just really neat. I would never have thought that in some other country halfway around the world someone would have painted my likeness, and taken their own time to do that.  It’s humbling. But, it’s also super weird.  I’m like “wow” – I don’t know how to handle it.

KCR: So you went to Chapman–

PF: I did.

KCR: –and you studied film. How do you incorporate that into what you do now.  Do you incorporate it at all?

PF: I do. I mean, when I first started I was hands-on with my videos. I was like a video Nazi. I would want it just like this. I would edit my own videos and things like that. But, over time, I’ve released control and let other people edit. When I was first getting started in music I started by sampling [music] kind of similar to how I would edit a film. So, it was a nice transition even though I had never had a musical background. It worked out. It was meant to be.

KCR: And now your songs are getting in commercials and stuff too.

PF:  Yeah the irony is awesome.  Knock-on-wood, let’s keep it going.

KCR: You also listen to a lot of different genres – from when you were growing up to now. Do you incorporate those into your music?

PF:  I try to. I think that if [the many genres] don’t necessarily come through in my music, they come through in my sets.  I try to always be super diverse in what I play.  And I always try to respond to where I’m at – you know – If I’m in the Bay I always play some Thizz music. I think for me, I just like anything that makes me feel good.  So, it doesn’t matter what genre – if it’s rap, if it’s metal, if it’s Cali dub – I just like to make people feel good. If my music can do that, then I’ve done my job.

KCR: Speaking of genres, on your Facebook page it says “no genre.”  Do you wanna talk a little about that philosophy?

PF: My management’s fired, they messed up (laughs). No, you know, I think in this day and age, at least for me, to say “oh I’m this,” [would be pointless], because I don’t like being labeled and I don’t think a lot of people do. There’s so much you can do with music and for me, with “dance music,” you’re not necessarily rock and roll, you’re not blues, you can do so much. I can play dubstep, I can play deep house, I can play whatever, or make that if I want to. Having no genre enables me to be anything.

KCR: Do you have any upcoming plans for an album after putting out the EP that you did?  Or maybe another EP?

PF: I would love to, and I’ve talked with my management about doing another one this fall.  I’ve definitely got material. But I think in this day and age it’s so hard to do EPs, especially albums, because people’s focus is on one song and that’s it.  With streaming, the good thing is that you have access to a million songs, but unfortunately artists can work 7,8 months, sometimes a year, on an album and then people hear your stuff and two weeks later they go “Where’s your new stuff? Where’s your new song?” So it’s easier to put all your focus and energy into a single and say “Hey, focus on this, this is my new song, let’s put all our energy into this.” I’ll play new music at my shows but keep the focus on one thing.

KCR: Who are you listening to right now?  What’s on your playlist?

PF: I’m listening to the new 2Chainz album, it’s awesome. “Pretty Girls Love Trap Music” is what it’s called.  Seems to be the case (laughs). I was just listening to AC/DC on the plane here, and that always gets me fired up.  So a little bit of everything.  I’ve definitely been listening to a lot of hip hop, but I love classic rock so I’ll always put that on.

KCR:  Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

PF:  Oh man.  I don’t know.  Rick Rubin, he’s a producer from the stars.  He’s a hit-maker.  Or maybe Max Martin from Sweden.  But I’m not really a popstar so I don’t know if that’ll happen.  Unless I take a pop career.  I’ll be the new Jonas Brother or something.

KCR: That could be your genre.

PF: Yeah, Jonas Brother!  I’ll change it.

KCR:  Any last thoughts?

PF: Shout-out to San Diego, I love you.  Coming back soon to Bassmnt, let’s get sweaty.

Make sure to see him on Saturday, July 23, at Bassmnt. Get your tickets here.

Featured Image by Sarah Anderson.