Entangled in the Depths of Sonnder’s New Sound

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Featured Image courtesy of Mac Schibel/TriipUp Media

Have you heard the new album by Sonnder? They have been a very busy band since singer and guitarist Ryan Weidman last sat down with Rock On Philly in May of last year to discuss the progress of a year-long “single-release project” that saw a new song out monthly throughout 2015 and into the Spring release of the group’s intrepid new 2016 full length, “Entanglement”. The album release kicked off on “Record Store Day”, Saturday the 16th of April with a packed house at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia. The new record is Sonnder’s finest craftsmanship and an audibly exquisite experience that showcases the fruit of the band’s tireless commitment and hard work, as well as that of producer and engineer, Robby Webb of Cold Roses. The end result was put on display for the crowd in attendance at the album’s release show, many of whom could oft be overheard saying that it was the best Sonnder show they had ever been to… The new album, the mature sound, the band’s journey together- these speak volumes and it is beginning to catch people’s ears. Friend and familiar mainstay of the Philadelphia music scene Wendy Rollins of Radio 104.5 remarked following the show how “Sonnder has come so far and earned every bit of it. It was so fantastic to see so many people singing along and really vibing with what they are doing.”

The record has already made its way onto the shelves of local music stores like Main Street Music and Siren Records where shop-steward Chloe Stewart cites the value of representing bands like Sonnder saying that “it is important to support local music because your favorite band was once starting out as a ‘local band.’ We chose to sell Entanglement first because we believe in supporting our customers and familiar faces who have always shown us a sense of community; that is very important us.” The album marks the culminate work from several years of growing together as a band, developing their sound and refining their craft. University of The Arts musicians Weidman, Webb, drummer Mike Liszka and keyboardist Kat Stein came together through friendship and creative bond to begin a process that would lead to bassist Steve Iannettoni joining the band near the completion of the project to round out the lineup following the departure of longtime friend and Bassist Steve Young, with Iannettoni noting that he felt honored to be a part of this process… Steve shares “I had played with Sonnder on a bill with my previous band, We Speak in Sounds, and I instantly was hooked and thought there was something special… and all of the sudden I was a part of the project that hooked me in.”

Mike Liska, a concise technician of percussive skill and timing looks back on the session work that would lead toward Entanglement’s completion, specifically during February of 2014 at Soundmine Studio to record songs like “Late October”, “Not Far Enough”, “Along The Way”, “Siren Calling”, and “I Need” and at Ruba Club for “Words To Say”, “Entanglement, “Silhouettes”, “About time”, “Pink”, and “New Direction in June of the same year. Mike remarks “An interesting note is that I was the only one not to record monthly. I spent two very long sessions 12 and 14 hours respectively recording this album. It was weird for me to hear tracks that I had recorded months ago when it was “new” to the rest of the band. Especially working on words to say in February… I recorded that drum track 8 months prior to when the rest of the band started recording it. That had been a weird/cool experience for me during this entire project. It has been a crazy journey for me, and the rest of the band to have been working towards this album release for the past year and a half!” Liska also offers continued praise for Robby Webb’s work on the record, saying how “Working with Robby during the sessions was a trip. I really respect his drumming and man did he push me in those sessions. As a drummer himself, he was able to hear every one of my little mistakes while tracking and would have me go back and re-track saying “I know you can do it better” and I am really thankful for that extra push. I think the drum tracks turned out really great and it’s definitely due to him pushing me.  Our goal was to lay down those tracks with as little editing as possible in order to make the track sound cohesive. There are only a few moments on this record where I am not playing, and punching in was just not good enough for us. While I’ll admit there are definitely edits to my tracks post-production, they are predominately single takes and I worked very hard to make sure of that. I remember a 13 hour mixing session for the single version of the title track with Robby and I. Ryan had requested cool vocal effects, especially on the bridge. Both Robby and I are fans of pop vocals and he is pretty talented at conveying that sound. It was cool to mess around with samples of Ryan’s voice, he is usually is the one to do that but I got a chance to for this song. It definitely brings out influences that we all feel and are interested in as a band, after the single Ryan went in and even added more to the vocal sampling for the album version and I think it turned out to be something really special.

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As the band gears up for their Red Bull Sound Selects show in Philly on June 16th alongside mewithoutYOU and The Yawpers, we here at Rock On Philly are proud to present an introspective companion-guide to Sonnder’s new and exciting album Entanglement as curated directly by members of the band themselves!

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