Quick on the draw, alternative band Sonnder has made the most of its brief time together. While front man Ryan Weidman and drummer and Mike Liszka first started jamming in April 2013, the band only took its current form earlier this year. Since then, the Philly five-piece played throughout the region and even on Philly’s radio waves.
Mixing experimental instrumentation, featuring atmospheric keys and strings, with indie-influenced vocals, Sonnder creates a distinctive sound that is captured beautifully live and on recordings. Creative melodies and catchy riffs drive emotional lyrics. Sonnder released its debut EP, entitled ‘Thief,”last month.
Sonnder is Ryan Weidman on guitar and vocals, Kat Stein on keys and vocals, Steve Young on bass, Mike Liszka on drums and Caroline Garlic on violin, keys and percussion.
Sonnder is playing at North Star Bar on September 18.
The Temple News: So tell me a little bit about the band. How did this get started?
Ryan Weidman: Basically, it was none of these people [Stein, Young and Garlic] in the band. We even have an EP that’s unreleased. You only can get it from me, or if like, you’re clever. If you do things to my body, Ill give it to you, but that’s basically it.
But we got rid of it because it didn’t represent this band anymore. We needed sounds and stuff online that was us. I started Sonnder because I needed a rebirth. I needed to change my life. I needed to put all my emotions and my energy into something positive, so that’s what Sonnder is. It’s evolved. But once this lineup right here came together, really good things started happening.
TTN: You played on 104.5 a little while ago. What’s the story behind that?
RW: March 2014 is when this lineup came together. We went into the studio a month and a half later and recorded our first single, “Too Bad You’re Not in Love.” Wendy [Rollins] from 104.5 heard it and she invited us to come play Live at 5. And so that’s what we just did. It was awesome.
Mike Lizska: They had us come into the studio and set us up for a full live performance. It was kind of a cool experience seeing the ‘recording‘ light come on.
Steve Young: When they say two minutes, one minute, twenty seconds, fifteen seconds, that’s when you’re like, “Holy crap, we’re on 104.5.”
TTN: What’s the band’s song writing method?
RW: I’ll be walking down the street, something pops in my head, and I can’t stop. It’s almost a curse cause I’ll look like I’m talking to myself and someone walking down the street is just like, “The f—?” But I’m always hitting the band like, “Yo, I wrote this new song.” But for them it’s like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We didn’t even work on the last million you sent us.”
So right now we have albums and albums worth of stuff and it’s all changing. The songs you hear now, maybe that’s not how I’m feeling anymore. But it usually starts on guitar, or here or a voice memo and I send it everybody in the band. We all come in with ideas and we flesh it out.
ML: Written by you [Weidman], arranged by Sonnder.
What are some influences to your writing style?
ML: I’m influenced by other artists but not anyone specifically. I’m seeking out new music constantly. Constantly getting inspiration from other people and seeing what they’re doing.
RW: I’m definitely inspired by what I’m reading. I like to read philosophical fiction. You read that and take a step back and go, “Wait, that’s kind of my life and I’ve experienced a feeling like that.” And that is kind of what song writing is all about for me.
SY: I grew up listening to bands like Jimmy Eat World, Alkaline Trio, Blink-182, so I feel like this indie rock/punk just comes to me without having to really think about it.
Kat Stein: I’m definitely influenced by Ryan’s writing. When he sends me stuff, I immediately hear stuff, and if I don’t immediately hear something for the song I’ll play around on it and just improvise for a while.
TTN: If you had to summarize what your band is about, what would it be?
RW: Passion and honesty. It’s therapy. It’s a way to get it out. Like, these guys [band] wouldn’t be here right now if they didn’t connect back to the message of that song in some way because everyone puts their heart into it and adds onto it. We’re all connected. And that’s cool for me, cause it’s like, well I just wrote this in the shower, but at least I know three people like it.