Sometimes you just want some good ol’ rock & roll, but you are also in the mood for some new music. Well, we happened to stumble across New York’s The Howlin’ Souls and their energy and classic-style of rock is exactly what you would want.
The guys of The Howlin’ Souls – Nate Lang, Pete Smith, Robbie Sokolowsky and Scott Sepe – took a few minutes of their day to chat with the lowly mortals of Lemonade Magazine. We had the chance to chat about their self-titled EP, tour dates and much more! So we would like to present to you: The Howlin’ Souls!
Nate Lang: Hi! Thanks for asking us to chat!
LM: Could you tell us a little about how you guys met?
Pete Smith: Yeah, I met Nate in the first band I joined when I moved to New York City, a band called “The Fuzz.” That band broke up, but Nate and I continued on. We met Rob years ago in the city and started playing around town with him. Then we eventually found Scott through a craigslist ad, I think. I used to post flyers around the city too, so maybe from one of those? When we came in to jam it seemed to work nicely. It just kind of worked immediately, you know, like the chemistry was there from the first note.
You have this traditional rock n’ roll vibe that is such a throwback, but there is also a ton of blues intertwined. Who inspired this kind of crazy mash up style?
NL: I think everything you listen to seeps into the music you eventually create. I played along to Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, and Elmore James records when I first started drumming. It formed my whole approach. All of us in the band listen to a lot of blues. Also, the Stones and the Kinks are a huge influence on us. So, when that’s the stuff you listen to everyday it hopefully comes out when you get together and play. A new sound, a new song but with some roots in the past.
PS: It’s a mix of sounds we like. Most of the guitar solos and riffs are from the blues, and Scott and I trade back and forth a lot to try to get that guitar weaving sound. We play rock’n’roll, but the blues is always there. There’s a song about that by Muddy Waters called, “The Blues Had A Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll.”
LM: Let’s chat about your self-titled EP. What is the songwriting process like for a song like “Anyway You Take It”?
PS: When I wrote “Anyway You Take It”, it was a fast uptempo song. I had in mind the sound of Keith Richards “Struggle.” But the first time we played “Anyway You Take It” as a band it got slowed down into a dancey-disco type groove. Much slower than I intended but it ended up morphing into something nicely unexpected.
Robbie Sokolowsky: My production studio, Tribeca Journal, is located in the same building as the former Harmony Theatre, a famed New York burlesque club. Years ago, my old neighbor Roman found some dancer audition tapes stowed in the elevator shaft there. They were shot on this beautiful, rich beta format. I thought it would be cool to try and recreate that look and feel for this video, so we got a beta broadcast camera from a high school AV closet. We called our Brazilian model friends, Natalia Carmalengo and Henrietta Prioste who were totally down to be our dancers. I bought a disco ball from canal plastics and used a smoke machine from a previous shoot. I put a star filter over the lens to achieve that disco flare. I had to manually rotate it over the lens while we were rolling.
PS: Plus, the camera kept eating the tapes! So we had to keep rolling them back with pencils. We watched some Bee Gees videos beforehand for inspiration also. They have some great zooms in there. The one in “Staying Alive” was so good they used it twice. We wanted a late 70s/early 80s vibe. When we were done, the tapes were transferred to digital, and I added a lot of saturation when I edited it all together.
LM: Now that the EP is out and about, are there plans for a supporting tour?
Scott Sepe: Over the next few months we’ll be doing shows in NYC and Los Angeles. We want to play this record for people live. We start up May 26th at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City then we go out west to play some shows in California. Then back to New York City for July 8th at Pianos. More dates to come…
LM: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!
All: Thank you! It was our pleasure!
You can now listen to the full EP, The Howlin’ Souls by The Howlin’ Souls on SoundCloud. Also check out the latest music video, “Black Heart”.
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