Let’s just get the obvious thing out of the way first. Watch this video and you’ll know exactly where this Seattle trio’s name comes from.
Woah. It’s the first thing that comes up when you search for So Pitted online. But look a little further down the page and you’ll see that the band are a trio from Seattle and they recently signed to that city’s most famous label, Sub Pop, who will release their debut album, neo, next month.
“It’s kind of surreal,” says So Pitted’s founding member Nathan Rodriguez, “but we’ve been in talks about this for about a year and a half now, so I’m a bit used to the idea. It is amazing, though. I still almost can’t believe it.”
Still, as with most bands from Seattle, signing to Sub Pop was something of a dream come true for So Pitted – who are now completed by Liam Downey and Jeannine Koewler – however unlikely a goal that might have seemed at the beginning.
“We joked about it when we first started,” says Rodriguez, “but we were horrible. We were so bad at first. Honestly, recreational drug use really let me loosen up on a lot of things. It changed the way I play, because I’d got stuck in these ideas of what kind of band I thought we wanted to be or what kind of music we wanted to make. And then I started smoking weed and just let go of a lot of stuff and it became what it is now!”
What that is is an angry, angular and irascible discordance that’s somewhere between grunge and punk, but beneath the barrage of noise there’s also hints of melody and a vague pop sensibility. As such, neo is an album that defies convention and categorisation, something made all the more interesting by the fact that Rodriguez studied music theory, albeit on Wikipedia, apparently.
“I studied for a really long time,” he says, “and it was cool because I felt like I had some good ideas, but there’s a reference to any sound I hear now, and it’s pretty fantastic. I mean, at the end of the day it’s all about what sounds good, but there’s a reason why it sounds good and I love to explore that.”
Alongside that sonic exploration and experimentation, there’s also a more spiritual and philosophical edge to So Pitted, and they’ve talked previously about their interest in new age ideas. That might seem rather incongruous given the harsh nature of their songs, but, as he explains, the two sides are inextricably linked.
“We started shaping out the way we shaped as a reaction to our local music scene in Seattle,” he says. “There weren’t really many bands like this. We’re just kind of chasing a feeling that we had, of nostalgia and power. It’s weird, too, because a lot of it seems kind of destinal. For me, songwriting is a huge exploration. I’m looking for a feeling that I have, and if I don’t feel anything then it’s just not really worth it at all. I feel like these are existing ideas, and we’re like a medium of bringing them into the universe.
“It’s strange, because I’m not the most talented musician in some ways,” he continues. “I’m pretty limited in some of my guitar playing, but in the context of my band it all balances out and it works. It really works in this set up. It just seems like it wasn’t meant to be any other way.”
neo will be released on February 19 through Sub Pop. For more information, visit their Facebook page.