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Sincerely, An Art Student

by Kyla Rain

A while back, we chatted with the boys lo-fi indie group, Soy Christmas. If you haven’t previously listened to their work, I’d suggest taking a moment to click on this link and check some of it out. I can confidently say it’s an energy that I’ve never heard before, and I am whole heartedly in love. Getting to pick Reny and Matteo’s brains, and learn a little more backstory for some of my favorite songs, was amazing. I hope you all find it as interesting as I did!

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First, can you list off the members of the group, what they play, and an interesting fact. 

Reny Petrucci: Vocals and Guitar/Bass

Matteo Pino: Vocals Synths/Drums. Fun Fact: We haven’t gone out on a Friday night in at least 4 months…

Can you give me a little bit of background about the band, how you got together, the story behind the name, etc. (Especially the name, because every time someone asks me what I’m listening to, and I say “Soy Christmas,” they look at me like I’m crazy!)

We actually grew up in the same small town together, so we’ve pretty much known each other since we were kids. There’s not a lot to do in Long Island, so to pass the time we’d basically just lurk at the park and show each other whatever new bands we were listening to. Eventually, in our sophomore year of high school, we started writing together, and Soy Christmas sort of grew out of that. As for the origin of the name… that’s C L A S S I F I E D information.

How did you guys evolve into the current sound that you have now? It’s very individual to your own style. What were some major inspirations you pulled from? What are some non-musical inspirations for your sound?

Thanks! Back when we first started writing we didn’t really have a filter for sound or style, we’d basically just latch on to whatever ideas we thought sounded good (which were primarily synth pop) and not think too much about it. Even though looking back the songs were terrible, they were definitely representative of who we were at the time; for better or worse.

Once we moved to Boston, we got swept up into the post-punk DIY house show scene, which really inspired us to focus more on our sound/image. It was kind of a double edged sword though, since we spent so much time worrying about our image and fitting in, that we ended up blending into the crowd and losing sight of what made our music “ours”. ‘Spent’ – EP was sort of the result of us trying to balance those two extremes. Also we didn’t have a drummer, so that’s why sampled drums.

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What’s the story behind your song, “Get Upset?” I’ve always been really curious about that.

Reny: We wrote “Get Upset” during a rehearsal for a house show we were opening. We pretty much wrote the whole instrumental in like 30 minutes, which isn’t surprising considering it’s basically just a 3 chord loop. It was originally 10bpm slower and I screamed the chorus, but we decided to strip it down for ‘Spent’ to fit the “aesthetic”. Around the same time Matteo was dealing with the loss of his grandfather, so I loosely based the lyrics on conversations we’d had about him and his family.

How do you generally go about writing a new song?

Matteo: Either Reny will come to me with a chord progression on guitar, and I’ll spruce it up with some synths and sampled drums, or we’ll start with a sound and let it evolve naturally… usually by the way of me spitting out random chords until Reny says, “That was cool!” and we run with it.

Lyrics are definitely the hardest part for us, so we tend to wait until the instrumental is finished before even thinking about them. Despite that, a lot of the time a song will start as a simple lyric or idea that we’ll slowly expand upon over the course of a couple months. It’s honestly different for each song, but we generally tend to fall into a few patterns.

What do you think the importance is of being able to create music and express yourself through that medium?

Reny: I’ve always felt that people who create and share their music do it cause of a need to express themselves, and a lack of any other form of outlet. The awesome thing about music though, is that by expressing themselves through it, people can create something that’s much larger than themselves and has the ability to help and heal other people. It’s fucking lit.

Matteo: I agree with Reny, it’s fucking lit.

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In your opinions, why is it sometimes difficult to write music, or put yourself out there in that way?

Matteo: For me, one of the hardest parts of writing a song is following through when you feel you’ve hit a wall. There’s been so many times where we’ve put weeks of work into a song, just to scrap it cause we couldn’t get it to sound how we wanted. Voice leading kind of sucks too.

Reny: There’s always the fear of being judged. There’s sort of this thin line between trying to be original and trying too hard, and you won’t know if you’ve crossed it or not until you put your music out there. I had a pretty hard time with this while writing the lyrics for “Stalwart”; to the point where I felt physically ill for about a week after its release. Now they’re some of my favorite off the EP.

What are your top tips for songwriting?

Reny: Don’t get discouraged if a song isn’t sounding how you want it to. If you’re like me, 90% of the stuff you write is gonna be trash anyway, so hold on to that golden 10% until you have enough songs for an album… or even just three songs cause that’s technically an EP. Also, cliches are great regardless of what some patrician art student might tell you. Sincerely, an art student.

If you had to define yourself in six songs, what would they be and why?

It’s hard to pick six songs but we can definitely pick six artists who’ve had a huge influence on us. Bon Iver, Frankie Cosmos, Hop Along, Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Radiohead. (Also, secretly Coldplay, which was our favorite band for the majority of our teenage years.)

If you could collaborate with a musician, who would it be? (Alive)

Kanye West for sure.

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What set of lyrics are you most emotionally attached to and why?

Reny: For me it’s the lyrics to ‘Envoy.’ Without going too far into it, I’d written them after getting out of an abusive relationship, and held onto them for about 2 years before finally writing a guitar part they fit to.

Matteo: I pick ‘Tinsel.’ Mostly because they’re the only lyrics I’ve written, but also because they’re about a relationship I shouldn’t’ve got involved with.

What can fans expect from you guys in the future! Any new projects in the works that you can tell us about? (Or is that top secret stuff) 

We’re cooking! We’ve been in the studio everyday since July working on a remastered version of ‘Spent’ and two new EPs; ‘Woodlawn’ and ‘Moriches.’ The plan is to release them a week apart, with Woodlawn leaning more acoustic, and Moriches more electronic. So far it’s going pretty good.

The songs are sounding F L A M E but we still have a lot of work to do before they’re
D U S T E D. Nothing’s set in stone, but we’re expecting everything to be released by Christmas 2018. Thanks so much for your time, and we’re so glad to be able to answer your questions!

Huge thanks to the boys from Soy Christmas for taking the time to talk with us. I’m personally a huge fan of their music, and would highly suggest to anyone out there looking for some good bops.

Also, thank you to our readers for continuing to read our content and supporting the artists and musicians we feature, it means so much on both ends. Keep your eyes peeled for these new releases from Soy Christmas, & listen to their current releases here.

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