An Interview with Club Sofa

Club Sofa.jpg

by Erin Christie

Club Sofa, a play on “club soda” with a bit of emphasis on “chilling” (as they described in an interview with The Capilano Courier), is just as charming as they sound.

Comprised of close friends Payton Hansen (rhythm guitar/vox), Jess Jones (drums), Jas Carlin (bass), and Dom Hallberg (lead guitar/keyboard), Club Sofa is the crowned jewel of the Vancouver DIY scene. Having performed with acts such as Yung Heazy, Winona Forever, Remember Sports, and more, they have continually shown that regardless of age, gender, or experience, talent translates seamlessly. A band that openly embraces a heavy, indie sway with a hint of jazz-influence and perfects a lo-fi sound, their prowess is undeniable, and that makes them worthy of endless recognition.

WECB recently had the opportunity to speak with the band over e-mail about their beginnings, their plans for the future, and the importance of their local scene in Vancouver:

How did you guys come together and start Club Sofa? How has the band evolved since its beginning?

Dom: Jess, Payton and I were all in school for music but we wanted a side project that was more relaxed and social. Jasmine came along and learned bass on the spot and it was a perfect mix!

In regards to your musical upbringing, which artists/ bands stand out to you as having had the most influence on your personal music taste, style, etc? Who has influenced Club Sofa as a collective?

Payton: For myself personally I’m really inspired by Dolly Parton, Bikini Kill, Frankie Cosmos, and Diet Cig. I incorporate a lot of these artists’ styles in my own chord writing and lyrics for Club Sofa. Dom, Jess and I all went to jazz school so Club Sofa definitely has a lot of jazz style in our playing I think.

Jess: I didn’t start out playing rock drums, I actually learned jazz first before I started branching out into heavier playing. So personally, I really base my style off of jazz players like Dannie Richmond and Jack Dejohnette.

Your self-titled debut record was released at the end of last year (and it’s incredible, I may add). In terms of sound, lyrical content, etc, where does this record draw most of its material from? Personal experiences?

Payton: Thank you so much! I do all the lyric writing for Club Sofa and personally I have the most fun writing about personal experiences and goofy (sometimes sad) ex-boyfriend/girlfriend stories.

Jas: As for guitar chords and basslines and stuff it’s a very collaborative effort, someone will bring a riff or an idea to a practice and we will just jam for a bit until something we all like comes along

The Vancouver DIY music scene is very similar to what we’ve got going on in Boston in terms of how tight-knit and supportive it seems to be- how important has the scene (as in, local support) been in your continued success as a band?

Dom: So important; we are so lucky to have such an awesome music scene that allows us to create and play for so many people. I think sometimes we take for granted how good the scene really is compared to other cities.

Payton: It’s true. I’m from a small city in Alberta where the music scene is pretty much non-existent. Coming to Vancouver and being able to make music here has been unreal. I really don’t think Club Sofa would have been able to make it this far without the local scene, it’s promoters, and support of the awesome people that come to our shows.

I came across your music—more specifically, “Myspace 2009”— via Spotify’s Discover Weekly sometime last year (and I’m so grateful for that!) In the same vein as the last question, how impactful would you say social media/ music-sharing platforms have been in Club Sofa’s success?

Payton: Dom is our Social Media queen, she does all the promoting and sponsored ads and I really think it’s aided in getting people sharing and streaming our music.

Jess: Social media has had a huge part in getting people connected and interested in our music, music videos, and shows.

Dom: One thing I really try to promote when bands who are just starting out ask me for advice is social media presence. Don’t be afraid to sponsor ads, make posts, and post updates. It will really make a difference and maybe even spark the interest [of] people who might have never heard you otherwise.

It would be remiss not to comment on the fact that your latest release, “Birthday Party,” is an absolute jam. This track isn’t a far cry from the sort of indie pop essence that you’ve perfected via your first record. In terms of future releases, what can audiences expect?

Payton: We’ve been getting together more often and we are all bringing new ideas to the table. I think, since the release of our first album, we’ve been really motivated to get better as musicians and maybe branch out of the indie style we are so comfortable with. So far, things are sounding pretty cool and different! I just hope the listeners like it...

Jas: We are also in the beginning stages of making a new music video... no set release date for that though! But we hopefully will be able to release by the end of the summer.

In a year’s time, where do you hope to see Club Sofa?

Jess: Coachella, touring the world, living large! Just kidding; it would be nice just to be able to do a little tour of Canada!

Dom: I agree with Jess; doing a little tour next summer would be the dream, even just throughout BC would be cool.

For anyone who is unaware of you guys and what you do, what would you want them to know?

Payton: As a band, we really try hard to inspire young people—especially young women—to play and write music. There were so many times, as a teenager, I wish I would’ve had the courage to just put myself out there and jam with “the guys” or speak up when I felt silenced. I think I just wish I would’ve had a female role model in my life back in Alberta who shredded hard and was loud and unapologetic to show me that I don’t have to be confined to just playing acoustic guitar and singing pop songs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I’ve just always felt that that’s what’s expected of young girls who pick up guitar; it just feels like we are put into a box sometimes. We just want the girls who come to our show to think, “wow, I want to do that,” and we want them to know that they can if they put the time and effort in.

It’s clear that the gals of Club Sofa are dedicated to their craft and their message as a band, especially with impending releases considered. On March 8, their newest single, “Birthday Party,” was released, indicating that something is on the horizon. Regardless as to what is in the cards for Club Sofa, it’s vital that over here in the States, we take a look at one of the best acts that the Great North has to offer: it’d be a major loss not to.

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