By: Valerie Piotrowski
The group members are Jordon Popp (guitar, vocal, and programming), Ben Van Buskirk (vocal, guitar), Rick Tauber (guitar), and Anthony Lojeski (bass). Chicago Music Guide had a chance to speak with Jordon about the demo, recording process, and the different projects he and his band have planned for this summer.
Valerie Piotrowski: How did the group get started?
Jordon Popp: I had been playing with our bassist (Anthony) for about four years. We had quit the band that we had been in for a while and we wanted to start with something fresh and to go where we weren’t able to go musically in the last band.
VP: Why the name of the group?
JP: Seven Day Sonnet is based on a poem that Anthony wrote. I’d been bugging him for a long time about it. We wanted to use that name for something else, but we agreed on using it for the name of the band.
VP: What category of music would you put yourself in?
JP: A hard rock, a heavier hard rock.
VP: Why do you say that?
JP: We have some pretty heavy moments in our songs but we don’t lose the melody. We don’t get to the point where it’s unintelligible though, it’s a very tight sound. We have a sound that is listenable, that you can really get into. At the same time, there are the quieter moments as well.
VP: Is the demo finished?
JP: Yes, it is. It will be released shortly (July 18, 2008).
VP: Where is it going to be released?
JP: It will go out to radio stations and anybody that will take it, anybody who wants to listen to it and is willing to get a copy.
VP: Can you describe the process of making the demo?
JP: It was an entire month of being in the studio every day to get the three songs recorded. We did the best we could, we wanted it to represent who we were at that point and what we are now. We feel that it’s one of the best recordings we’ve ever taken part in, and it represents who we are as a band.
VP: Did you select the tracks you mentioned on the blog or did you choose other tracks, and why did you select those?
JP: They are the three that we wrote about on the blog. We felt that out all of the material we had, they represented the best cross section of what we do. You have your heavier moments, your lighter moments, your sing-a-long parts, and you have parts you can just head bang to. “Jamie” would be the most sing-a-long song. It’s still a harder song, but it’s not as heavy as “My Day Is Over,” which is a straight up head banging song all the way through. “Jamie” just has that rock feel. The third song, “Ben’s Blue Coat,” is the lightest of the three. It’s sort of sing songy, but it also has its driving parts.
VP: What has it been like working with Shea?
JP: I have known Shea for ten years now, he was a member of my old band. He’s easy to work with and makes the band sound the best they possibly can. It’s not like a lot of places where you go in and it’s rush, rush, rush. He’ll take his time with you. He’s a person that believes in getting a good product, not just for the band, he wants to create a professional background where the product represents what he can do for the artist. He really wants it to sound as good as it possibly can. That’s the most we can hope for.
VP: What are your musical influences?
JP: It ranges from Stevie Ray Vaughan to B.B. King to Sevendust to Soilwork to Metallica, so basically from blues to classic rock to metal.
VP: Did you ever take music lessons?
VP: What is raw, emotive music?
JP: Everything from the music itself to the individual parts that we write. It comes from the emotions we were feeling at the time. Whether it’s a heavy song or a light song depends entirely on the mood we were feeling. Then the lyrics also reflect the mood that Ben was in, maybe a topic that was on his mind. It’s not fluff. It’s not lyrics just to write lyrics. It’s not just a song to write a song. If we are not feeling some sort of emotion from it we are not going to continue with it. If we don’t feel anything, then it gets scrapped.
VP: Are the songs based on life experiences and what you are feeling at the time?
JP: Most definitely that’s the case with “Sold Your Soul,” “My Day Is Over,” and “Jamie.” It comes from life experiences. The music itself thrives on the emotions we were feeling at the time.
VP: How is the progress coming on writing 10-15 songs for the summer coming along so far?
JP: It’s going really well. We’ve actually upped the number to 25. When we go to record the album in the fall we want to have as much material as we possibly can to pick the best album we can possibly put out. The writing is coming along beautifully. We’re knocking out songs like it’s nothing. It’s really giving us the opportunity to break them down and pick the best songs we possibly can.
VP: What roles does each of you have in this process?
JP: Rick and I write most of the music, but Ben brings in a lot of music too. The lyrics are solely Ben’s, right now, he (Ben) writes all of the lyrics. Anthony is more of the producer in the band. He has the ear to tell if maybe this part is not working, “maybe you should do this here” kind of thing. We just parted ways with our drummer, Steve, due to a conflict of interest.
VP: Now you have to search for a new one?
JP: We are well on our way with that. It should not be too long.
VP: Are you still working on a documentary? What is that going to be about?
JP: The documentary was an idea brought about by Shea’s business partner, Tim. He does the video and photography aspects of Shea’s company. He wants to document the band from starting point up to planning shows, recording an album, and releasing it. The broad general idea for him is being in a fresh band that hasn’t been around a while, and the prospect of being able to do something big with it. That’s probably going to be started this weekend.
VP: Have you started on your solo project?
JP: My solo project is sort of waiting in the wings. I have some down time and want to keep the things I am writing for Seven Day Sonnet. Anthony and Rick have a metal parody band.
VP: Why do you make music?
JP: If I didn’t, I would probably go crazy. There is not a moment in the day where I’m not thinking about playing guitar or writing something. When I am at home I have a guitar in hand. It’s just something I need to get out. I think I could say that for about everybody in the band.
VP: Are you looking forward to performing live?
JP: We love to perform live. We love the feedback.
VP: Do you have the dates for the cover band performances?
JP: The cover band is waiting in the wings as well. It’s not really our focus right now. The main reason we were going to do that was Ben had the possibility of going on tour with his other band. That’s probably not happening, so we’re going to focus on writing and recording.
VP: What are your recording plans?
JP: We’re going to start pre-production in September. We’ll start tracking the album in October. We’re probably looking at a late February or early March 2009 release.
VP: Have you picked out the songs yet?
JP: I could make a guess as to a couple of the songs that might be on there but that could change. The three songs we just recorded will probably be on the album. “Sold Your Soul” might be re-recorded for the album and we may make a few changes. It’s hard to say. We want to have as many songs as we possibly can so that when we go into the studio we will be able to choose from a variety of options.
VP: Have you picked the company and studio?
JP: We’re going back to Shea. We are very happy with the product that we got from him. Actually, we were one of the first bands in the studio. They were still under construction when we started tracking. For being one of the first bands in there and not having all the kinks worked out, it came out amazing. We have a lot of help lined up. We think we will have something that will really set us apart and stand out. We’re really looking forward to doing it. For the release, we will probably go with CD Baby and iTunes. It is economical and it works.
VP: Is the digital distribution of music a good way for artists to get their material out?
JP: Oh yeah. You’re never going to stop the pirating or downloading, but having the songs accessible online is a great thing. The three songs will be released on MySpace and given out for free at the shows.
VP: Is there anything else you want to add?
JP: We should have a music video out for “Jamie” about the time we start tracking the album, we’re just waiting for a treatment for that. We should have a new drummer in the next couple of weeks if everything goes well. The MySpace page will be updated with the songs as soon as that happens.
VP: Do you plan to have a website?
JP: We have been talking about it, but it is very preliminary right now. We are going to focus on our MySpace page for now. We have put in an order for merchandise though. That’s something people should look out for.
For more information about Seven Day Sonnet, please visit their official site at: www.sevendaysonnet.com