Track-by-Track: Sooner – ‘Days and Nights’

Posted: by The Editor


Last Friday, Sooner dropped Days and Nights, forty minutes of crisp, sunny dream pop. Songs weave between hazy, melodic choruses and bright acoustics, equally dreamy and poppy. It’s a great record, and it cements the Brooklyn four-piece as one of the best up-and-comers in their lane. The band – vocalistFederica Tassano, guitarist John Farris, drummer Tom Wolfson, and bassist Andrew Possehl –was kind enough to provide a track-by-track breakdown of all eleven songs on the album, so queue it up and listen while you read along.

1. “Boscobel”
John was on a black metal listening kick when he wrote the riffs, which definitely inspired them. Playing with the rest of the band managed to temper, slow down, and smooth out the edges, and the end result is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum – some really pretty parts, while it also manages to hit hard and get heavy. The lyrics are about someone’s confession of a struggle to Federica – people tend to confide in her, and this person revealed they’d been in a really rough place… they were actually stealing from their employer, but that it was their “addiction demon” not their true self.
2. “Thursday”
Every once in a while a song seems to write itself, and the verse/chorus parts of “Thursday” just flowed naturally one night without any stumbling or revisions. Andrew was kinda new to the band and we’d been playing a lot of shows and just feeling good & energized, so this one was just a lot more fun than songwriting often goes. Like a lot of themes in our music around contrast (i.e. Days and Nights), the lyrics are pretty different from the feel of the song – centered on a complicated and abusive relationship.
3. “Portrait”
With every release we tend to have a song or two that’s made purely for recording, kinda lo-fi and using more synth, raw sounds, and experimentation. It’s mostly Federica and John sending each other Garageband tracks and adding layers, and with “Portrait,” it grew from something like strumming an acoustic around a campfire into something more unique and artistic.
4. “Persona”
This was something John wrote in its entirety right after moving to NYC and before Sooner was formed. He was playing a lot more than usual at the time, so he had the chops and the patience for more complicated song structures. Drums came next when the band was just an idea, and each subsequent part was written while the band formed – as it became whole, we really felt like we had something great. It was also recorded in a one-day session with our single “Happy Sometimes” apart from the rest of the album. Feels awesome to finally get it out there, and we still play it at almost every show. The lyrics portray someone struggling with loneliness – and partially as a result of that, addiction.
5. “Blue”
We have a version of this song on our first EP called “About the Blue,” but always felt like it was too fast, which took something away from it. Slowing it down and playing around with various things in the studio like a Hammond organ really let us go bigger with it – and we felt like the break in the song was a good opportunity to get more experimental with an interlude. The lyrics are about depression – a deep, clinical depression.
6. “Kingdoms”
This song went through quite a few iterations to become whole, originally trying to string together a few riffs John had floating around for some time. Digo and Jennica Best, who produced the album, were really helpful in guiding it to something more cohesive. Federica, who usually sticks to just vocals, also wrote the guitar melody in the verses – which made it a lot more interesting. The lyrics are mostly a poem by Mary Oliver, called “Sleeping in the Forest,” but with some slight changes. It’s about a dream of being inextricably connected and nurtured by nature.
7. “Oh”
This one always felt very different to us than other tracks, not nearly as “busy” with the guitars, much more relaxed. We played it live once and it felt weird being so relaxed, and then didn’t revisit it for well over a year. We finally came back to it and made some changes to lean into the almost trip-hop vibe, embraced the kind of odd structure, and are really happy with how it sits on the album. Lyrically, the song is about a deep longing for an impossible love.
8. “Rain”
This is really more of an interlude, trying to lend a flow and feel to the album. The music is just a room mic in the practice room, kind of a rare moment for Sooner where we’re just “jamming” – even with vocal improv. Something about the tune felt like a rainy day, so we added those other ambient sounds on top.
9. “Meaning”
This one was also a new version of another song –“Mean” on our second EP, Stranger. Loved the chords of the original but wanted to have something more dynamic and faster. The studio was really fun for this too, trying to dial in the arpeggio & chorus effect perfectly, and getting to add elements like the Wurlitzer electric piano and go crazy with the guitar noise. The lyrics were off the cuff and not intended to have deep meaning – but they revolve around knowing your bad qualities but wanting peace in a relationship.
10. “Pretend”
This definitely feels like the most pop-leaning song we’ve ever written. Went through a few structural iterations and it took forever to feel like the tone was full enough – something always felt so thin about it. We played around with more instruments in the studio (like bells for the chorus melody) but then it was too much… ultimately just adding some lower guitar chords filled it out nice. Despite it being one of our catchier hooks, the lyrics operate in dark contrast of the feeling – they’re about a sexual assault.
11. “Dusk”
In line with the whole “this is a flowing album” vibe, we wanted a proper outro. In early pandemic days when John was camped out at his in-laws in the midwest, he made an instrumental album of layered acoustic guitars. One of those tracks was the main source for “Dusk,” and then we added some synths and room recordings of us from practice… something feels nice and personal about it.


Days and Nights is out now on Good Eye Records.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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