With the first Semifinals just two weeks away, it’s time for Seattle to get to know the super talented and passionate artists taking part in Sound Off! this year.
In early January we got the chance to ask the bands a few questions and learn more about their work together.
Strawberry Mountain blends upbeat electronic lines, melodic vocals, and complex rhythms to build an otherworldly musical experience. Equal parts uplifting dance beats and spacey self-reflective synth pads, this is pop music at its freshest. And yet, their focus is not only on innovation but also on community. This DIY music collective is committed to creating accepting and inclusive environments for all who need one. What more could you ask for?
Check out this clip, and then read the full interview below.
What does being part of Sound Off! mean to you?
Carter: It’s an incredible opportunity. So many people we look up to and friends have gone through here, so to be here ourselves is crazy. It’s a huge experience.
Connor: Oh yeah, I love it. I think it’s great to kind of raise up the DIY scene.
Francis: It’s a bit surreal.
Savvas: Growing up somewhere where you only really had two outlets for music and not wanting really to do either of them. And seeing this for kids, too. I wish that I had something like this growing up. It’s really cool that there’s people looking out for the success of young musicians rather than people who have been in the industry longer. being able to show that regular people under 21 that practice and play can achieve great things too.
Carter: And other than house shows, and DIY places, and the VERA Project, there aren’t many opportunities to get on a real stage. The VERA Project is one of the few ones. So to play on a real stage with monitors? We never play [with house monitors]. We bring our own monitors.
Savvas: Playing in a living room with like a monitor from 20 years ago.
Carter: With all the sound bouncing around the room. It’s crazy.
Why do you make music? How does creating make you feel?
Carter: It just started as an outlet, and I don’t like socializing. I like hanging out in my basement. So, at some point I was like, “man, I gotta stop just playing video games and reading, and I gotta do something a little more productive.” And it’s not that much more productive, but, I dunno, it gives me something to do.
Conner: I grew up with it. I loved listening to it as a kid. And then playing it is just amazing.
I saw it as kind of an escape, you know? Whenever I’m feeling down or whatever music always helped me get through stuff. And even, like, writing music and just playing it is a lot to me, and it’s part of my life.
Savvas: Yeah, it’s just the ability to have something out there that when you’re not here anymore you actually did something. To me, music is able to be spoken through any different language any type of person, can listen to music and maybe feel the same thing as somebody else or it can evoke different emotions.
Francis: It can inspire too. I mean, what does a record do? It sits around in someone’s garage. But, you know, maybe you make a record and someone else hears the record, then they make a record. The highest purpose of art is really to inspire. That’s all you can hope for.
What do you hope to achieve through your music?
Savvas: Just to show that I didn’t live an “Average Joe” existence.
That I tried to actually—I’m not saying that people don’t try to do things—I tried to do things so that I won’t personally feel like I will be forgotten when I’m dead.
Francis: Turn off CNN and put on Strawberry Mountain.
Conner: We really want to show what we love and what other people love doing. And that’s creating music for people and inspiring.
Carter: And I like to go on road trips, and make a little money back. Not a lot. Maybe pay for some of the gas.
Savvas: And then our booking agent can make 10% of our $80.
Carter: They [take] home a nice $8; $72 goes to us. That’s great.
Describe your music using only emojis.
Conner: Is there a strawberry emoji?
Francis: And a mountain.
Jonathan: The tongue out emoji?
Francis: The spicy chili! Sunglasses, trumpet, spicy chili.
Carter: I always use the robot emoji.
Savvas: The saxophone, with the robot. And then the bikini emoji!
Carter: I like the one where the smiley face is going [grimaces].
Savvas: I think the upside down smiley face.
Carter: Let’s go with that one.
Savvas: All of ‘em.
Strawberry Mountain performs February 9 at Sound Off! Semifinals #1. Don’t miss it. Get your tickets right here.