The Soft Pack
Hailing from San Diego, California, indie-rock band The Soft Pack is already on the verge of hitting it big, despite only being in their third active year as a group. Their story began when lead vocalist/guitarist Matt Lamkin and lead guitarist Matty McLoughln started performing in several different parts of San Diego. A year later, the group added drummer Brian Hill and bassist David Lantzman. Together, the band originally called themselves “The Muslims,” before they changed their group name due to accusations of ignorance and racism.
Even though their original group name generated a lot of controversy, it never stopped the band from performing as they released two EP’s, a then self-titled album (‘The Muslims’) in 2008, along with the release of ‘Extinction’ the following year.
After being signed with Kernado records, the band released their self-titled debut studio album, ‘The Soft Pack,’ in 2009, and embarked on a two year long tour to help promote the album. The group is also best known for singles such as “Nightlife”(2008), “Answer To Yourself”(2009) and the recently released “Gagdad”(2010).
In our exclusive interview with the up-and-coming indie rock band, guitarist Matty McLoughlin discusses topics such as the story behind the band’s name, their previous name, the origins of the band, influences and much more!
Listen to Matty's all-time favorite tracks at http://8tracks.com/uinterview/the-soft-pack
- Q: What have been your favorite dates so far? - Suri
- A: We’ve been on tour for about two and a half weeks. Right now we’re in Little Rock, Arkansas, which I’ve never been to. We went out last night and checked it out. We played the Austin City Limits Festival in Austin, that was really cool, and then we played the Corona Festival in Mexico City, which was pretty awesome. None of us had been to Mexico City and it’s a pretty wild place.
- Q: You weren’t scared for your life? - Suri
- A: Oh no, it was all good. We had been to Monterrey, Mexico earlier in the summer, and I guess that’s where a lot of the violence has been going on. A couple of days before we went, they had found like 75 bodies in a ditch in Monterrey, so my parents were worried. No, it was great. It was a good time, yeah. The kids down there are really enthusiastic. I’m not sure how many American rock bands they get to see, so when they do get them there, they go pretty bonkers. I guess those have been the highlights so far.
- Q: I know there’s been some interesting stories about your current name, The Soft Pack. How did you get it? - pete
- A: Our drummer Brian [Hill] came up with the current name. He was surfing the Web, this site called Babeland.com, and he found this thing called a Soft Pack, which is like a plastic penis that drag kings wear – you know, women trying to pass as men? And we like Steely Dan and they’re named after a dildo too, and it just kind of made sense so that’s what we changed the name to, The Soft Pack.
- Q: Your previous name was The Muslims. Why did you change it? - pete
- A: It got completely misinterpreted by people who didn’t like us, didn’t like the name, people who did like us, did like the name, and it was just a complete pain in the ass. It kind of dragged some of the fun of being in the band. Muslim people got upset, then there were Muslims that did like the name and even our old fans would be like “jihad, bitch” and just stupid ignorant shit. It created kind of a mess that we never intended and have no interest in being a part of, so we changed it to The Soft Pack.
- Q: So does it surprise you now to see all the stuff about the Ground Zero mosque coming up? - samantha
- A: Not really. I don’t even really pay attention, to tell you the truth. Like I just like watching sports on TV, rock and just try to write songs. I’m not the most political dude. I could care less.
- Q: What are the origins of the band? - samantha
- A: Matt [Lamkin], the singer, and I started the band in January 2007. We would write songs, and we had like a rotating cast of guitar players and drummers for about a year, and then Brian and David joined in January of 2008 for our first West Coast tour and kind of solidified the lineup.
- Q: Can you talk a little bit about the album that you released this year? What are the military themes about? - Ahmed Mori
- A: Brian writes all the lyrics, so I can’t really speak for him, but from what I gathered is: we’re from San Diego, which is a naval base town, and I think it just sounded good. It’s like a hook. That’s like my interpretation, I don’t know. He might be thinking something completely different.
- Q: Being from San Diego and being a California band, do you think that influences you in any particular way? - Tricia
- A: I guess wherever you live or where you grew up is going to influence you, whether you’re conscious of it or not. I don’t know, we like California but not really, nothing conscious.
- Q: Do you have a favorite song on the new album? - Steve Krause
- A: Yeah, there’s a song “Mexico” that I like a lot, that’s kind of mellow, it’s kind of a little bit of a departure. I like this song called “Pull Out” that I think is good. It’s kind of like a post-punk-ish kind of song. I guess “Mexico” and “Pull Out” are my two favorite songs on the album.
- Q: Do you in particular or do you guys as a band have particular musical influences that reflect in your music? - Steve Krause
- A: We’re all huge music fans. Everyone kind of listens to a wide range of things. Personally, some of my favorite bands growing up were The Replacements, The Modern Lovers, I guess like Steely Dan, Neil Young. I mean we listen to kind of a wide range of stuff. David likes Sade a lot – I don’t know, we kind of listen to everything.
- Q: How much longer is the tour going on? - Sandy
- A: I think it ends in the middle of November. We’re gonna meet up with Kurt Vile, who I’m a huge fan of, in Atlanta, and we’ll do a co-headlining thing for the rest of the dates, so I’m looking forward to that. Yeah, we play at Little Rock tonight, then Oxford is tomorrow night, then Atlanta. That’ll be cool, I’m excited.
- Q: What’s up for you guys after the tour? - sal
- A: We’ve demo’d some music for a new record and we’re just writing for a new record. We’ll kind of assess where we’re at when we get home. And hopefully we’ll have one out sometime early next year. We have six things demo’d and we wanna go in and demo some more. We’re definitely working on a new record.
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