Adam Ackerman‘s scene is “over-enthusiastic poser rock”.
Read our interview with Sorority Noise‘s guitarist/vocalist below and enjoy his candidness and humour.
Who were your influences growing up?
My parents are musicians, so I listened to a lot of classic rock. I grew up on artists like Billy Joel, the Doobie Brothers, and Fleetwood Mac.
Did you always want to be in a band?
100% once I got my first bass in 6th grade. I wanted to be a chef prior to that.
How did you form Sorority Noise?
I actually didn’t form Sorority Noise, but Cam formed the band with the original drummer and bass player when we were in college. They’re first show was at my house, and I joined in after a good bit of persuasion from Cameron. He asked if I wanted to play the guitar solos, and I couldn’t resist.
How long have you been playing guitar? Why did you first start playing guitar?
My parents started me on piano lessons at the age of 5. I started playing guitar around the age of 11 or 12, so I’ve been playing for about 12 or 13 years now. It’s crazy to think about. My dad got me my first guitar and taught me how to play that bullfighting song because it was only one chord shape. Haha
Which guitarist influenced your playing?
Early on, guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Richie Blackmore were guys I was listening to and learning their songs. I was a bass player predominantly, so I was more focused on players like Jaco Pastorius, Geddy Lee, and Flea. In college, it was just a matter of listening to whoever was around me and trying to keep up. I was jamming with people all the time and learning their styles in an attempt to find my own voice. Now I’ve found myself playing more aggressively with a hair metal flare to it. It’s really worked for me.
Describe your favourite guitar.
This is a tough question because I try to play different guitars for different projects. My Gibson Melody Maker Explorer is my #1 because I play with Sorority Noise so much, but I try to only use that guitar for this band because it has such a special connection to this band for me. I have so many guitars that I try to use to their strengths. My other favorite is probably my Hagstrom Viking Deluxe. It’s super versatile and comfortable to play, so it’s a good all around guitar.
How do you prepare for a show?
I have a stretching and warm-up routine I do before each set. I need to or I’ll end up getting hurt. Haha. But it’s important for me to take the time and treat my body well and gear my brain up to output all that energy and emotion. We also have a chant based on the movie Hot Rod that we say before every set to get us in the zone. That may be the most important part of my preshow routine.
Which song do you wish you wrote the riff for?
Pile – Came as a glow (starting at like 2:30)
What music do you listen to now?
So much. I’ve been listening to a lot of R’n’B and hip hop which has been awesome. But I’ve also been listening to a lot of Sheer Mag and the new Brand New record.
Sorority Noise is a young band – in terms of years together and in terms of age – how do you account for the maturity of your music and lyrics – that essentially comes from practice, experience and time?
We’ve all just been through a lot, and this band is the place where we channel all that energy, good and bad, and put it into something we care about. We make music because we have to. We want to make music too, but I know I can’t function without music. So we try our hardest, work our craft, and put everything we have into the songs. The maturity comes out of necessity, too. Sometimes we’re handed things in life we’re not ready to deal with, but life doesn’t stop. Instead of giving, we face whatever we’re dealing with head on. It’s terrifying and difficult and painful at times, but we just try our best to learn and cope and carry on. Then, we write songs about it. It’s sometimes all we can do, but it helps.
Your third album You’re Not As _____ As You Think was released earlier this year. Why use the absence of a word in the title? Are you hoping listeners will fill in the blank with words such as the mixture of positive and negative ones (dark, wild, hopeless, genius, funny, isolated) used in your album teaser back in January?
Yeah pretty much. It was Cam’s idea, and he described it as something that brings you back to equilibrium. It’s simultaneously humbling and empowering. I love the idea that fans can apply that blank however they need. I use it sometimes, too.
Right at this moment, what word would you personally insert?
How is this album different/similar to your previous releases?
The goal is always the same: write honestly and try our best. The approach for this album was different just because we had more time to work on it. We had songs for months before recording, and then did a lot more preproduction than we’ve ever done before. Joy, Departed came together in one rehearsal and 5-7 days of recording. This record was 3 weeks of work from preproduction to last day of tracking. This record we also did at a studio outside of our college which was an amazing experience. It was also our first time working with a producer, which couldn’t have gone better for us. I think all these factors just came together to make a great record that we’re really proud of!
Please describe the song-writing process for our readers – do you each have your parts sorted before you get together or do you start with an idea and then jam?
Cam brings us a skeleton of a song that he’s recorded on his own, which usually consists of a general chord structure and rough lyrics. Then, we workshop it together as a group and bring the structure of the song to life before Cam puts final touches on lyrics. Sometimes it takes a few days, sometimes less than an hour. We all just know our roles and strengths so well that it’s easy to move a song where we want it to go as a unit. We all look at the big picture of the song, so we’re never crowding anyone else’s space if that makes sense. It’s a really fun time for me because I usually get to add the more decorative parts of the music like leads, harmonies, and textural elements. It’s a lot of experimenting with effects and techniques until I find something that raises my brow and compliments the foundation of the song. I probably spend the most time tracking in the studio because of it. Haha
On your latest release which song was your most challenging and/or most rewarding song and why?
Probably Where Are You? I had a completely different guitar part for that song until we were in the studio, and none of us liked the song because of it. When I was tracking, Cam said just play a Motion City Soundtrack-esque lead, and I made up that part on the spot. It totally saved that song, and we all agreed to keep it on the record after that.
What was it like working with producer Mike Sapone?
He’s the absolute king. He made us so comfortable and really brought out the best in us. He was encouraging, considerate, and brilliant at all times. He cultivated this environment that made it effortless for us to go in and do our thing every day. On top of that, he’s just a great guy. It was a privilege to get to work with him, and it’s an honor to call him a friend.
How do you feel about touring?
I LOVE touring. It’s the most mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting thing I’ve ever done, but I can’t imagine doing anything else right now. As tiring as it gets, it’s also extremely rewarding. I couldn’t be more grateful for the experiences I get to have on tour.
Are there any on-the-road anecdotes you can share with us?
On our tour with Knuckle Puck, the whole tour package rented this massive cabin in the woods somewhere in southern Oregon. It was run by this hippie colony that maintained a garden and several cabins. They assured us We could get our vans and trailers up to the cabin, but they were so wrong. We had to make our vans climb 3 miles up the side of a mountain on sketchy dirt roads and a tiny bridge with no GPS or cell service. Then, it was another half mile incline hike, carrying everything we brought, including food for 2 meals for roughly 30 people. Head North popped a tire somewhere outside of Portland, so I waited at the bottom of the mountain for them since no one had cell service. They had a German shepherd with them which was also wild. It took several hours to get everyone up, but we had a great time grilled a ton of food and played a huge game of werewolf. The next morning, we drove like 6 hours to San Francisco, and we’re back in the thick of the tour. I don’t think I’ve ever been that exhausted and smelly in my life.
What can your Australian fans expect from this tour?
Definitely music. We make our set up on the spot though so I don’t really know what to expect. Haha
What is next for you? For Sorority Noise?
I’m working on a solo record that I’m really excited about! It’s different from anything I’ve ever written before, which has been a cool experiment for me. I’m also working on an acoustical consulting firm called Atom Sonic Concepts with my business partner Tom Conran. We do mostly recording studio designs, but we have a lot of cool projects on the way. As for Sorority Noise, we’re really excited for the shows we have for the rest of the year! We have a new EP coming out soon! We’re just starting to think about next year, but I’m excited for whatever that will bring!
How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
We’re like a good deli. Each song is like a different sandwich that has it’s unique components, but there’s something for everybody to enjoy!
Make sure you check out Sorority Noise’s latest release, You’re Not As _____ As You Think.
Catch Sorority Noise live in Australia, where hopefully you will witness some of Ackerman’s rocker poses!
Connecticut-based quartet, Sorority Noise will be headlining shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne this September/October, following the announcement of their inclusion on the Yours And Ours Festival 2017 line-up.
Sorority Noise formed in 2013 and consists of Cameron Boucher (guitar/vocals), Adam Ackerman (guitar/vocals), Charlie Singer (drums) and Ryan McKenna (bass/vocals). You’re Not As _____ As You Think, their third album, is out now through Triple Crown Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia. The album follows previous releases It Kindly Stopped For Me 7” (2016), critically acclaimed Joy, Departed (2015) and debut Forgettable (2014).
Described as “the most collaborative, fully realized version of Sorority Noise to date,” the Mike Sapone-led project (Brand New, Taking Back Sunday) flows as a cathartic release, with the band embracing loss and darkness.
Sorority Noise current single No Halo has been receiving plenty of triple j play and along with tours with Modern Baseball, Citizen, Turnover and The Menzingers this is one of the most highly anticipated debut tours of 2017.
“About as urgent and catchy and intuitive as rock music gets” – Stereogum
“an early frontrunner for one of the best albums of 2017” – Paste Magazine