Fusing elements of post-punk, new wave and alternative rock, Canadian quintet The Soviet Influence is a powerful blast of music to your cerebellum. We speak with lead vocalist and guitarist Peter Snow about their album Socialism: An Introduction, discovering new music and much more.
What can you tell us about your new album Socialism: An Introduction?
This is our band’s third full-length album. It’s coming out almost exactly one year from our last one. We worked with an amazing producer named David Partridge from Helm Recording.
The songs fall into two main themes related to social justice: worker’s rights and community support. Musically, the songs are mostly upbeat and more straightforward than our past work. The rock songs are heavier and more melodic at the same time. We really focused on making these songs accessible to a wide audience because we believe our message is important. We also wanted to write songs that we would be excited to play live. Once we are able to get out and perform these tracks I think we will be proven successful.
One other thing about this album is that it’s an attempt to be both personal and universal. That seems like a major undertaking, but I think that lyrically I was able to approach that goal. Even the most political songs have a strong foundation of personal emotion. When we talk about change it affects everyone in many complex ways. I hope the album gets that across.
Did you face any challenges during the production of the album?
Due to the pandemic, it was incredibly challenging to record this album. It was all done at a distance with a lot of transferring files around. As the songwriter, I recorded the basic tracks in my home and sent them out for additional parts. Dave put it all together and added lots of amazing parts to create the final songs. It was as collaborative as possible under the circumstances.
What do you hope people take from the album?
We all hope that people understand our message of social change. As a group, we have great hopes for society and we also see the inequity inherent to our system. We decided it had to be part of our music in a direct way. We want people to think about their circumstances and what they can do to support the people around them. We also really want them to enjoy the music, to sing along and to feel the emotions we are sharing.
Which is your favourite and least favourite tracks on Socialism: An Introduction?
‘Oh, Not Tonight’ is probably my favourite track. It is really catchy and the lyrics are some of the most intense I have ever written. The song is about the longing for human comfort on a dark night. In the performance, I really pushed to bring out a lot of passion. It’s already getting attention from the music media and we made a video in our rehearsal space. One fun fact about the song is that I wrote the verse lyrics on the spot, freestyle.
My least favourite track is ‘Coast to Coast’. It has a great message and a catchy melody; I just love the other eight songs that little bit much more. I also worry that it might be a little too preachy. On the other hand, I am trying to be preachy!
If you could change one thing about the album what would it be?
There are a few songs that aren’t finished. There’s at least one I wish we had completed and put on the record. I went through a highly productive period back in the spring and summer and wrote around 15-18 songs. I have continued to add to that as summer, fall and now winter came along. When we get back to playing live those songs will be part of the set and we are hoping to have another album together for the fall.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music nowadays?
It’s easy to find new music and hard to sort it all out. I tend to rely on blogs and sites that I respect. It seems like the general music listener depends on Youtube and Spotify. It will be great when we can go back to finding out about new bands through their shows.
Describe your music in one word.
Do you have a message for our readers?
This has been such a tough year for musicians, along with everyone else. Please get out there and buy music, stream music, download music and when live music comes back go to concerts. Music is so important and so central in our lives. Remember the small artists who make great music and don’t have the reserves to make it through lockdowns. Also, try to care about your neighbour, your co-worker, the stranger on the street. We’ve all ended up on this planet at the same time and we do so much better when working together.