With mental health issues seemingly pushed front and centre in today’s media, there is still no real understanding for many people of what those affected by these issues go through. With arguably their most personal album to date, Sorority Noise are a band that have never shied away from the subject matter, and with vocalist and guitarist Cameron Boucher openly talking about his struggles with his own demons, it becomes quickly apparent why so many relate to his lyrics.
The band’s third full-length ‘You’re Not As ___________ As You Think’ touches on death, loss and how the vocalists deals with these situations, and it is these raw emotions that, Boucher says, we hear on the record. “I just write these songs for myself and I know that is pretty selfish but I never really think about how someone else is going to take them,” the vocalist tells Already Heard. “It’s not until I talk to someone about it that I have to analyse what I have written, and it’s difficult to do that because for me the finality of the song is me putting pen to paper. What I put into the song is what I am feeling in that moment.”
The most prominent theme in this record is grief over the tragic deaths of Boucher’s close friends, including Corey, who overdosed last year, and Sean, a cross-country runner who killed himself in 2015. And despite its bleak subject matter, Boucher almost finds a romantic/cathartic intensity to the songs the Hartford, Connecticut band has produced on ‘You’re Not As…’. It is this element that Boucher believes has lead this album to be the band’s most well-rounded release to date. He adds: “I am super proud of what we have done and this is the first full representation of what we are able to put together. It is us being a band, in this line-up for two years, and touring constantly and playing off each other’s strengths.
I think this is representative of my actual thought process. If I stay too low on things it can send me into this inescapable black hole. So I try and look at everything, no matter what it is, with the idea that ‘It has to be OK and there is no other option.’”
This is in no way to discredit any of the band’s previous records, as to this day Boucher gets fans approaching him telling the 23-year-old how they have connected to the lyrics on 2014s ‘Forgettable’ and its 2015 follow-up ‘Joy, Departed’. With the former now on its fourth pressing, it shows that fans of Sorority Noise are, in the first instance, loyal and growing by the day.
“We did an instore in Banquet Records in Kingston and we were signing stuff, and they were playing ‘Forgettable’ in the background,” Boucher continued. “And there are current members of the band who have never heard some of the songs recorded. We really like to play ‘Forgettable’, most of the songs on that album were when I was mainly focusing on Old Gray (Boucher’s post-hardcore band). It was my first attempt at ‘rock-punk’ as we call it. People are still buying copies of that which I am really grateful for and really humbled by.
I’d like to think that people can always explore mine, or any musician’s, back catalogue of material and still find redeeming qualities in the work.”
“The easy days make me doubt whether there really is something wrong with me, but then there are days when I just can’t get out of bed.”
The thing that really captures many fans imagination with Sorority Noise, is that despite what they are singing there is a fun, upbeat rhythm to what they play. That said, Boucher openly admits sometimes it is not the easiest thing to put a positive spin on his mental health issues and it can effect the band on tour at times, but with the support of his band mates, he manages to power through. Boucher added, “each night we play, we always just decide as we go along. We never use a paper set list, so each night I play the songs that I know that I can play.”
It is difficult to deal with the things that are going on in your brain. I mean there are times where things are really hard and others when it’s not so. The easy days make me doubt whether there really is something wrong with me, but then there are days when I just can’t get out of bed. And yeah that does happen on tour and I am super grateful for my band for being there to support me and help deal with things. There are days when I’ve had to cut a set short because I just feel I can’t do it. At other times I try to push myself and I see how it’s going to go.“
In regards to the title of the new record, ‘You’re Not As ___________ As You Think’, he says the title is open to interpretation and the blank space can be filled by any word depending on what the state of mind the listener is in. "I wanted to get it tattooed on myself when I was younger,” the singer continues,“I just thought it was clever as I would always have people asking me which word you would put in. The reason for the space is because for me that word is constantly changing. Now I use it as a way to level myself out.”
‘You’re Not As ___________ As You Think’ by Sorority Noise is released on 17th March on Big Scary Monsters / Triple Crown Records.
Words by Tim Birkbeck. Photo Credit: Andy Deluca.