Many so called journalists would approach this feature with their sights set brainlessly on the controversial name of The Soft Pack‘s previous incarnation The Muslims, leaving the music of their present one to hang about in the background, going to waste. But not me:

“The [old] name came from bands like Frank Black and the Catholics, and The Silver Jews”, explains guitarist Matty, “but it brought the worst out in people; they either got offended, or thought it gave them free reign to make fun of Islam. We liked the name, but it got to the point where people thought we were making a joke or trying to be edgy – we just got tired of it.”

The idea that anyone might mistake The Soft Pack for a novelty act, sacrificing substance for style or controversy, could not be less appealing to a band that values, above all else, good old honest rock ‘n’ roll. Bodging themselves together from an assortment of High School friendships, jamming sessions, and nights spent driving around listening to bands like Modern Lovers, Pavement, The Fall, Wire, and The Beatles; The Soft Pack collect all these influences and more:

“We don’t purposefully take too much musical stuff from those bands; it’s more of an approach to music. The big thing is simplicity and honesty; there’s a real lack of wanting to be cool. So there might be a few crap songs, but there’s always a big push and pull on their records.”

The band has carried this approach with them into the recording of their second album (due out in February 2010), enlisting the help of producer Eli Janney (of Girls Against Boys ‘fame’), to accentuate their live, rough about the crotch sound that loiters somewhere between The Strokes and The Velvet Underground, with straight forward riffs, nosey vocals and splashy drums:

“Eli really understood the energy of the band” begins Dave, “he didn’t let us think too much. We’d do a couple of takes, and mess up the drums or something, and he’d be like ‘oh no, you can’t notice it’, and we’d move on.” Matty jumps in, explaining, “we’re not great musicians, the point is just to get it all down, in a room hacking it out, and busting our ass.”

Whatever you might think about this approach on a technical level, there’s no denying the passion and sincerity at its root. The Soft Pack make the music they want to make: the music that best describes them:

“Like ‘Rebel Rebel’ came on in a bar today”, continues Matty, “and we were like, man, this sounds like Friday night, seven o’clock and waiting to go out; authentic, exciting rock ‘n’ roll music that made sense to everyone; universal, and easy to understand – that’s what we want to make.”

And with a hectic schedule of touring planned to promote the album, the band are already contemplating the best way to spend the next three months before the madness really begins:

“We’re really excited to write a new record”, says Matt (or possibly still Matty). “I think we hit a stride towards the end of writing the last one, so we’re keen to get working on some new stuff. We’re progressing, so I’m excited to see how it goes. We don’t have a direction planned out, as long as it’s simple and good. That doesn’t mean a standard setup necessarily – I wouldn’t mind doing things where there are no guitars in there – we’re really not married to anything other than simplicity and honesty.” I think that’s clear now. So, all that remains is to hear a bit more about the new name; picked out to deflect the controversy and piles of Fatwas and Klan invitations pouring through their letterbox. No doubt it has something to do with the back to basics, organic approach they each have to cleaning their own instruments…

Brian reluctantly grips the Dictaphone, “I was cruising around the internet and came across this flaccid dildo called The Soft Pack. I thought it was kinda cool.” Cheers Brian, lovely stuff.

Richard Attley



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