Deli’s choice speaks softly to The Chronicle

By WilliamPrentiss

Soft Speaker refreshingly crafts its songs in a way that sets it apart from other bands. It’s easy to hear a clear focus on the finer details like dynamics and tempo, a trait sorely missing from many bands in this day and age.

The band recently won a recording session at the studio Gallery of Carpet in Villa Park after being named The Deli Chicago’s Band of the Month. They recorded two new singles, “Concerning Your Memories” and “Maybe Baby” that can be heard on their MySpace page. The Chronicle recently talked to the band to gather some insight on how they produce their winning sound.

The Chronicle: How did you think of the name Soft Speaker?

Paul Foreman: There were a lot of names we went through where one person would be like, “Nah, I don’t like that.” That was the first one everybody liked. I think it can be interpreted in multiple ways.

Nick Rocchio: We had a few ideas referencing like novels and stuff.                            PF: We kind of decided we didn’t want to be attached to anything. We didn’t want to be a reference to any cultural thing, so we decided not to go with Grounds Keeper Willy or … NR: Purple Turkey.

PF: Purple Turkey was already a band.

The Chronicle: What sounds from your favorite bands do you try to incorporate into your own?

PF: I’m really into classic fuzz tones. That’s something I always go for when I’m recording or playing live.

Joe Daley: What I try to do is to keep on improving and that kind of keeps you, musically, from plateauing. I like to glean things from whatever I hear. I just got the greatest hits from The Monkees, and they sound great on that. The Monkees were basically the Wrecking Crew with The Monkees doing the vocal track. That’s a great example of thinking of new ways to play. The Wrecking Crew was also the backing musicians for tons of other bands.

Blair Douglass: A friend of mine was like, “Hey, you should listen to REM,” so I checked out their album. I listened to it and thought, “I have to learn how to play bass like that.” So that was really one of the bigger influences. Then taking other bands and their bass players, they really utilize the entire neck.  So when I think about writing, I explore the different parts and weave in and out.

The Chronicle: What is the writing process for your band?

PF: The songs are written by Nick or me, and then they’re just kind of arranged by the band.

NR: It’s never like I want the bass to do this. Well, it is a little bit.

JD: When we’re working out a new song—I don’t know why—usually it’s me doing something wrong. It kind of pisses me off for a while, but then I get over it.

NR: Actually, for a lot of the songs we’ll play them live, and once we start recording it, the parts we come up with for the recording fit really well. We’ll end up adding it to the song because we didn’t really think about it before.

The Chronicle: Do you have any crazy stories from since you formed?

BD: There was the time our practice space caught fire.

NR: Oh yeah, that was fun.

BD: We were practicing and Nick was like, “Do you guys smell smoke?” We get out in the hall and it smells like a bonfire.

NR: Then we walk out into the main hallway and it’s filled with smoke. Holy s–t.

BD: We’re just trying to get our gear back, so we’re risking our lives.

JD: They put the fire out and eventually everything calmed down. Basically what had happened is that our landlord, the genius that he was, put a giant sort of space heater on top of a large, combustible wooden platform. So, yeah, he screwed up.

For concert dates and other information, check out Soft Speaker at