Here are a few questions with Lauren of The Souterrain:
How long has The Souterrain been together?
The Souterrain was conceived about a year after I started my masters degree at UC Davis. I moved here from Ireland where I had been performing with several different bands, and we’ve been together in our current incarnation with drums and a trumpet for about a year now. Sam (the guitarist) and I have been collaborating for almost two.
How would you describe your sound?
A friend saw a show and called it “lounge folk,” which has stuck. I learned how to play guitar and write songs by listening to the likes John Prine and Hank Williams, so there’s a country element to what I do, while my singing style leans a little more towards jazz. As I get older, I enjoy exploring the different textures of my voice, and I’m delighted this album reflects that variety. A song like “The Island” features a very true, and clear, almost childlike vocal, while I get to huff and growl my way through tracks like “Pink Flamingo” and “Jack Be Nimble”.
Your music has been described as “poetry”. How does story/imagery play into your music?
I think that poetry and songwriting are two very separate activities, almost left brained and right brained. Poems typically don’t do well in the cage of a melody. Nor do lyrics flattened on the page. But narrative, or storytelling, is a big part of the Souterrain’s music. I’ve had a lot of fun inventing characters and inhabiting them while writing these songs. More often they are inspired by the licks and riffs that the band pull out while we get together for practice. When I’m writing alone, I generally turn inward for subject matter. I’ve joked at shows that “Soft Truth” has a verse in it “for every man I’ve ever loved… it’s a very short song”. Once a guy in the crowd yelled back at me, “there’s still time”.
Where did the name come from?
Souterrains are great. You use them to store alcohol, escape nazis, have underground shows. I like the idea of tunnelling down. In Ireland we have these bogs that preserved all kinds of things from the past: butter, now extinct elks, old manuscripts, men and women sacrificed for a good harvest. Every time they cut down into the bog, something is uncovered.
Show starts at 8
$5 Door Charge