As Always, Bring Earplugs: An Interview With Soccer Mom

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After tonight the city of Boston will be a decidedly quieter place, as beloved noise pop locals, Soccer Mom bid their final farewell at Great Scott. Soccer Mom leave us with two of the finest releases to come out of our city this decade with 2011′s You Are Not Going To Heaven and last years self titled full length. Like all good things Soccer Mom have come to an end, but if history taught us anything, they wont go quietly. Earlier this week we had the chance to catch up with Soccer Mom’s Dan Parlin and Justin Kehoe to talk about the past 5 years of Soccer Mom, tonight’s farewell show, and the new projects that the soon to former member of the band are working on. Thank you to the entire band for 5 years of sonic fury and for taking the time to answer a few questions.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Last September the band issued a written statement announcing it was calling it a day. Can you tell us what led to that decision?

Justin Kehoe : Not sure how much of the specifics are worth going into. It’s probably a little boring. Not a lot of drama, you know? No big argument or fallout. Our songwriting had slowed to a glacial crawl, and I think it was indicative of how individually our expectations for playing music were sort of drifting apart. You know, we’re such good friends, we probably could have taken a hiatus for a year, played a show every once in a great while, maybe gotten it together to do more recording at some point, and you know just sort of continue to exist as a low-activity band for years, or until someone moves… or whatever. That works for some people. But I think we all just wanted to put a cap on it. Announce it, play a final show, and then move on.

Dan Parlin: As a band in Boston, we accomplished quite a bit more than I think any of us really expected to. Going into making the LP, we were playing out tons and really working quite a bit on that side. As a result, we got great shows, but sort of stopped producing new things and taking longer than we should have to get stuff out there. It became clear that to go much further than we had would take an amount of effort, and money, frankly, that we were not in a place to deliver. With people’s lives moving in all sorts of directions, it seemed like a quit-while-you’re-ahead situation (“ahead” being mostly about all still being close friends and remaining proud of what we had done). We weren’t able to just “get in the van”. That’s what it takes. 

AGP: After you play your final show this Friday and effectively close the book on the band, how will you look back on the past 5 years of Soccer Mom?

Justin: Fondly. I’ve never played better shows. I’ve never had more fun playing. The last few years just would have been a lot less fun. A lot more lonely without the Moms. I’m going to miss practice, the weekly hanging out, most of all.

Dan: Really fondly. I wouldn’t have ever guessed how much musical and personal closeness would come out of it – between us and the bands/friends we connected with along the way. It’s the thing I’m most proud of being involved in, for sure, and it was super fun. 

AGP: When you started Soccer Mom what were your expectations for the band? Do you collectively feel you met those expectations both in the studio and on stage?

Dan:  It was never supposed to be a band, and started with such non-existent expectations for me that it was a delight to go along for the ride. We far exceeded anything I imagined. Were we all 15 years younger, I’m sure we’d have done even more.

Justin: For me, joining the band a year or two in, at the outset I didn’t expect much more than to hang out with pals in the practice space, play a few shows, and maybe record something. The quality of our shows, and of the music we made in my three and a half years in the band far exceeded my expectations. 

AGP: What can you tell us about your new project, Gold Muse?When can we expect to hear any of the material you and Dan have been working on or catch the band playing out?

Dan: Gold Muse is myself and Will (Scales) , Deb Warfield and Justin Lally. The songs so far are a good mix of poppy shoegaze with a nice dose of new wave. It’s different from Soccer Mom for sure, and we’re very excited to get stuff out there. We are looking at recording some songs over the summer for a digital release/demo. We are ready to be playing out, so I’m hoping you’ll see something this summer- nothing booked currently, though.Justin is also involved in a couple new projects, one of which is New Dog, who just signed to Kill Rock Stars. They are going on a 3-week European tour right after this final show. He’s also playing in a band called Rivers & Plains….currently nothing released but stuff has been recorded and sounds really great. 

As a band that has played T.T. The Bears Place on numerous occasions, what are your thoughts on the recent news that the famed Central Square club will be closing in July?

Dan: This is a real shame. The first band I was in in Boston played some of our first shows there and everything I have done since has happened there at some point. All of us have played in bands prior to Soccer Mom and we all played TTs. Soccer Mom played there a lot, they were awesome to us and I’ll miss seeing shows there terribly. 

Justin: This is just super sad. I’ve played some of my best shows at T.T.’s, and have seen some of my favorite shows there. I’ve always liked the room–the size of it, the ability to get a reprieve from the noise during a long show by sneaking over to the far side of the bar. I’ll miss it. I mean, I won’t miss having to try and play over metal bands playing under your feet at the Middle East downstairs. But everything else I’ll miss. It’s a damn shame. There’s already a crunch for good nights for local bands to play, so it’s either going to get that much harder for everyone except the handful of bands that are a consistent draw, or another venue will have to step in.    

AGP: Do you feel your two releases, You’re Not Going To Heaven and your self-titled full length achieved what you set out to do as a recording unit?

Dan: I think so. There are always things to change in hindsight. I do believe we never quite captured some of the sonic elements that were integral to our writing and live set. But on the other side of that coin, we made records that did showcase the compositions and actual playing more than I would have felt comfortable with if that were the goal from the outset. 

Justin: I can’t speak to “…Heaven,” that was a different drummer. But I’m very happy with the full length (as well as the two song “single” we recorded with Kevin Micka). I mean, we fought–or maybe just I fought–about a lot of stupid shit along the way to making it. But I think everyone just did a great job with it. I love that record. I think we all had slightly different ideas about what exactly (or even roughly) it is that a record is supposed to capture. And the LP, by having to balance those different expectations, becomes its own thing in a lot of ways. But, for me that mutation that comes from collaboration, from having to meet, at least part way–someone else’s expectations, that’s the real beauty of music.

AGP: What can we expect from Soccer Mom final performance?

Dan: Good times and ear aches.

Justin: Something from all four releases (7″, 10″, cd single, s/t full length), plus maybe a couple others… Oh, and of course, volume. As always, bring earplugs.

Tonight Soccer Mom say goodbye with a cant miss show at Great Scott. I mean, just look at this incridible line up: Soccer Mom, Chandos, Infinity Girl, and Coaches. Pour one out.

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