Photo by Reji B. Photography
Today we have a Meet the Band with Soraia. Friends of Little Steven and guests on The Underground Garage. If you want to know how truly cool they are, go to their twitter or Facebook pages and you will see very recent pictures of them hanging out with Elvis Costello and Little Steven. I am a big fan of Little Stevens Underground Garage and by picking a song of Soraia’s as one of the coolest songs in the world last year, that should be more than enough for any fan of garagerock to pay attention.
Soraia is rock with an edge , great guitar work, you can tell that this is a Band that knows the ropes, the hooks are in the right place, dig the organ. The Band is solid all the way through and I think that is a key point to the success of their band. Soraia have Zou Zou Mansour taking the lead on Vocals , she has that voice that demands attention, grabs it from you and doesn’t let go, awesome garage vibe with a Detroit soul twist. This is for fans of The Love Me Nots , Motobunny , Detroit Cobras and , Amy Gore…. so crank it up, have a blast, sing along, dance, stomp and let the party begin….
Hi our name is….Soraia
People say we sound like…..The Sonics meets The Pixies meets Joan Jett
We are…..ZouZou Mansour (singer/songwriter), Travis Smith (bass/vocals/songwriter), John Glaubitz (lead and rhythm guitar/vocals), Jack Faracchio (keys/organ/vocals), Jeff Leonard (drums), Andy Watts (lead/rhythm guitar)
We are from…….Philadelphia, PA
Who are some that have an influence on you
ZouZou Mansour: All of Motown, Stax, 60’s garage, The Ramones, Blondie, Joan Jett, Suzi Quatro, The Sonics, The Stooges, The Cramps, The Clash, The Doors, The Black Keys, Jack White, Dead Weather, The White Stripes, Iggy Pop, Muse, The Pixies, Love Me Nots, Tina Turner, The Cars, anything music with melody, tons of poetry, especially Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes,… etc (I tried to encompass the rest of the band here, too)
Travis Smith: The Sonics, the Pixies, Black Sabbath, lots of 60’s garage bands, listening to lots of Motown music as a kid, maybe.
How old were all of you when you started to play and who plays what in the band
ZouZou Mansour—I started on drums, then became a singer. I started all music at 15
Travis Smith– 12!
John Glaubitz–I was 12 when I started playing.
Jeff Leonard– I have been playing drums for as long as I can remember. My father was a drummer and the drums or sticks were always in reach.
Jack Faracchio–I started piano lessons at 10, taught myself guitar around 13, bass around 14, and to sing around 17.
Andy Watts–Started guitar at 15…started on piano at 5 or 6 and played trumpet in school band
Can you tell us about the process you use, from writing the songs all the way through getting the songs out
Usually, Travis and ZouZou either collaborate together in a room (as in the case of “Kids are Alrite—one of our newest songs from our upcoming release), or send song ideas back and forth and work individually on the song. ZouZou will work on lyrics and melody, and Travis on both melody and music. After that, we bring the songs to the band and finish arrangement, etc. Next—we record! Sometimes, too, we have Steven Van Zandt help us with writing, production, and arrangement, too!
what are some of the challenges you face as musicians and how have you overcome those challenges
Trying to be productive, creative, prolific and timely while also trying to keep our heads above water. We’ll let you know how when we overcome it.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it ….
ZouZou- The Motown years. And also to the 70’s to New York City when CBGB’s was really going—to see bands like Patti Smith, Blondie, The Ramones, New York Dolls, etc. I feel like music was more of a real, living, breathing culture, then.
Travis–Probably around 1966, or 1989 maybe? Sometime when exciting new things were beginning to happen in the music world.
Who are all of you currently listening to ….
ZouZou–The Pixies, Joan Jett, The Cars, The White Stripes, The Dead Weather, Jack White, The Raconteurs, The Black Keys, The Runaways, Blondie, , Sid and Nancy movie soundtrack, Suzi Quatro, Prince, The Ramones.
Travis-The new Wand album is good. Ty Segall has new stuff out that is good. Tame Impala have new tracks out that I haven’t listened to yet but I’m sure they’re good. I’ve recently discovered some bands that are new to me such as Night Beats, Mrs. Magician, Sic Alps, Mr. Airplane Man… All cool stuff worth checking out.
John–Tedeschi Trucks Band, Grace Potter, Queens of the Stone Age, Cage the Elephant, anything with Jack White connected to it, and recently started getting into to Gary Clark, Jr.
Jack–If I had to pick, I would say I listen to The Doors and The Black Keys the most.
Jeff-I am always listening to something different or random. Recently, I have been listening to Nina Simone, 13th floor Elevators, The Meters and Booker T and the MGs
Andy-Currently listen to alot of outlaw country…mostly Jason Isbell, but guys like Jesse Dayton and Ray Wylie Hubbard too…listening to an old Who greatest hits cd alot lately, too
What do you think of “the state of rock n roll”…
ZouZou– I think it’s doing great! It’s all up to your perception—to me—rock n roll is a forever thing. I don’t care if trends put it in the backseat or frontseat. It’s a real, living, animated, alive, bold, rebellious, powerful antihero. Always will be. Especially rock n roll that lends an ear to early blues or soul or rock. I believe the roots have to stay strong for it to grow, evolve, and be created new again.
some albums that you have played on repeat over the years……
ZouZou- The Pixies (Surfer Rosa and Indie Cindy), Joan Jett’s Greatest Hits, Tina Turner (with and without Ike—60’s and 80’s), Prince, The Cars, all Motown songs and performers (The Four Tops more than others), Otis Redding, The Beatles (all), The Rolling Stones (all).
Travis–The Pixies’ Indy Cindy, just about any Thee Oh Sees album, Queens of the Stone Age’s …Like Clockwork.
If you could open for any Band right now who would that be and why?
Any of the above mentioned bands in our “influences” and “songs on repeat” list. Also Traffic Sound in Peru. Because they are all huge influences in our writing and musicality—so it would be an honor, and very fitting!
My youngest son is 13 and in a Band, what advice would you offer him…
ZouZou– If you’re going to go for it—don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Do it for the music and for the greater good, and you’ll never be disappointed. Follow the flow and be honest in the music you put out in the world. Make it yours, and you cannot fail! OH! And don’t let the naysayers get you down, kid! Use it as fuel!
Beatles or Stones….BOTH!
The one thing we want you to remember while your listening to us….
How alive and free music is and how it brings us all together. And the raw power and rebellion in rock n roll. Lose yourself with us.