“Is everything okay?” Cameron Boucher questions part way through his band’s third album. “Not right now, but it will be,” he answers himself almost instantly. “I’m just just stuck in the same old place again.” Sorority Noise have never been ones to shy away from their emotions. In fact, quite the opposite – one of their most characteristic strengths is how they give them voice. From loss to love, self-destruction to steadfast resolve - and everything in between - this is a band that present life in all of its hues.
With their new record ‘You’re Not As ___ As You Think’, the outfit take that dynamic to a whole new level. There are songs that splinter under the weight of their words, and there are songs that rally out of the darkness. Then there are golden moments that do both; an arm around your shoulders with no solution; aside from suggesting that maybe you don’t have to feel so alone. This seems set to be a record that will propel Sorority Noise towards their biggest audiences yet. The band’s attentions, however, are already directing elsewhere.
“I want to be as excited about this as possible, and I am, but there’s so many bigger things that are happening in the world outside that need paying attention to, and to be spoken on, and talked about,” starts Cam. “It’s fucking scary.” Whether it’s the blind confusion around Brexit in the UK or the storm of chaos in the wake of the presidential election of Donald Trump in the US that’s currently looming heaviest, it seems any way you look the world’s plummeting into disarray.
“It’s difficult to be excited at a time like this,” sighs Cam, “a time where we’re so close to the dystopian fiction that none of us wanted to realise.” Fear may be rife, but Sorority Noise aren’t ones to concede defeat. “Yesterday I just mostly looked online and tried to educate myself as to how I can be a better person and help people in this world that don’t have the ability to,” the frontman states. Through benefit performances, music sale donations, and beyond, Sorority Noise are doing all they can do to make a difference.
“I see music as a fully consuming emotional endeavour.”
The same can be said of their music. The embodiment of very real sentiments of alienation, empowerment, and above all, survival, through its expression and its interpretation ‘You’re Not As ___ As You Think’ is purpose-built to lay everything on the line. “The idea of the blank, in my opinion, always levels you out,” Cam comments of the album title. “You can say ‘you’re not as sad as you think you are’ and you can say ‘you’re not as happy as you think you are.’ It offers balance.”
“They’re therapy,” the frontman goes on, explaining his songwriting. “In most cases, when I write a song I can’t say those words out loud,” he admits. “I see music as a fully consuming emotional endeavour. I think it’s important to be able to be consumed by that emotion.” The sense of these emotions is never more vivid than on ‘A Portrait Of’, as Cam yells out his issues almost indiscernibly under shimmering refrains and resounding drumbeats. “I pretty much just went in the vocal room and was like ‘give me one take, I want to say exactly how I feel,’” he recalls.
“I just yelled about what was going on in my head.” Screaming out his anxieties, Cam created for himself a breathing space in which he can continuously vent his concerns live on stage. “At the end of the song there’s no lyrics on the lyric sheet,” he explains. “I’m going to be changing that every time we play it. Maybe I won’t feel the way I felt when we recorded that song, the next moment I can just change it for myself.”
For those who’ve already seen Sorority Noise live, the life-affirming energy that floods their shows is one lingers long after the group exit the stage. When the emotional investment a band puts into their music is mirrored so keenly by those gathered to hear it, the result is like nothing else. “It’s important to play with the most emotional connection true to what you’re doing,” Cam considers. “It’s a very difficult line to tread sometimes in terms of what will over-capacitate me or what will be stale.”
“You’re the one that’s important.”
“It’s never easy to talk about,” he continues. Listening to the lyrics the musician writes, it becomes apparent why. Voicing introspective emotions on loss and loneliness, these aren’t issues easily broached. “I’ve lost a fair few friends the past few years,” the frontman discloses. “My belief is that they’re on my side and they’re supporting me through all the things I do.” Often discussing his own beliefs and mental health between songs, Sorority Noise sets are all about truly living in the moment, with every fibre of who you are.
“I might address mental health on stage and let the audience know they have a life worth living,” Cam explains. “Am I in that headspace personally?” he questions himself, and pauses. “I think talking about it helps to make me remember that’s ideally where I’d like to be.” And that’s essentially what this album is about. Created over six or seven months, ‘You’re Not As ___ As You Think’ is a very candid chronicle of everything Sorority Noise have become and strive to be.
“I can’t just sit and write,” the frontman expresses. “Most of the songs come from moments when I was feeling exactly the same way that I’m describing. I really have a difficult time separating the two.” Utilising their creativity as a form of therapy, the songs that Sorority Noise write offers catharsis at its most authentic. “Obviously I would love for people to enjoy it on whatever scale they’d like to,” Cam begins, “but if this album came out and no one cared, I don’t think I would feel any different,” he concludes. “I would just continue onwards to what we were doing and the plan we had ahead.”
The message Sorority Noise are projecting through all this is a simple one. “In a way it does get better,” Cam affirms, “but at the end of it you’re the one that’s doing the job and taking the steps you can to live your life positively, more so than anyone else,” he concludes. “You’re the one that’s important.”
Sorority Noise’s new album ‘You’re Not As ___ As You Think’ is out on 17th March via Big Scary Monsters.