Get to know... Get To Know… Symbol Soup

We speak to South London’s Symbol Soup ahead of his debut LP, ‘Slow Puncture’.

Hello and welcome to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… which aims to get you a little bit closer to the buzziest new acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

Hazy and atmospheric, the alt-folk sounds of Symbol Soup come courtesy of Michael Rea, a Milton Keynes native who has become a core part of the scene in his now-home of South London. Notably, he hosts regular ‘Soupenanny’ shows at the grassroots venues The George Tavern and The Windmill, which take food bank donations in place of a regular entry fee and have staged the likes of Tapir! and Lilo.

With a string of dreamy singles under his belt, Symbol Soup’s debut album ‘Slow Puncture’ arrives on 21st July via independent label Sad Club Records (Ellie Bleach, Kierst). Ahead of its release, we spoke to Michael about his inspirations, collaborators, and rich visual world.

Which track of yours should a first-time listener start with, and why?

I like ‘Airglow’. It’s got the easy vocal flow I gravitate towards, and the recording gets the ‘soupy’ texture nicely.

What’s your earliest musical memory?

When I was a toddler, my Mum used to cheer me up by playing ‘Accidentally Kelly Street’ by Frente! I’ve come full circle and this is once again my vibe.

If you could have written any song from history, what would it have been?

The Orchids by Psychic TV (the Califone cover is perfect).

Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out (and why)?

Sparklehorse and The Microphones were the biggies. Lo-fi is a bit more of an aesthetic trope now, but those albums are great examples of how you can make something so distinctive by self-producing. There’s genuine experimentation and less regard for how things ‘should’ sound in a conventional guitar band.

Describe the vibe of one of your gigs in three words.

Slightly more emo.

Are there any other artists breaking through right now that you’re excited or inspired by?

So many, I honestly never thought I’d find a scene like the one we find ourselves in now. Anyone who’s played a Soupenanny show before and everyone on Sad Club, obviously. I think the next thing Baggio releases could become a cult classic.

Is there a visual world to what you’re trying to create? If so, how would you describe it?

I do visualise landscapes most of the time when I’m recording, to get the take to feel right. They’re extremely vague and ridiculous to describe but… lots of farmland, wet woodland, rusty machinery, gothic-looking plants, visible radio waves, seen through the dusty window of an estate car. Hope that helps!

We’re coming round for dinner, what are you cooking?

Honey Soy Salmon with rice and roast broccoli - never fails.

‘Slow Puncture’ is out on 21st July via Sad Club Records.

Tags: Symbol Soup, Features, Interviews, Neu, Get to Know

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