Taste of Chaos post-hardcore band Saosin loves with caution but plays with passion

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Saosin

“Taking our success for granted would be so stupid. We’d all be delivering pizzas right now,” says Saosin bassist/vocalist Chris Sorenson.

The post-hardcore quintet " Sorenson, vocalist Cover Reber, drummer Alex Rodriguez and guitarists/vocalists Beau Burchell and Justin Shekoski " first made waves with its 2003 EP Translating the Name, earning a major-label record deal and a spot on this year’s Taste of Chaos tour.

“I prefer Taste of Chaos [to Warped Tour],” Sorenson says. “It’s easier, it’s indoors and we play around the same time every day.”

“It’s been a long tour, but it’s been really fun.”

The band’s name, pronounced “Say-oh-sin,” references a Chinese proverb meaning “to love with caution.”

Sorenson says the proverb reflects the band’s reluctance to become attached to anything besides music.

“[Music] is really all we have,” he says. “We really have nothing else that we’re attached to.”

With its love of music comes a love for touring.

“Seeing lots of places obviously makes you appreciate where you’re from,” Sorenson says. “But everywhere I go, I always like [the place].

“I really love Quebec City for some reason. We played there two years ago and I thought it was really nice and had a sort of European feel to it. A lot of Canada has a nice European feel, especially Quebec.”

While he’s enjoyed travelling, Sorenson says being an American in a foreign country often causes problems.

“Being an American [overseas] is almost like a curse,” he says. “Places like France, if they know you’re American, they have no problem taking advantage of you.

“We try to embrace our culture, but also at least learn greetings in different languages and learn a little about different cultures before we go there. If you do that, people are more prone to help you out.”

Sorenson says he’s sad bands like Alexisonfire haven’t been embraced by the U.S.

“Alexisonfire are really great musicians,” he says. “They have great vocals, great guitars and they’re great people. But in the States, they don’t get the love.”

Four out five members contribute vocals to Saosin’s 2006 self-titled full-length debut. Sorenson believes this, coupled with Saosin’s variety of musical tastes, is the key to keeping its sound fresh.

“[Having multiple vocalists was]nothing intentional; it’s just the way we think,” he says.

“Luckily, [Shekoski] and I learned how to sing better while doing the record.

“I hate when records sound a certain way and then you go see the band live and the vocals sound completely different.

“I think we’re now pretty comfortable pulling off vocals live. We wanted to have our vocals stand out, and I think we can do that now.”

Sorenson’s love of music is apparent as he discusses the band’s writing process.

“‘You’re Not Alone’ is a softer, more meaningful ballad, started with a harmonic riff almost a year or two ago. Although the chord progressions were interesting, they weren’t strong enough.

“Then, when we were doing pre-production for the record... [the band] took the idea I had for a verse and made it into a large-sounding chorus and from there we started writing the melody for the verses and chords.

“But we didn’t have bridge or a break until right before we started to record. Two nights before [recording], we just started writing out of the blue, adding pianos and stuff. It sounded awesome on the demo. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

Sorenson says Saosin’s switch to a major label hasn’t affected its creative control.

He adds it’s a “common misconception” that signing with a major label means handing over the musical reins.

“It’s not that typical,” Sorenson says. “But we’ve also made it a point to make our personalities known and let [the label know it] can’t get away with that. We have too strong opinions to let someone take creative control.”

Saosin performs at Taste of Chaos in Kitchener tonight and in Toronto tomorrow night.

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