Emerging out of Madison’s pop/punk scene, I had the privilege of meeting Sam Wirth, David Van Den Brandt and Sam Lyons (missing Spunkus (Ryan) Jansen), who took the time to talk with me about Laundry and their release Soup Girl. Their delicate cohesion as a group was inspirational and had me giggling.
Laundry started when the boys got together as children to create a music sensation. Originally they started as a band called Stereo Color, but they decided to diverge from that pseudonym.
They all have been best of friends since middle school and nurtured each other’s talents throughout high school band competitions. This lead to the formation of the self-described “bedroom-pop” band, Laundry. Inevitably, this also lead to the recording of their first album, Soup Girl, which was released in October 2015.
Soup Girl’s unique aspect is the fact it was recorded live. The band came together to create an organic-sounding album as opposed to tracking and individually recording their instruments. The process only involved overdubbing some vocals and minimal editing.
The purpose of this live rendition reflects Laundry’s mentality as a band — they are a team and they want to play together as such. Recording together as a band reinforces this mentality and adds a personal touch to their music.
Laundry questioned using computers when trying to find an organic sound, saying the “mistakes” in the live recordings add a special touch to the album. Fans have positively noted the cohesion between live performances and the recordings.
“Every time you play a song it’s a little different, so that recording is going to be a little different than when you play live,” Van Den Brandt said. “It’s a different experience compared to playing a track with metronome.”
Soup Girl’s inspiration stems roughly from the rejection of the “cliché love song.” The writing process for the album started with whole-group jam sessions, followed by muffled lyrics from Lyons and an eventual translation of those lyrics from their drummer Jansen.
Lyons detailed how he wanted to sing about soup due to the pattern of sicknesses and colds that infected the band members during their performances.
“I think at least one of us has been sick at every one of our concerts,” Wirth said.
Despite the health hazards, Laundry continues to work on cleaning up their performances for their continuing music career. They are still debating whether the organic, live elements will be included in future releases, but for now, they will still be performing and blending ideas together — just like soup.
When talking about evolution and era, Wirth spoke of a new direction for the band’s sound. One of the songs in Soup Girl happens to be all acoustic, and there may be more exploration of that acoustic sound (as opposed to pop/punk) in the future.
When asked if there were any secrets to be told about Laundry and Soup Girl, Van Den Brandt noted a secret track is on the internet. The track was written when the group members were between 13 and 14 years old. There was instrumentation described as “original” and “old.” I asked where I could find it, but they bit their tongues at that question. Perhaps that’s an invitation to search for their secret treasure ourselves.
Another thing to note is there seems to be a desire for volatility, with Van Den Brandt saying, “Part of me wants to do something a bit traumatically different when we record another album.”
Let’s hope there’s a giant surprise in store for fans in the near future.
Laundry’s future goals include continuing to play and write within the Madison music scene and reaching out to fans. Members each add their own creative perspective to evolve Laundry’s music and sound through writing and revising their craft.
Talking with Laundry showed there are bands with members who use organic cohesion as a strength and let the music do the talking, instead of the other way around.