Soggie is a duo from Apex, North Carolina. The group is composed of Ace Kim (18) and Bobby Cnare (19) Soggie’s genres include, indie rock, pop punk, and some grunge influences. They released their debut album in May of 2020, which has garnered them a small but motivated fan base.
- Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got Soggie started?
Soggie: We started out in Apex, North Carolina! Apex is a small town maybe 20 minutes outside of Raleigh and it is a true suburban paradise. We met in 2014 and have been best friends ever since. Before Soggie got started, we were going to separate colleges and writing music on our own. We started writing and recording what we call the “college demos” and sending them back and forth to each other. Eventually, we decided to pair up and make Soggie our new project and it’s been a wild ride ever since!
- Where does the name “Soggie” come from?
Soggie: Originally, we thought the band name was going to be “Coward!”. We wanted something weird, short and memorable. Unfortunately, multiple artists had taken the name and we didn’t want to be another artist with the same name as others, we wanted to stand out! We started kicking around band names like “Rubber Coward” or “Burning Cowards”. Finally, we landed on “Soggy Coward”. We actually enjoyed the word “soggy” more than “coward”. Soggy was a good fit, but it still didn’t have the memorable or weird take we were going for. We changed the “y” in soggy to “ie” making it “Soggie”!
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
Ace: When I was little I had little to no interest in music and mostly just focused on other art forms like drawing and crappy animations. My brothers were both really into rock music but it never caught my attention until I was older. Later in my childhood my parents took me and my brothers to see a live performance of “The Phantom of the Opera” and that fully changed everything for me because I had no idea that you could tell a story in such a powerful way using music. I listened to a lot of other musicals, which eventually transitioned into me trying out the music my brothers were listening to. I haven’t been able to get music to stop bouncing around inside my head ever since.
Bobby: I remember when I was a kid, my dad always had classic rock CDs in his car and would play them all the time. Rush, Chicago, Van Halen, Bon Jovi. But the one that was his all-time favorite was Journey. Every time we went somewhere, Journey would always be playing! It was the first time I had ever seen someone “fangirl” over a band before, and since my dad fangirled over Journey, I did as well. To be honest, I still do. Journey is so famous for a reason after all!
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
Soggie: I think our main goal as a band is to make sure that as many people are comforted when listening to our music as possible. When we released our first album, we got this one review that called us a “comforting cup of sadness”. We loved the review and ran with it! Everyone goes through hard times at some point and we prioritize making sure that the listener does not feel like they are alone. We put a lot of emotion into our songs and it’s really nice that we even have people who listen to us at all!
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development and the transition towards your own style?
Soggie: We really try our best to create a melting pot of different sounds from our favorite pieces of music and art. I’d say while we were both learning to create music, a lot of the process was listening to songs and saying “wow! that sounds great! How did they do that??”, and then trying to figure it out and improve upon it. Once we actually started writing the music we wanted to write, a lot of our time was spent editing song demos, changing a single chord to try and Frankenstein it into our own sound and then seeing how else we could push the scale and make our music sound as big as possible.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Ace: I think that it really just depends on what you’re trying to say through your art, as well as how well you execute it. Music can really function in any way you want it to, if you can bend it the right way. I usually don’t find myself writing about many spiritual, cultural, or political topics – not because I don’t think that these should be written about, but because these topics just aren’t on my mind most of the time. I try not to get too specific on the topic that I’m writing about, but rather the feeling that correlates with it. This way, it resonates with more people and might comfort those in need.
Bobby: In these very divided times, a lot of political views are making its way into music. It certainly is interesting to see the world speak up about such vital and important issues. However, I think that if you put something that SHOULD only be a temporary problem, the music can become dated and become hard to relate to years down the line. An example is writing a song about being in quarantine due to coronavirus. Music should be timeless, in my opinion. When it comes to cultural or spiritual music, I haven’t really explored that side of myself! It seems difficult to write a spiritual album or song without sounding repetitive, so I have immense respect to those who can.
- Do you ever write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply focus on your own personal vision and trust that people will empathize with your sound?
Soggie: If you listen to Soggie, the last thing you will hear in the music is a current trend. However, we always will throw in a more poppy song or two on albums just so that we can hit a larger audience and potentially draw more people in. We still write it the best we can. We always put 100% into every song we release. When it comes to the majority of the non-poppy songs, that is where you will truly hear Soggie.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do you start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Who usually does what, between the two of you?
Ace: Songs usually present themselves to me in strange ways like when I can’t sleep, or when I’m in the middle of a sentence. After a while, the melodies almost begin to write themselves, but for me this takes a long time. I piece together these ideas like a puzzle, and eventually it turns into a somewhat coherent song. It’so rare that I have all the lyrics written by the time the demo is recorded. Usually if I can’t think up a lyric that fits, I have to wait until it pops into my head on its own, which can sometimes take days/months. While I’m recording these ideas, I usually send them over to Bobby to see what he thinks, and what can be improved upon.
Bobby: Music can just kind of hit you in the strangest way. You can just be doing literally anything and a melody will just slap you across the face. Before you know it, you have a whole song! I really only like to write when it just kind of “flows” through and feels natural to write. Anything where I sit down and think of what to write comes out just so forced and unoriginal. Ace and I always end up tweaking each other’s songs to some degree. Whether that be a guitar lead, a bass riff or even a cymbal hit, we always collaborate on everything.
- Where do you record, produce and master most of your work? And do you outsource any of these processes or are you totally self-sufficient technically?
Soggie: For all of our published music as of right now, we have written, recorded and mastered all of the music by ourselves in Ace’s bedroom on Garageband. We really like having full creative control of our songs, and don’t love the idea of being on a strict schedule where we might miss an opportunity to go back on an idea that we dislike. We would love to record in a studio, and we’re actually communicating with one right now to potentially record our next album in. Our main goal is to be able to increase the production quality of our sound, while still maintaining the creative integrity of our upcoming projects. We love the fact that we can just spontaneously decide to insert a stupid 80’s song into an album if we want to, and don’t want to lose that.
- I know you’ve just started out, but what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point for Soggie so far?
Soggie: I think our most significant point so far was signing to How’s The Pie? Records! It has always been a lifelong dream of ours to get picked up by a team of people who trust in our music. Another big milestone for our career was when we hit 100k streams on our debut album “Tableau”. That was really crazy because the album had been released for less than a month when it accumulated that many streams! We celebrated by drinking an entire case of coke and eating dino chicken nuggets. That’s not even a joke.
- You’ve been creating some buzz on TikTok. Could you tell us more about these endeavors?
Bobby: TikTok is no doubt the biggest app in the world right now and it’s a great place for bands to promote themselves because people are always looking for new music! I’ve posted a few videos about Soggie, but the most successful one got over 30k views and 10k likes on TikTok (which I think is technically viral? I’m not sure). We’ve also gotten in contact with other bands who may have us open for them on tours which is super cool! TikTok is definitely a key factor in Soggie’s small, but effective success
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
Ace: We’ve definitely had our share of people who are not huge fans of our band, but I think that one good comment can overshadow a thousand negative ones. I personally try not to pay attention much to that kind of thing, mostly because I have trouble processing the fact that people are listening to our music at all. The fact that our art can influence people in any way is very important to Bobby and I. Either way, getting booed online would definitely be better than getting booed off stage.
- Which aspects of being an independent artist excites you most and which aspects discourages you most?
Ace: Bobby and I both love the idea of having the whole Soggie brand at our fingertips, because that means that all of the decisions being made have to be run by us, and all the creative decisions are our own. The thing that I would say discourages us the most is when we feel overwhelmed or bogged down by the more business-like tasks. We’re both awful at staying focused on one thing for extended periods of time, so this can be a bit draining. Luckily we have our lovely manager Connor to help us with this!! Love you Connor.
Bobby: The first thing that comes to mind is that you have full creative control, no deadlines and all the money you make is in your name completely and no one else’s. However, marketing can be really difficult when you don’t have other people helping you. The time you need to spend promoting and marketing the album should be about the same you spent recording and writing the album. It’s so vital because if you don’t market it, then who is going to listen to it?
- If someone has never heard Soggie, which 5 keywords would you personally use to describe what the duo and the music is all about?
Soggie: Blue, Pink, Energetic, Emotional, Cola
- Could you tell us something about your latest project, and its impact on fans?
Soggie: Our latest project, Tennis For Boys, was our last EP before we went into hibernation to work on the next album. Currently, the entire EP has made it into our top 5 songs on Spotify! I would say that it was a success for the most part, and gives the listener a taste of our progressing sound. I think in “TFB”, we really shed a light on “comforting pain”. A lot of our fans really enjoyed that and said that we had even topped some songs off of “Tableau”, and that they were excited, more than ever, to hear the next album!
- Do you have a personal favorite track amongst your compositions that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?
Ace: One of my favorites that we’ve written is our song “Hark” off Tableau. This song took us forever to write, and was one of the first songs that we did together as a band. I wrote many of the parts for this song through the course of about two years very slowly. I think it really helped us develop our style and opened new doors for us. The song changes rhythm several times and incorporates a lot of energy and charisma into the album. The meaning behind the song is loosely based off of the idea of feeling trapped in a certain situation or path, and feeling afraid to try and branch off into other things such as a band with your red haired best friend.
Bobby: I think one of our catchier songs “Telly” has a really funny backstory to it. The first line in the chorus goes like, “it was something on the TV, that had me feeling lonely”. That line came to be when I was literally just watching TV and I saw two people kiss on screen. I then said out loud to myself “Wow, I feel lonely”. As previously discussed, a melody just slapped me across the face and it’s one of my favorite songs to sing now!
- Creative work in a studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most and why?
Ace: I really love working creatively in a studio environment of any kind. Whether it be with visual art, music, or anything else, I really love the idea of bouncing ideas back and forth with other people and creating something you can be proud of, or at least try to be. I love live audiences, but I often get far too nervous to really take in the moment when I’m on the spot like that.
Bobby: For me, I love interacting with a live audience of any caliber. That can be a live stream, but preferably an in person audience. I’ve always been a people person and I enjoy meeting new people! Everyone has such a different mindset and opinions on so many different topics! I also love to talk in general! It’s relaxing to me.
- How essential do you think visuals are in relation to your music? Do you have a video you would suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your craft?
Soggie: We find visuals extremely important in correlation with our music and sound. We even tried to develop an established color theme between the two of us before our first single was ever released. Visual art and music go hand and hand. Music can give a piece of art a wider range of context and room for interpretation, and vice versa. If possible, we always try and get the cover art made before we finish/start writing because we love to have the art piece around to draw inspiration from. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we haven’t really been able to make any videos to keep us and those around us safe, but we are looking into it for the hopefully near future!
- Do you have a favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Ace: Both of my parents have always been so supportive of every creative endeavor that I’ve done. My mom has always said that “releasing your art and feelings into the world is one of the bravest things you can do”, which has really stuck with me. I often try to think about that before I criticize another artist too harshly. They’re just trying to express themselves and let others in on that process.
Bobby: I always live by that Bob Ross quote, “Gotta have opposites, light and dark and dark and light, in painting. It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.”
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Ace: I find it extremely rewarding to layer the tracks of a song on top of one another and hear them all come together. I’d love to learn to master tracks and get better with producing in the future so we can record all of our albums ourselves. That would be great!
Bobby: I love it when people text me and tell me that Soggie helped them get through a rough patch in their life. It’s literally why I make music. No specific vision for the moment, I’m just going to enjoy the ride! Truly, I don’t do it for the fame or the money, I think everyone needs help somewhere. I just want Soggie playing in the background while people figure themselves out. Life is just so weird, ya know?