Chillin’ with Club Sofa

Indie jazz pop band discusses ‘chilling’ and the making of their new album

CARLIN PARKIN //CONTRIBUTOR

Kicking back with friends can often result in group ideas that seem bright in the moment but end up proving otherwise. However, on occasion, kicking back produces something kickass, which was the case for Vancouver-based band, Club Sofa. What seemed like just another day of hanging out with friends, ended in bringing second-year CapU Jazz Studies program students Dominique Halberg (lead guitar), Payton Hansen (vocals and rhythm guitar), Jess Jones (drums) together with off-campus bassist Jasmine Carlin, to form the band Club Sofa.

“One day Jasmine and I were just hanging out, and Jasmine said, ‘Oh, I want to learn how to play bass’ and I said, ‘Oh, I can teach you how to play bass’,” Jones recalled. “We started jamming with Payton and we just did covers and then we got a gig. We paniccalled Dom [lead guitarist Dominique Hallberg], and then panic practiced for two weeks, and then that was the birth of Club Sofa.”

As for the origin of their name, Carlin presented the band with a list of names on her phone, and after passing over the tempting option of “Slug Moms,” they settled on their final name. “It’s like a play on club soda, but it implies that all we do is chill, which is true,” said Hallberg.

Photo c/o Matthew Okuda

The four artists have been able to carve out a name for themselves in a short amount of time, and while in the midst of their chilling they’re booking large amounts of shows. Since starting the band last April, they’ve gotten  consistent gig offers with a few of their friends in the robust local scene, notably the bands Peach Pit, Winona Forever, Schwey, Dante’s Paradise and Wax Cowboy. Having played several shows last August, which they felt were too many; they were prompted to cut down on performances to make time for schoolwork and recording an album.

When asked to describe their sound, brainstorming yielded the following genre: indie pop, jazz, “with a question mark at the end,” added Jones. The group got their start by playing punk covers from Bikini Kill and The Stooges, and that influence is evident in one of the early tracks on their Bandcamp page called “cool 4 me”. In time, their style gravitated to more of an indie sound with jazz elements, which their upcoming album will further explore.

Jones characterized Club Sofa’s collaborative songwriting style as “tossing things around,” however it usually begins with Hansen or Jones composing a foundation of chords. From there tweaks are made to the order and the rhythm until they’re both satisfied. They’ll then write a bass part for Carlin,  though she’s prone to surprise the group with her own embellishments. Lyrics are then written by Hansen while Hallberg crafts a lead guitar part. Lastly, Jones will get behind the drums and the four will continue to make changes until the full song has coalesced.

“When I bring something to the group, I want people to change it. I don’t want to bring something to the group and have them be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s great!’ It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I want it to be changed,” said Hansen.

Currently the band is hard at work on their first album and music video. Upon its release, the group will be looking to see what comes of it as they note that they’re open to the idea of playing in Club Sofa as a career. “We all obviously have rational careers in mind but it’s one of those things that if you’re in a band and you’re studying music in school, it’s in the back of your mind. If we were offered to go on tour forever, would I do it? Probably,” said Jones. Until that moment, however, Club Sofa is content with playing shows, writing solid music and chilling.

Club Sofa will be playing on Feb. 3 at The Roxy, and Feb. 15 at Fox Cabaret. To check out their music and get more details at Facebook.com/clubsofaband/.

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