An Interview with Soda Fabric

Words by Nadia Dar
Photo by Kami Bugnet

Up and coming indie band Soda Fabric has been high on our radar since the release of their last EP, Tears on the Beach, and with their distortion-heavy melodies and lo-fi beachy vibes it’s no surprise why. Having played shows alongside Daniel Johnston and now working with Yuck’s own Max Bloom, this Berlin based band is quickly becoming a crowd favorite. Their full-length debut album Atlantis drops this spring and lucky for us, we got to hear all about it and more from the guys themselves.

Before we get started I’ve got to know, what is the story behind your band name?

The story starts around the 30’s. Shachak’s (our drummer) grandmother had a soda factory in old Czechoslovakia called “Soda Fabrik.” At some point the Nazis took over and shut it down. It turned out that Moosh’s grandma comes from the same area and we decided to name the band after this; but with “c” instead of “k” to keep it special.

You guys were all good friends before becoming a band – what encouraged the idea to form Soda Fabric?

We all played different kinds of music before the band started. Jill played in lots of punk bands, Tamir was more into the funk, Moosh played flute jazz (for real) and Shachak had another rock band. As we got to hang out together more and more as good friends and listen to the same kind of music, we decided to start something in this direction.

Having originally been from Tel Aviv and later on moved to Berlin, what kind of influence has the difference of culture had on your music?

Israel is quite a conservative place, so you get the feeling that you have to make some noise in order to face the hardcore daily life. Berlin is much freer, but here we feel that we have to bring something special in order to make the people notice and listen to us.

The debut album dropping this spring is entitled Atlantis. What is the initial influence behind the name, and why include it under the location in the band’s bio?

Atlantis is the idea of a secret island under the water. This idea influenced our sound a lot. We try to create an ocean wall of guitars and underwater-type vocals. Our lyrics sometimes describe stories around this idea of living underwater, or wanting to escape the daily life to this dreamy place.

What can you tell us about the overall sound of the new album, and how does it compare to your previous EP, Tears on the Beach?

The album contains songs that were written through a long period of time and reflects many sides of the band. Some songs are more open and dreamy, while on others we use a more classic way of building a pop rock song. The EP was recorded a long time ago and shows one side of a band that had just started. We used to be more poppy, tropic, dancing on the beach vibe. We still have some of it today along with many other influences.

Your first single “Bitter Moon” repeats the verse “You don’t have to trust me if you think you’re about to fall” many times throughout the song. What is the significance behind that lyric?

It’s actually “We’re about to fall.” We think that people should interpret the lyrics for themselves. We could try to explain, but don’t think it’s the right thing to do. What it means to you might be different from what it means to us or other people, and we think it should stay that way.

Max Bloom of Yuck took part in mixing this album. What was it like to work with him, and what kind of impact has he had on the band?

We really like his band Yuck, and the sound he created by mixing their first album. It was a pleasure to work with him and it seemed like we both had the same ideas about sound. We didn’t need to talk too much. He seemed to know what to do from the first time he listened to the demos, and you can hear his signature sound on every track. On the track “Bitter Moon” he also created the beautiful ending of the song by using samples he got from the track and creating romantic loops out of them. It was surprising and we liked it a lot. We never told this to anyone!

I’ve noticed many of your songs take on a story-telling aspect. Are these all taken from personal experiences?

Well some of them are real stories that happened to us, while some are totally imaginary and metaphoric. That’s something we want the audience to guess so we won’t have to tell what’s real.

You guys mentioned that the first song you had ever written was actually a rockabilly that you performed quite a bit. What was it called, and do you ever still perform it?

It was in Hebrew and it was called “Al ofanai Medavesh,” which means “peddling on my bicycle.” A nice sunny song talking about looking for a girl to light your fire. We don’t play it live anymore but once in a while we’ll play it at rehearsals for the good old memories.

Playing alongside Daniel Johnston must’ve been a huge moment for you as a band. Tell us about the experience.

True, it was a huge moment indeed. We suddenly found ourselves on stage playing a full length show with this legend that we adore in front of more than 1,000 people. Backstage there were monitors that showed what was going on inside the club. In the beginning it was empty, and at some point we saw hundreds of people coming in and we got a bit stressed. Daniel kept it cool and kept drinking his Mountain Dew and smoking cigarettes. When we went on stage the stress was gone and it was as if we had been playing with him forever. It was a very emotional and exciting experience.

Who else would you love to share the stage with?

We have many idols we would like to play with: Iggy Pop, Anton Newcomb, Robert Smith, Sonic Boom and Jason Pierce (Spaceman 3), The Reed Brothers of JAMC, Kevin Shields, David Bowie, Ian Brown, Kraftwerk, Rami Fortis, Johnny Rotten, Bobby Gillespie and many more. If any of these people read this and want to do it please talk to us.

Last question, up to this point, what has been your favorite show that you’ve ever played live as a band?

We once played a show in the desert. It was a super hot day and we couldn’t sleep the night before because we shared a tiny tent. The combination of the desert atmosphere, the blue sky and the good crowd gave us the chance to fly high and explode on stage. Our dancer, Maya Landsmann went crazy and did some psychic tribal dance and we all felt like we were taking the crowd on a special journey.

Find Soda Fabric on iTunes, and keep an ear out for Atlantis, which drops this spring… | Bitter Moon