Softer Still, the Surrey four-piece, offer an original version of polished dream pop on their debut album, Nuances.
Following the release of their debut album, SlantedPress caught up with the band’s drummer and producer, Ollie Kitson, to talk about their new music and future plans. “Thematically the album could loosely be described as an exploration of relationship,” Ollie tells me. With their dreamy sound, it’s no surprise the band admit there’s “a certain romanticism and nostalgia there we can’t seem to stop thinking about.” In terms of the album title, the band explain it was Grant (lead vocalist) that came up the name, “we felt this was fitting as it’s often the attention to subtle detail that can be the difference between a masterfully executed artistic expression and a poor one.” If you give the album a listen, you can tell the band are giving it everything they’ve got to fulfil the artistic quality of dream-pop music as best as they can.
Now that Nuances is out for us all to listen to, I ask Ollie what it means to have the debut album finished, finalized and out there for fans. “It’s a really big deal. You only get one debut album as a band, so you’ve got to make it count,” he tells me. “For me it’s the end of a journey I embarked on when I was 16, and the start of a new one. All of this was with the distant dream in mind that maybe one day I’d be able to co-write and record / produce an album with a band. It’s a strange feeling to have been working towards a goal for 15 years and finally realise it.” While Softer Stills’ dreamy pop record creates a warm nostalgic record, the album is very much shaped by artists the band listen to. To find out more, I ask Ollie if he and the band were influenced by other artists when creating this album. “Many. We're a little behind the times though, I guess we're still working our way through the decades, there's just so much good music to get through!” he says, “One notable mention from 2018 would be The Daysleepers – Creation. Other mentions in terms of albums that influenced this album (sorry 2018, we'll get to you soon) would be Choir Boy - Passive With Desire, and Celebrine - Happy Tears.”
Softer Still have brought forward an album that builds itself on relaxing melodies and breezy indie pop, and one of these stand out tracks is ‘A Sadder Sound’. Noticing my interest, Ollie goes on the explain the meaning behind the song. “We don’t want to impose our meaning on to the songs too much. It’s important to us that listeners are free to find their own meaning in our music,” he explains. “I had just come out of a long-term relationship, the album writing process was a bittersweet experience for me, always tinged with a sadness. I was reflecting upon the hopes, desires, sacrifices, needs, and anxieties we all go through.”
Despite the miserable weather, Softer Still are currently on tour across England. I ask Ollie what he enjoys most about touring. “The best thing is the sense of completion it brings to a very long process. Specifically, though it's getting to meet fans and hear that the work we did meant something to them. It's one thing to see the plays going up on streaming, but something else to feel someone's reaction in person.” Yet with only one tour date left, I’m interested to know what Softer Still have in mind for the future, and to no surprise it’s “more music”. By the sounds of things, the band will be in the studio before we know it. “Our best is without a doubt yet to come,” Ollie says optimistically, “The response we’ve had so far has been amazing, and this keeps us inspired to carry on with what we’re doing, but better.” And on that note, we look forward to what Softer Still bring next.