The Sonder Bombs
Interview by Sophie Minello
The Sonder Bombs are a Cleveland, Ohio based band who fit perfectly into the genre of 'uke-punk'.
Willow Hawks (ukulele & vocals) and Jimmy Wilkens (guitar & background vocals) formed the band in 2016 and brought in Jake Stephans (bassist) and Eric Heald (drums) later on.
Recently playing Snowed In fest at the Agora Ballroom and recently releasing their new single called "Switzerland", they have bright things ahead of them.
Read our interview with Willow below!
Was the uke-punk genre always part of your music or did it evolve?
Well at first Jimmy and I came up with “uke-punk” as a genre name for the music we made because we had no other way of really describing it. I was writing punk/emo music on such a contradictory instrument for both of those genres and trying to explain it to people who asked “what kind of music do ya make?” was really difficult to do. I started writing on the uke and so I definitely think “uke-punk” was always there, but not fully realized until we became a full band. Jake and Eric are both so creative and we click really well when we write, the elements that they add really bring that genre name to life now!
What does the creative process for your songs look like for you guys?
I usually write the melody and basic rhythm for our songs as the bare skeleton and then I’ll bring it to the guys and we all collab! Leading up to most songs I’ve written, I’ll go through a month of writers-block which can be hard because I have a lot of ideas bouncing around but no way to get em out.
You released a song called “Switzerland” on Friday. Congrats on that, it sounds amazing! What was your inspiration behind this song?
Thanks so much! It’s actually the first song all four of us wrote as a band! We’re pretty stoked on how it turned out! The inspiration came from Jimmy and I being in a really stressful and toxic living situation and also combined with the 2016 election/political climate. We were feeling pretty down and out and I remember us hiding in our room and jamming on that song until like 3am. I’m sure our neighbors hated us lol.
What made you decide it was a good time to release “Switzerland”?
We had a lot of really cool shows lined up and a lot of people asking us about new music. We were also pretty eager to show people the stuff we had been working on as a full band!
Describe your experience in the Ohio music scene.
My personal experience with the music scene in Ohio has been awesome! I mean there is always gonna be that one guy at every show who doesn’t take me seriously because I’m a chick or because I play the ukulele but for the most part, people are pretty open minded. And we also try to play safe spaces as much as possible. I think especially the DIY scene in Ohio is becoming more and more inclusive and supportive of POC and Queer folks which is fucking awesome to see and really important!!
What has been your most memorable live show and why?
For me personally, we played a show this summer at a house in Akron, Ohio with a band called Mom Jeans and a bunch of cool locals. This house was like totally bursting at the seams with people and everyone was really sweaty and cramped but people were still dancing and having a good time with each other, while also being really respectful! That was a really beautiful night!
What’s the craziest/strangest experience you’ve had during a live show?
I once played a show without my pants on. I was having some pretty bad cramps and the pants I was wearing were too tight so I took em off to be more comfortable! Hahah
I really love the album art for your self titled EP. What made you choose that photo for the cover?
Jimmy and I realized once we finished our EP that we needed artwork and we had no idea what we wanted it to look like. That same week we were cleaning around our apartment and found an old photo album of mine and started looking through it and came across that photo. We both had a moment where we looked at each other and without having to say it, we knew this would be the EP cover!
What are you most looking forward to in the new year for the Sonder Bombs? What’s in store?
We’re actually going to be recording our album in early 2018! I think it’s safe to say that we are all really pumped about that. And we plan on playing a crap ton of shows next year!