Interview:Soft Kill’s Tobias Sinclair, a slice of his interior world

[Beto Sigala]

Before crashing in Guadalajara’s Anexo Independencia, we had the chance to talk virtually with Tobias Sinclair, the frontman of Soft Kill, one of the most interesting postpunk acts from the US. He seems to be like a Zen man, trying to avoid all the noise from the outside, and always paying attention to the beautyness of the world. He shares some of his particular point of view about his music and current independent music world.

Choke’ is a very intense music album, it was my first touch with your sound and the way many people involved with your music. What’s the main difference between ‘Choke’ and your latest release “Savior”?
Honestly, “Choke” is a collection of songs with no real cohesive narrative. “Savior” is a story in ten parts. I guess each song is a scene of a movie that doesn’t exist. There’s depth to the lyrics on “Choke” but there’s also a song or two about nothing. Every single word on “Savior” I felt and lived.

Savior – Soft Kill (2018)

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live take us into a swirl of emotions, most of your lyrics are dark feellings, and maybe is more natural for contemporary artists to write about sadness. Do you consider yourselves pesimistics?
Absolutely not. The main thing that sets our subject matter part is most of it is about dealing with the consequences of actions, not navigating through mindless depression. I think the world is a fairly beautiful place and enjoy most days from start to finish. I’ve had a very hard life but besides a few things that scarred me during my youth, it was primarily a result of a path I took that went hand in hand with succumbing to addiction.

I felt that 2017 and 2018 were outstanding years in postpunk/darkwave in the US West Coast. Do you feel part of a movement, do you pay attention of similar bands,do you share interests with other musicians in you area?
I’m sure this will be perceived as negative but no, I really don’t. Most of what interests me on a personal level is fairly unorthodox comparatively, and I’ve gotten a lot of flack from fans and peers trying to understand why I’d rather watch basketball than hang out in graveyards. Personally I don’t feel defined by my music or forced to adhere to stereotypes be it aesthetic or otherwise. Being at peace with who I am and removed from what people expect is something I have a little pride in haha but mostly I just ignore all that bullshit and just create what feels right, leaving the scene politics to the circus.

We tend to revere the music from the past, it’s 2019 and the classic postpunk bands never lose their force and their influence. How do you think the revival that is going on right now, will be seen in a decade from now?
I think about this sometimes. I wonder if bands I know will be getting paid decent amounts of money to reunite and tour certain markets. It’s hard to know if something timeless without allowing time to pass and show us haha. There are definitely a few bands I think will still be adored, possibly more so then than now, and from personal experience I can say that a record I made eight years ago is loved by such a bigger and diverse audience than I ever imagined. It’s definitely possible that new people will keep finding, loving and spreading this music around.

For independent mexican bands it’s always struggling and surviving, but how is you experience? What means to make music in this world with so many artists, with so many ways of promoting your music, and also with all the information that stimulates the human being?
True peace internally and my best possible output comes from ignoring a lot of what’s going on around me and just doing what sounds good. The music business, scene politics and all that are no longer for me. I spent years obsessed with what people I didn’t know thought. I can say this: there are simple steps to living off what you do and not letting it be corrupted by anything that feels less than pure. Ask me person if you’re curious about that haha.

You have a great amount of listeners in this country, Is there anything in particular that you look for in this tour around Mexico?
Seeing more of the country and spending time with everyone who comes out to see us. Mexico City last year was one of our favorite shows ever, just full of love. Just excited to feel some of that again and share our songs with more people.

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