By Ellen Eldridge.
After a three-year absence from performing, the four current members of Sovus Radio — Ty Thompson, Jay Royals, Chris Kaufmann and Spencer Pope — answered some questions about their return to playing shows locally in Atlanta. The guys discuss what they have each been up to during the hiatus, why they chose The EARL for their comeback (on January 14), and their plans for possibly releasing a full-length album in the future.
What are Sovus Radio’s origins?
Ty Thompson: We started out as an entirely different group of guys all with very different goals regarding music and other stuff. One by one, and in a revolving door fashion, members quit until we landed the lineup that has existed for the past five years. It was initially my idea to be a “pop” band in the vein of mid to late ’60s pop. I think early Pink Floyd and Velvet Underground were the first points of common ground. I know I tried to arrange the songs in similar ways to those bands, but, at the core, it didn’t matter what we tried to do because something more unique than our initial goal kept coming out of it.
Why did you break up?
Spencer Pope: We didn’t really break up as much as up and take a break. Ty and I had to work out some stuff in our lives and Sovus wasn’t going to be a part of that.
TT: What Spencer said is true. We didn’t break up; this isn’t a reunion. We’re four friends who haven’t quite had enough of each other yet.
What have you each been doing during the three year hiatus?
Chris Kaufmann: I’ve been lurking around Atlanta playing in local bands like The NEC and Gringo Star.
SP: I went on a six-month road trip with my wife, and have been playing a bunch of music.
TT: A lot has happened. I overdosed and pretty much died, had a spiritual experience and joined a black church, fell in love, started a new band and wrote songs, and I’m going to school to be a pharmacist. Trust me?
Jay Royals: I took a break from playing music altogether for a short while, then joined up with The NEC. It was quite an enjoyable experience, especially since Chris was also playing in the band. It got to the point where it was too difficult for me to tour AND work a regular job, so The NEC and I cordially went our separate ways. I still work the same job and have recently gotten married.
How did you decide to get back together?
SP: We’ve been wanting to play another show for a while. We got together in Savannah a few months ago and it went really well.
TT: I don’t know. I don’t think we are back together. Spencer and I kept in touch the whole time off and he kept mentioning it. I think I cried and laughed at the same time the first time he mentioned an actual date. I’m playing this show because I feel like I’m fucked up on some drug that hasn’t even been invented yet and doesn’t have any negative effects when I play music with the other three guys.
JR: Each of us wanted it to happen. It was just a question of when, where, and how.
What do you think about the music scene in Atlanta?
CK: It’s great. It’s been cool to see older bands find a lot of success and newer, young kids coming up through the ranks. I’m really excited about the new records by the Balkans and All The Saints.
JR: There are some really, really fantastic bands in Atlanta right now. It’s great to see them getting some attention; I think it’s been a long time coming. All The Saints is one of my favorite bands of all time. Knowing they’re from Atlanta makes me proud to be part of the same group of musicians.
What types of clubs/venues do you most enjoying playing?
CK: The ones that feed you.
SP: In general, I prefer smaller venues with a cool staff and good sound.
JR: Ones with good parking. Seriously.
Why did Sovus Radio choose The EARL for its reunion show and do you have other venues booked for a current tour?
SP: The EARL seemed like a good, classy spot with good sound, good monitors, good food, and good people. January 14 is our only show at the moment, though we would probably like to do a few shows a year as schedules permit
TT: Old Lenny’s is long gone, so The EARL was second choice. They’ve always been cool to us; they’ve always had a sound guy that didn’t suck.
JR: We’ve always enjoyed playing The EARL. As Ty and Spencer said, the staff is great, and I, for one, feel we usually sounded our best there. And they have decent parking. No tour plans to speak of, but I like Spencer’s idea of a few shows a year here and there.
Tell me about plans for releasing your full-length album
SP: Well, about that: It’s been done for years, we just don’t really have an efficient way to release it. Recorded, mastered, art work formatted, copyrights, etc. Oh well. We really would like to record our next album at this point. Maybe we’ll release them both at once.
TT: I like Spencer’s idea on this also. My biggest goal with Sovus Radio is to find a way to cheaply make a second full-length that sonically sounds like it came before the first full length, but feels like it came after the end of the world.
JR: I hope we DO get to do some sort of release. As Spencer said, it’s BEEN done, we just haven’t had a way to release it.
Sovus Radio play The EARL with All The Saints and The NEC on January 14.