SOSA: The modern makings of a 2008 super group
text and photo by TOMMY CALDERON
Very faint mumblings of a haunting sound can be heard in a tucked away overgrown backyard. Unless you pay very close attention, it would be easy to miss. But, in an almost mesmerizing way, it could easily lead you through a side fence, past a couple plastic flamingos teetering to the side in the mid calf high grass, up a small amount of old wooden steps, through a red door and into the lair of Sosa.
The sounds become louder upon entering the room as the band is rehearsing. Two orb lamps and an old crystal chandelier with only a few working bulbs dimly light the space, casting dark shadows in and around all the band members.
What did you just stumble into?
Sosa is a grouping of some of Bellingham’s musical history featuring members of past bands such as Falling Up Stairs, Karate Kitchen, Bright Weapons, Snow Cuts Glass and Go Slowpoke.
As a group that has essentially been a part of Bellingham through different bands for more than 10 years, Sosa is a project that started in 2015 sprouting from the enjoyment of being able to play music, the band said.
Sosa is a nonsensical word to Joe Metzger, the band’s vocalist and guitarist. He decided to use it as the band’s name after getting the sensational and relaxing feeling he got after saying the word slowly to himself out loud, he said.
In this new band, Metzger, took the reins and began the band, writing songs as well as lyrics.
Other members began to join the band bit by bit, these members being, Rodger Brown on drums, Aaron Tapscott on keyboards, Jonathan Sherman on bass and Wes Davis on guitar.
The formation was pretty natural, Brown said.
The base foundation of sound for the group was originally imagined as “a space cowboy vibe,” Metzger said. “Think astronaut with spurs.”
It’s grown to be cinematic the band said. The idea is create an atmosphere and sense of place, they said.
“If you would have described this band to me, I wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with it,” Tapscott said. “After hearing Joe’s songs however, there was no question of if I wanted to do it or not. I love his songs,” Sherman adding, “I second that.”
Metzger moved away from Bellingham before starting the group and lived on the land in California, he said. It was there that he began to write songs that would eventually become Sosa.
Inspired by the stress of extreme drought, wildfires and state of politics in the United States, Metzger crafted his songs from the experiences and thoughts he had while living in California, he said.
“The songs in a way are rooted in the necessity for change,” he said.
Metzger set the foundation for the band and as members were added, everyone worked together in bringing parts and building each song, Davis said.
While they all enjoy playing music, the band made it clear that music wasn’t a priority in any of their lives.
“It feels like it’s something we get to do,” Sherman said. “I’m just happy to be a part of it with these people.”
Davis believes it’s an advantage that it isn’t their whole lives, he said. With families, careers and other priorities playing music is something special they don’t take for granted and is an extra thing to be excited about, Davis said.
With their priorities in the same place the band is very present-minded in their goals, Metzger said.
“We’re looking toward next month, the summer and the EP release,” he said.
In the summer and fall of 2015, the band recorded their EP at Actual Air Studios with Tim Brown. The album took about five sessions to record, Metzger said. During that time, the band experimented with sounds and percussion in hopes of adding more dynamicness to the songs, the band added.
“When we recorded it was important to have some spontaneity and Joe definitely encouraged that,” Tapscott said.
When all was recorded, the band sought out Chris Vita to master the album, Metzger said.
As a band that has had years of experience performing in Bellingham, they encouraged those interested in also taking part in the music scene.
“You just have to jump in,” Tapscott said. “Through meeting people when I first moved here, I was kind of coerced into playing music and I was terrible but it was so much fun and it’s been that way for the past 13 years.”
Davis added that professionalism is also very important in regards to playing music.
“From day one treat those around you as well as the places you perform with respect,” he said. “It makes a huge difference.”
MORE INFO: Catch Sosa July 13 at Western Washington University for their summer concert series and at The Swillery July 22 for their EP release. Find them at sosatheband.bandcamp.com.
Published in the July 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine