Taught by members of The Flaming Lips and best budz with Denver’s Tyto Alba, Oklahoma City’s The So Help Me’s are rolling through Denver this weekend for a performance at The Underground Music Showcase. Slated for a 2PM set Saturday, July 29th at the Hi-Dive, this neo western shoegaze five-piece plan to shower you with plenty of dream pop and existential rock tunes. We recently chatted with the crew to talk about their trek here and all things summer. Read on:
We noticed you came together in 2014 at the Flaming Lips’ Academy of Contemporary Music in OKC. Talk to us about that experience.
John, our guitarist and main songwriter, was studying music education and jazz at the University of Central Oklahoma, along with three of our other members. We wanted to step out and start writing our own music, and The So Help Me’s really developed in garages and living rooms between college orchestra and jazz ensemble rehearsals. In these spaces, we felt free to write weird music and explore sounds and compositions in a way we couldn't in our school ensembles.
When John transferred to the Academy of Contemporary Music for music business, we were just starting to establish ourselves as a band, and the school welcomed us with open arms. It was really crazy to learn from members of the Lips. We look up to them a lot and it’s an amazing opportunity to get to learn from a band we grew up listening to and really love. It’s almost impossible for me to see our band without the school. It’s a really tight group of world-class musicians and artists there, and everyone’s pushing for each other. There’s a beautiful thing happening in OKC.
Since your inception, you’ve released an EP, 'Relativity' (2016). What are your plans for future recording/releases?
We are putting out a single in the next month, as well as finishing an EP. We’re also in pre-production on a full-length album slated for release at the end of the year.
Listen to The So Help Me's Relativity:
We noticed you’ve had a couple of festival spots this summer. Tell us about those!
This year’s spring festival season in Oklahoma was bananas. We normally play 3-5 festivals in the spring, and this year we were rained out of three in a row because the weather in Oklahoma sucks. At one of the festivals we did play, some dude wandered onstage menacingly and looked like he was going to stab our singer Sophia. This dude got escorted off the stage by security and we were not even halfway through our set.
Whoa. What should Denver know about the OKC music scene?
OKC had a big influx of money due to Thunder basketball and some people are saying the city is going through a sort of renaissance. This being said, it still seems pretty evident to bands that you can't sustain a career in OKC. We know a lot of bands who have relocated, or focus a lot of their time and efforts on touring out of state, and it’s hard to blame them. Even the Lips only play in OKC once every five years or so.
We know you’re friends with Denver’s Tyto Alba- how’d you meet?
I think Tyto Alba were touring through to SXSW and we ended up being booked to play with them twice in one week somehow. They have this huge wall of sound guitar tone that blew us away. We hit it off immediately and became close friends- since then we've played several shows with them in Denver and had them out to OKC. Our personalities vibe well, and we all share a really intense passion for guitar pedals and making music.
Cool. We’re excited you’re playing Denver’s The UMS! What are you most looking forward to about the festival?
We’re most looking forward to the weather not being a hundred billion degrees like it is in July in OKC. We’re excited to see Tyto Alba, Male Blonding, and The Velveteers play specifically, and we all plan on seeing as much music as possible. Huge festivals like this are amazing because you can walk a few blocks and see different genres and different bands everywhere you look. It’s a beautiful thing to have that many people together who share a common love for playing and listening to music.
Anything else in store for The So Help Me’s in 2017?
We plan on touring regionally several times in the middle of recording our album, and we have shows and festivals booked through at least November, so we’re definitely charging ahead full force.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.