Ahead of their Australian national tour, Cameron Boucher of American emo band Sorority Noise discusses the cathartic nature of performing live and how he finds the non-stop life of touring hard to come down from. Anthony Carew finds out more.
Cameron Boucher is looking forward to Sorority Noise’s debut Australian tour, for an unexpected reason. “I’m excited to see icy poles,” the 24-year-old frontman enthuses, citing conversations with an Australian friend as sparking the anticipation. “I’m pretty sure they’re just going to be the same thing that I call a popsicle, but I want to see it with my own eyes.”
When Sorority Noise are on local stages, though, Boucher won’t see much. “I close my eyes the whole time we play, because I get pretty nervous, so I don’t see much of anything,” he laughs. “It’s the only time that my head is wholly focused on something, that I’m just fully consumed with something else. When we’re playing music, it’s the one moment of my day when I’m not just completely swamped by my own thoughts. It can be cathartic, just lose yourself in playing. One time I asked my mom: ‘Mom, when was the last time you just screamed?’ And she was like… ‘I have no idea!’ And I was like, ‘I get to yell, all the time’. It’s so therapeutic to me.”
Boucher is speaking from the studio he built along with members of Modern Baseball, above a metalworkshop in Philadelphia, having spent the whole day watching Saves The Day rehearse. After plenty of touring behind the freshly-pressed third Sorority Noise LP, You’re Not As _____ As You Think, he’s on a brief break, struggling to deal with downtime. “I can’t stop,” he says. “It’s hard for me to stop doing this. When you’re touring, it’s an aggressive lifestyle. You’re pretty much working 24 hours a day, [because] you’re always on call.”
Where his “best friend and roommate”, Brendan Lukens of Modern Baseball, will return home from tour and flop “on the couch for two weeks watching Netflix”, Boucher immediately throws himself into writing new songs, recording, going to shows. “I don’t need -or want- to totally decompress,” he says.
Boucher, who does all the driving when the band are on tour in the US, will confess to being a control freak. So, on You’re Not As _____ As You Think, he challenged himself to relinquish some control; working with Brand New’s producer Mike Sapone after self-producing every previous record he’d made. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been able to let go, and trust someone else with something I’m a part of,” he admits.
On You’re Not As _____ As You Think, Boucher is, as ever, frank and confessional, the from-an-open-wound lyrics dealing with grief, depression, suicide, God. “I never think ‘this is something I want to write a song about’,” Boucher offers. “It’s more that I’ll enter this kind of ‘being’ space, where I’ll hear a whole song in my head, and I’ll try and put it on paper. Sometimes, I’ll lose them before I do, and they’ll disappear forever; and that’s fine. But, sometimes, I’ll be able to grab them, and they’ll end up on an album. And then they’re what we’re working with, and they become a part of my life.”
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Photo: Pat Nolan