Photo by Sarfarez Syed
Story by Bonnie Hyer / Contributing Writer
While most fresh-faced students living on a college campus find themselves struggling to hop from class-to-class and counting down the minutes until the weekend, MTSU students Grant Lepping, Andrew Proffitt, Chad Shealy and Ethan Smith have been hard at work crafting an EP to round out their freshman year.
So Very!, a synth and sample-based dance/pop group who premiered their debut EP, “The Florida Room,” over spring break in Charleston, South Carolina, blossomed as a result of a mutual love of synthesizers. Synthesizers are oscillators that produce saw, triangle, square or other raw sound waves that can be manipulated through twisting knobs to make the desired sound.
“You can do anything you want on a synthesizer,” says Ethan.
The four united one night at MTSU’s quad when Chad and his former roommate ventured out of their dorm for a breath of air. He doesn’t know how he initially made contact with the other boys, but at the time, there was a discordant post-rock band playing. Chad knew he owned a bigger PA system than the one being used and had the idea to do a “noise” show in an attempt to drown out the music. Chad and Ethan grabbed their synths as well as several pedals, while Chad’s roommate and another retrieved a guitar. They then put on a show they now consider to be a great success—despite its silly circumstances—and the industrial-techno jam they played became an early indicator of the sound they would later fine-tune.
Soon after, the boys became inseparable. “It was like the power rangers; our two squads combined,” states Chad. Grant, Andrew and Chad then began working on a new project, and Ethan eventually joined when the boys realized they needed an experienced keyboard player.
After months of dorm sessions and a seemingly endless winter break, the boys set to work writing and recording a full-length set of songs, including their first single, “Macbook Pro,” which was released on Valentine’s Day.
“It [the EP] took us about a month to write and record,” Andrew says.
“It was kind of a slow work, cause we started working on it as we started planning for our very first shows,” says Grant.
Though Chad’s house in Charleston, South Carolina, was the designated place to record and track most of the songs, So Very! recorded bits and pieces all across the Southeast, including MTSU and Ethan’s home in Atlanta, Georgia.
Since the release of the EP, So Very! has primarily focused on recording singles which will be released when the group feels they are truly complete. In the meantime, they are further exploring the sounds they wish to convey to their audience by drawing influence from a broad spectrum of pioneering electronic artists.
“That goes without saying though. It’s like ‘Oh, you’re an electronic band that plays stuff live? You like Talking Heads? Oh, of course,” jokes Chad. “Let’s go through the list: We love Animal Collective, we love LCD Soundsystem, we love Aphex Twin, we love Daft Punk.”
“Also, right now, we are listening to A.A.L. It’s kind of an album compilation from the last 5 years of that DJ,” says Grant. “I showed them that because I thought that direction was something that as a group we were trying to go into more.”
The band is also searching for shows to play in the Nashville metropolitan area. They are proud of the EP’s recording quality but believe the sounds flow much better in a live setting.
So Very!’s one wish is for people to show up and dance. “Our last show was at a bar for cowboys,” recalls Ethan. “And nobody danced,” sighs Andrew.
Their next appearance will be on Earth Day, April 22, at a free show in Nashville.
“You can be our friend, and you can dance if you come to our show. Everyone come to our shows so that you can dance and make us happy. And then we’ll make you happy in return,” Chad states.
So Very! typically puts on shows with as much audience participation as possible, and they enjoy having their friends join them as musical, percussion-playing guests. The band is not selective of where they intend to play their next shows; they strive to perform anywhere people desire to dance. As Ethan remarked about the band’s inclusive aim, “Everywhere, everywhere, everybody. So Very!”
“The Florida Room” is now available on all streaming services, and So Very! is available for contact through their Instagram, @so.very_.
To contact Music Editor Hayden Goodridge, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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