Fresh Finds: SOMME Talks About Going Coast to Coast and Getting Personal on Her Upcoming Debut EP
Photo by Ashley Osborn
LA has been known to raise some of the best names in pop music, so it’s no wonder why many musicians migrate to the West Coast in exploration and determination to flourish. Take the rising indie-pop icon SOMME for example, who spent some time from coast to coast to take her love for pop music and make it a full-fledged career. Now, Jordan Cantor, the genius behind SOMME, has made her nest back on the “Best” Coast, diving into its pop-friendly industry and making her debut with her self-titled EP, which will now be released May 18th via Killphonic.
After dropping three singles ahead of the EP’s release, SOMME has caught the attention of many pop fans and aficionados. The heavily cathartic “Ordinary Fools” had us feeling deep loss and longing, while simultaneously swaying to its catchy, pulsating beat–an infectious combination used by popular artists like Paramore, Lorde, and others. After the debut of her video for “Long Time”, even Nylon had to have a chat with her on what they deemed an LGBTQ love anthem.
Leading up to the highly-anticipated SOMME – EP release, we got to speak with Cantor about her journey to making music in LA, the creation process of the record, and what’s in store for the future of SOMME. You can read the interview below, and check out the Spotify playlist she curated for us, featuring songs that influenced her pop-passion and debut EP.
First off, thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Can you tell us a little about who you are and how you got to where you are now?
Thanks for having me! Well, I was born and raised in San Diego which always felt a little weird. It was incredibly difficult to meet other people that loved pop music growing up. The music scene there was mostly skate/surf punk so I was stoked to move to New York when I finished high school. After living in New York for a short time and deciding it wasn’t for me, I moved to LA and I’ve been here for almost 2 years. I think LA and the people I’ve met here have really shaped me into the artist I am now. And I’ve met so many people that love pop music just as much as I do.
If you had to describe your music in only three words, what would they be?
Dark honest pop.
So, you’ve spent some time following your musical passion both in New York and now in LA. How has your time in each location differed from one another? What is the most significant experience you’ve had that contributed to your career?
In my personal experience I’ve found that it’s easier to fully immerse yourself in pop music in LA. There’s always a show to go to and someone to collaborate with.
Your self-titled EP is set to release mid-May, that must be super exciting! After listening to your latest singles, especially “Long Time” and “Ordinary Fools,” it seems like this is going to be a very personal release for you. Do you feel any pressure with it being your EP debut?
I feel pressure from myself for sure, but the beauty of this EP being my first release is that I kind of have a blank slate with listeners which I think is really rad.
From what we’ve heard with said singles, there’s a theme of longing and uncertainty throughout the songs. Is there a track on the EP that stands out to you as the most personal or the most difficult to bring to fruition? What was the writing process like for you?
The song “Tell Me” is probably the most personal one on the EP but the lyrics came pretty easily. I think the only difficult part about writing the lyrics to that song was allowing myself to be that open. I would keep stopping myself and think “Is this too much? Is it too obvious what this is about?”, but I ultimately realized that it needed to be really clear to the listener what I’m singing about in order for it to have an emotional impact.
What was your experience like bringing the songs into the studio and seeing them come to life? Are there any songs or narratives that didn’t make the cut?
It was really exciting to come into a studio and record the EP. At the time, I was interning for producers Caleb Shreve and Jon Siebels. Once I got comfortable with them I showed them my music and asked if they’d be open to recording me and they said yes. Whenever we had downtime at the studio they’d record me. Because of that, it took a little longer than it may have in another circumstance but I think because it was spaced out it allowed me to sit and process things more.
There are a few songs that didn’t make the cut. I still really like them and maybe they’ll be released in the future but I didn’t feel like they fit the vibe of this EP.
Your songs are stunningly cathartic and somber but still have a unique pop-based sound. Which part of music do you think can be more telling, the lyrics or the instrumentals? How do you think this affects the way you write and present your music?
It’s hard to pick one over the other, I think they go hand and hand. I really like the idea of playing with a dark sound with happy lyrics and vice versa. Paramore did a really amazing job of that on their last record. Lyrically the songs are all about sadness and healing but the music is so fun and dancey. It doesn’t always work but when it does, it does.
For the video debut of “Long Time”, you spoke with Nylon about how there was a focus to round up a solid team of queer-identifying individuals to truly bring the song’s narrative to life. With that, how do you feel the entertainment industry is changing in terms of inclusiveness of queer individuals? How do you feel you can contribute to its progression as an artist?
It’s amazing to see queer artists starting to get the recognition they deserve in the entertainment industry. I think it’s really important for us as queer people to lean on each other and use each other’s talents to help one another out. So I guess my contribution is to work with as many queer people as I possibly can.
Can you tell us a little bit about the songs you chose for your playlist?
“Dancing On My Own” is a song that really changed my life. It made see pop music totally differently. It’s also one of those songs that sonically sounds pretty happy and dancey but when you listen to the lyrics it’s totally heartbreaking. Robyn does a stripped back version of it that made me fully sob.
“Alive” by Sia is a really cool song. Her vocal performance is totally insane and the production is really interesting. The song starts with 3 piano chords and then Sia starts singing and the piano disappears. The bridge also introduces an acoustic guitar that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else in the song.
With the release of your debut EP on the horizon, what’s next? What can we expect from Somme this year?
I’ll be playing lots of shows and hopefully touring soon. I’ve already started writing for my next release as well.
SOMME’s debut self-titled EP will be released May 18th via Killphonic. You can pre-order the album now on iTunes and receive an instant download for “Ordinary Fools”.