Choke is out now via Profound Lore Records.
Soft Kill conjures up feelings I can only describe as nostalgic loneliness. And it’s absolutely lovely. Standing on the shoulders of The Cameleons and The Sound, Portland, Oregon’s Soft Kill has been carving out their own chunk of the post-punk revival. Using nothing but non-stop touring and word of mouth, they amassed a formidable following. Created in 2010, Soft Kill now consists of founding member Tobias Sinclair on vocals, Conrad Vollmer (Warm Hands) on guitar and Owen Glendower on synths.
Filled with loss, longing, and addiction, Tobias Sinclair took some time to talk to us about the deeply personal meanings and stories behind their new album.
They recently released their third full-length album, ‘Choke’, through Profound Lore Records. Filled with swirling guitars, reverb-soaked vocals, atmospheric synths, and lyrics that leave you with a heavy heart, it’s a love letter to post-punk. It’s actually such a good love letter, Mark Burgess of The Chameleons decided to contribute vocals on the track On The Inside. But inside that letter, is absolute heartbreak. According to Sinclair, the album is about the death of three very close friends and his past struggles with drug addiction.
Whirl is about my struggles with a normal functioning life, I lived against the grain and above the law for so long that I struggled with any sort of sustained normalcy or an honest life. I used to think that drugs are the main catalyst for this and I realized later on that I was just wired differently.
I was chased down and almost murdered by a group of people on the Southside of Chicago, around the same time I befriended a young kid who had a ton of charisma and showed so much promise in what he could accomplish with his life. I got to know him and his mother quite well and was fairly shocked when he was arrested and charged with the murder of one of the people who tried to take my life two months earlier. Frankie is a beautiful and tragic figure in my life and I am waiting for him to beat his case and come home, this song is for him.
3. Wake Up
When I wrote this song I was going through a very heavy and intense time, I ended up relapsing on crystal meth. A friend of mine who was the only person I was honest with about my drug use would always offer me her bed and room so I could detox and get back on my foot. One night I finally took her up on the offer and woke up in the middle of the night and much to my surprise she was laying next to me. I felt really uncomfortable but oddly at peace and thought about how badly I wanted to reach out and touch her. Later on I found out she had crawled in next to me to make sure I was still breathing while I came down.
4. On The Inside
On The Inside is about feeling trapped in your own head struggling with depression, praying for help and only receiving pain.
Lost has similar subject matter to the rest of the album, its about being an addict and the idea of tomorrow really serving no purpose or holding no weight.
6. I’m Beside You
This song is a love song, about being the victim of John Wayne Gacy. The song offers comfort in that painfully lonely moment, they are not by themselves, I am right there beside them. It’s a mock love song.
This song is about my friend Dominick who hung himself last year, rest in peace.
8. Feel Of The Knife
Feel of The Knife was written years ago, it was the last song with (former member) Shiloe. It’s about being so numb to the world that you can’t feel it anymore, which I think accurately describes where we were at at the time.
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