Sobriquet rocks the South 40
This past weekend, many students heard Augustana play on the Swamp at WUStock and learned from Team 31 that the Cold War Kids and Shwayze will be performing at this spring’s W.I.L.D. But in the midst of these big names was another lesser-known group waiting for their few minutes of fame.
Freshman band Sobriquet opened for Augustana this weekend and hopes to continue peforming at Washington University functions in the future. The group treated students to original songs and covers such as Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” The group’s members include Kevin Kaifer, Sarah Roth, David Drucker, Matt Monson and Nick Justin.
The five formed Sobriquet at LollapaWUza in the fall. Organized by David Drucker, LollapaWUza was a concert for freshmen musicians. After meeting each other on campus through a mutual friend, Kaifer and Roth began harmonizing and entered LollapaWUza as a duo. Voted the best act at the show, the pair was invited to open at WUStock. Drucker, Monson and Justin then joined the pair to complete Sobriquet. With four of the members having played in bands in high school, the group is not new to musical collaboration. But Sobriquet did have its first public show at WUStock.
Kaifer describes his music as “meant to be processed” because “all the parts in my songs are very specific and meant to be played exactly the same every time.” Roth, on the other hand, says her music “ranges from acoustic to folksy and from electronic to ambient.”
Roth and Kaifer, the band’s violinist and guitarist, respectively, write all of Sobriquet’s original music. According to Kaifer, Roth’s violin (somewhat unusual in the midst of the group’s more typical instruments) “adds a harmonic edge to the group.” Monson plays bass with Justin on the drums and Drucker on the piano.
Kaifer says the group is able to give a “rock edge to pop-based songs” like “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. Sobriquet’s balance of acoustic covers, indie-based jam music and mainstream pop sounds make it hard to assign the group a specific genre. While the band may not have a clear sound or even an agreed-upon name (the band originally toyed with the name Hook, Line and Skinker—a local twist on a classic phrase), the members’ love of music and passion for musical experimentation is evident.
Drucker feels that the group is a “unique student band because everyone in Sobriquet is just incredibly talented. You can’t say enough about them.”
Roth’s Spanish lyrics are inspired by “a branch of Jewish mysticism that integrates Hebrew and Spanish for a Latin-American/Hebrew fusion.”
“This style,” Roth said, “speaks to me as a style of songwriting and connecting to music on a spiritual level. More so than English or Hebrew.”
Kaifer aims “to tell listeners something in songs that I wouldn’t tell them in person.” According to Kaifer, collaboration helps his “songs have an element I never would have added.” The group is still in the process of planning its future endeavors. There may be a show at the co-op before the end of the semester, and Drucker says, “I’d love to be able to get a demo CD recorded with all of our original tracks.” But hopefully, whatever Sobriquet pursues in the future will keep Wash. U. students falling for them—hook, line and Skinker.