A few weeks ago, I sat down with Katie and Parker of Underground Sound Society at the Nashville coffee shop Bongo Java. There’s not much that I can tell you about the band that’s not already featured in the interview, but I will say that they love Toto’s “Africa.” And the genre of music that they create is called “super human swag monster.” This is a band that has put their all into creating a great EP for the fans and you will not be disappointed.
MusicDash: What originally drew you guys to Nashville?
Parker Van Der Hyde: Well, when I was a high school student I had a few different choices of where my life was gonna go. I was either going to go to [the College of] William and Mary and become a History guy or I was going to go to the University of Miami and do whatever you do there. Or, I was like “well, I play music occasionally sometimes” and then my jazz band teacher was like “bro, have you heard of Belmont University” and I was like “nah dude.” So then I checked it out. I went on the internet and then I visited and the craziest thing that I saw, it was a Saturday, and there were people up doing stuff at 8:00 in the morning. That’s the thing I noticed. When I visited Miami, not at all. Everybody was asleep on Saturday at 8:00 AM and at Belmont people were out doing stuff. Well that’s Belmont and Belmont is in Nashville.
Katie Pruitt: I went to community college in Athens, Georgia for two years because I was just a terrible student in high school. I didn’t go really my entire senior year because all I was doing was playing music with my friends. I was like “what the heck am I going to do with my life. I know that I want to do music” so I went to community college for two years and played in a folk band in Athens. I realized that I loved being on stage with a band. And then toward Belmont I was like “this is my goal. This is what I want to do.” So I came here and transferred in last year and met these dudes.
Parker Van Der Hyde: I’m sort of discovering that I just got super lucky because Nashville is the focal point of a lot of neat things in regards to music. This summer I went to New York City twice. I didn’t go to LA but I went to San Diego which is as close as I want to get. In both of those cities there were like a billion bands and just a trillion million people packed into a tiny little space. Everything’s expensive, everything’s very cutthroat and scary and here I’d say that you have at least the same amount of opportunities if not more. I mean, we have all of the studios, we have all the gear. Everything’s 1/3 of the price and everybody’s 10x nicer. Nashville is the bee’s knees in short.
MusicDash: What’s been your favorite show that you’ve seen in Nashville?
Katie Pruitt: My Morning Jacket at the Amphitheater this summer, that blew me away. It honestly changed my writing style. I wasn’t really into My Morning Jacket that much and then I saw them and I was like “okay, Jim James is my hero.”
Parker Van Der Hyde: This is going to be weird. I’m kind of weird when it comes to music but like Trampled By Turtles. I saw them at Live on the Green two years ago. It was my freshman year and it was like “these other bands are cool and that’s alright” but Trampled By Turtles was just nuts. That’s like the sixth time I’ve seen them. They shred face to the max. As much as a bluegrass player can shred face, that’s what they do. Also The Wailers. I’m also a huge reggae fan. So that’s obviously 100% of the time going to be sick. Yeah, that was pretty amazing.
MusicDash: How did you guys meet and come together as a band?
Katie Pruitt: Oh, this is one hell of a story.
Parker Van Der Hyde: I was in a band the first two years that I was at Belmont. We practiced three times a week two hours each so we were practicing all the time. It was intense. And then all of the sudden, the guitarist was like “peace I’m moving to New Orleans.” Then I had all of this time that I used to play music and I needed to play music but I needed to do that with other people that I’ve never met in my life. So getting here my junior year, anytime anybody came up to me and said anything about music I just said yes. So long story short I ended up being in like eight different bands at once. No exaggeration. I was like “this is working. This is a good idea.” And then two weeks later I was like “I think I’m going to die.” But I was still doing it.
Then one day the drummer in my freshman and sophomore year band who was an RA sent me a text and was like “yo dude one of my residents is trying to build a band and they need a bass player you should check it out.” And I was like “okay fine.” To be honest I didn’t really feel like doing it because I was so super burnt out. So Katie was like “band practice 10:30 tonight, let’s do it.” And I was like “sweet 10:30. I have three band practices before that in the same room oh my gosh.” So I literally get into the room in the Massey Performing Arts Center at like 2:00 in the afternoon and I’m there for like eight hours. I fell asleep on a bench outside of the practice room and I woke up because I heard people walking past. I see Quinn our drummer who’s just this skinny little bro and I just see a pair of drum sticks in his back pocket. And I was like “dude, there’s no way that this kid can throw down. This is my fifth band practice today and I’m going to have to go in there and play with a bunch of noobs.”
So I walk into the room and the guitar player busted out this two rock amp and I was like “whoa this kid’s got some class. He knows what’s up.” And then Quinn is sitting over there cracking jokes and setting up his drum kit like the goofy little dude he is. He sets the whole thing up and just casually has this thing to see what his drum kit sounds like and plays the funkiest beat I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I did like three double takes. How is that sound coming out of that little dude? From there Katie was like “okay, I have this song called ‘Airplanes’ it’s not too hard.” Quinn counted it off and this groove was automatically like BAM. It was the tightest thing ever. This did not bare the hallmarks of tight grooveness but here we are in a pretty tight groove situation. We played through the entire song and I’d never heard it in my entire life but I kind of just knew where to go with it automatically. At one point we played “No Diggity” and that morphed into “Freebird.” At that point I was like “okay, these people throw down. Let’s get serious.”
Katie Pruitt: I had never met Parker and I didn’t know what he would really think of us. This was pretty much our first band practice. Me, Quinn, and Alex hadn’t even met before. We didn’t play all together as a band. And Parker was already talking business after the first band practice. I was like “shit, cool. I guess this guy likes what we sound like.” So I was pumped about it.
MusicDash: How would you describe your music for somebody who’s never heard it before?
Parker Van Der Hyde: Well whenever I get this question I always just like to say where each member is from. Katie singing folk and crazy bluesy soul stuff down in Georgia. Crutchman right here our organ/keyboard extraordinaire started playing organ in Oxford, Mississippi in some churches. Quinn our drummer grew up playing jazz in Charlotte. Our guitar played grew up playing blues in Texas. And I grew up playing funk and reggae in Richmond, Virginia. So it’s really difficult to describe what that sounds like when all of that stuff gets smashed together but I think it’s neat. There’s a little hint of it everywhere. The fact that Katie usually comes up with the chord progressions and the lyrics sort of means that Katie’s got the backbone so there’s a lot of her influence. Crutch is throwing down the circular system. I’ve got the muscular skeletal system. And before you know it, we’ve got this super human swag monster.
MusicDash: You guys have an EP that came out recently. What can you tell us about it?
Parker Van Der Hyde: The EP was recorded in Smoakstack studios at the beginning of the summer. That was a super rad experience. It was produced by Lucas Morton who has been one of my good friends for years and years and that dude has just been killing it in the music world since he was like 13. He’s a beast.
Katie Pruitt: He’s the musician and producer type so he’s got perspectives from both ends.
Parker Van Der Hyde: The EP is four songs. We tried to sort of capture the spectrum of our music in four songs which is tough. I think its got a lot of different stuff in there. Its got some gospel chops, its got some straight rockers. The first track is pretty much just a straight party rager which is neat. But also musically it gets into some weird stuff. Like the second song has got some funky time signature business going on. The third song is kind of a straightforward storytelling song. I don’t want to give too much away about it. I want to maintain a degree of mystery. I’m a little biased to say this but I’m pretty excited about it. I just want to get it out there so that the peeps can hear what’s been going on.
Katie Pruitt: I went through a lot last semester and I kind of told that story, the bad relationship thing. But it also has some glimpses of happiness in it. There’s one song on it called “Song in My Head” that’s just talking about the process of writing a song and how I feel about music today and my outlook on that. It covers a bunch of different topics too which I also feel confident about. A lot of albums today are just the same song. Even if they’re different musically they’re talking about the same thing. That’s what I like about this EP also.
MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you guys?
Parker Van Der Hyde: We’ve got a bunch of songs in the works. We’ve got maybe four or five of those that we’re working on right now. We’ve got the skeletal system. We’ve probably got the cardiovascular system at this point we’re just looking to add the rest of the skin and bones and all of the stuff in between.
Katie Pruitt: Our goal is to try and get a full length album by the summer and do the same thing that we did last summer when we recorded a four song EP but with an album. Lucas is probably the guy that we would go to for that because we vibe really well with him production wise. He knows our sound, he knows what we want to sound like. We want to do the same thing but tack on like eight more songs and then have a full length album. Other than that, just touring and playing shows.
Parker Van Der Hyde: That’s the main thing, We’re trying to get some tour stuff going on because that’s some really fun stuff. It’s easy to sit here all the time and just get in your little bubble. You just kind of reproduce the illusion of success and then one day its like “wait a minute. Not really.” So we’ve got to bust out of here at some point and always keep this as home base because this place is the bomb. Its got the studios, its got the equipment, its got the peeps but we’ve gotta get out there and see the country.
You can find Underground Sound Society at:
iTunes: Not My Fault EP
Spotify: Underground Sound Society
Article By Kaitlyn Midgett