The Sound Foundation in Dallas has been providing aspiring young musicians with the performance, recording and business tools that they need for a real start in music since the artist development/music instruction school opened its doors in 2013. Founder Norman Matthew, of Murder FM fame, created the program as a way to fill the void on the scene that found young musicians being thrust into a world and business that they had no grasp on.
"It's always something that I wanted to do, but I just didn't realize to what level. I just knew that when I was 15 or 16, it was like, man, I wish I had somebody to bounce ideas off of and someone to come to my band practices. Just someone who was in a band out there locally who could just give me ideas and tell me how to market our band. All the things that can seem so trivial to a band on a certain level, but be so massive to a band on another level," Matthews shared. "I always wanted to find a way to bridge that gap. I didn't really know how until the years had gone on and I noticed that I had a knack for working with other bands. I liked helping my friend's bands out with putting shows together and helping them with contacts and in the studio. I had a love for it and I started thinking about how to take it to the next level and when I moved to Dallas things were just different and I had more breathing room. We weren't having to dig the ditch, we just had to go out and lay the cement at that point. I was already teaching music lessons and stuff like that so I started putting certain students together to play and they were pretty rough in their inception. People were looking at me going, what the hell are you thinking Norman? I was like, just trust me, this is going to be cool. At a certain point in your career you just get that light bulb moment, which is something that I think just recently happened for me, but when it goes off, it's like wow, I really get it. It's awesome and a handful of the bands that the Sound Foundation has put together have morphed into other bands and things and there there are others who are just there and ready to go."
He says that the Sound Foundation approaches things in a different way than the standard manager/client staple, "It's tricky and the industry is constantly changing and evolving so I've kind of adapted multiple business models and I'm still finding my way into it. You want to be able to find the best thing for the band and you want to be able to offer realistic expectations at the same time. You want to be able to build the band at the same time that you are working on your own stuff. It's a fun thing and it's make the scheduling of it a fun challenge."
Currently, the foundation is focusing its attentions on two rising bands in Sweet Chaos and 2nd Place, two bands that seem to be poised to make a big splash on the scene. The girls in Sweet Chaos have already begun to turn heads with their self-titled EP and recently wound up a tour with Vannah Red and Heartbreak Heroes.
The all girl trio is back in the studio working on new music and the girls recently chatted about the process with AXS, "We usually already have the songs and then we start with the drums and then we kind of just add in the other layers with the vocals and the harmonies. We keep at it until it comes together in a whole sound," explained bassist/vocalist Sydney Hefley.
Guitarist Sara Klattenhoff added that the songs they are working are a bit different this time out, "It's definitely different from what we've done in the past. There's more of a ballad song that we're currently working on and there's also a much heavier track than we've done before."
The girls say that the tour went really well and they can't wait to get out and play some more shows. They will be playing a show on Aug. 5 with Adakain at Trees in Dallas. Drummer Payton Taylor shared that they have a routine that helps get them ready to go out on stage every night, "We do a lot of warm-ups and these funny dance things."
Hefley added that they always think about how they can provide the best show they can each and every night, "We always want to have a lot of good stage presence and want to make sure we are always involving the crowd."
Moving forward, the girls say that they just want to get out and play more and hopefully have more material out sooner rather than later. They say their biggest goal is finding their own sound that they hope will set them apart.
2nd Place agree with that sentiment echoing the goal of just playing more shows and recording more music, "We're honestly not worrying about getting super big. I mean, that would be great if it happens, but really it's all about just staying relevant. I just want to play music and shows and have fun while doing it," shared vocalist Jensen Rivera.
The band says that the Sound Foundation has really helped them figure out where they want to go and with helping to get their name out there. Drummer Aidan Valdez also said that using their social media sites has also helped in that area of connecting with their fans and spreading the word.
2nd Place is currently in the studio working on a E.P., "Basically, all of the songs are ones that we've played in our shows. It's all gonna be originals. There are no covers on it. I think people can expect good things from it and we really like our songs and hope that others will feel the same way we do about them," explained Rivera.
Although the band has no shows scheduled currently, they do plan to play some in support of the release and hope to have a release party as well.
Their mentor Matthews says that both bands and all of the young musicians that he has gotten a chance to work with are a pleasure because, "They are so appreciative and have this whole little way about them. There's a certain vibe with young bands."
He went on to state, "2nd place is a pop/punk band and Jensen has some history in the biz with his family so it's cool that he has been around and done it so he can bring the experience to the table now. This band really just came in and strapped their instruments on and just started playing and it was pure magic. They really just get it and the girls in Sweet Chaos are the same way. They are three girls that are super heavy and gritty and they get it. There's zero diva stuff going on. They are super appreciative and and go out every night and just do it for the pure love of doing it and they are reaping the rewards right now."
Matthews also explained that he is currently working with another new breakout artist in Caitlin Kelly who is about to release her debut EP, "It's haunting love stories and amazing vocals and songwriting and a level of creative maturity that is very rare these days. Her father Jim King is their pronounce engineer and she is another one that has grown up in the business and knows what it takes and is ready to really push to that next level. She has taken the time, energy and patience it needs to really create the right thing and I'm super proud of her for that!"