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Weary, lo-fi over a thin vapor of reverb, listening to Soft Shadows (fmr. Sundaze) reminds me of that part in “Lost in Translation” when Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s character take a cab ride through Tokyo while “Sometimes” by My Bloody Valentine plays in the background.  Yeah, you know that scene — the shallow focus, low light, Kevin’s whispering, that feeling of something cool and familiar.  It’s rare for bands, like Soft Shadows, to generate a memory of such a beautiful and iconic scene.  Though they are in the midst of recording their debut, we at SBWR were instantly drawn to their cold, sparse noise and wanted to know more about what they’ve got planned for this year while in PDX.

If you like Beach Fossils, Sparklehorse, and/or Weird Dreams check out SOFT SHADOWS @ Facebook // Bandcamp // Soundcloud.

Soft Shadows – ‘Whatever You Say’

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Soft Shadows sound has this sort of late-night, cold, whispery, lo-fi vibe, which is, I would say different from that of Sundaze whose sound was more fuzzy surf/garagaze influenced, kind of like the Vandelles or even The Raveonettes. What inspired the name change and new direction?

As you have picked up, our sound has shifted and we felt it was time to shed the name we chose out of necessity. At the time, we were a brand new band with shows lined up and needed a name fast, so that’s how we chose Sundaze. Over the course of little over a year we found sounds we really related to and they were much different than when we started. This sparked a difference in direction and led to a member leaving. With the addition of Ryan Simon on guitars, we felt this is a perfect time to regroup.

I got a chance to watch “New American Noise: Electric Noise,” a music documentary series for the Sundance Channel directed by Abteen Bagheri who is known for his avant-garde rap videos. It really seems like Portland holds a special place in your hearts. How has the scene, shoegaze and otherwise, responded to Soft Shadows? What do you think you are doing differently to stand out in Portland? Do you plan on staying in Portland?

There are so many scenes in Portland right now, and with lots of bands sharing members between projects, the lines between scenes are blurry, and I mean that in all positive aspects.  Portland has a great vibe and friendly atmosphere; it’s small enough to have a town-feel. There’s a pho restaurant nearby when a couple leaves, she’ll bid them farewell by saying, “Have a romantic weekend!” As you know, Portland is surrounded by water. The weather plays a big part in how we write and feel. Being enveloped in rain most of the year produces guitar sounds as if it was dipped in water.  I try to soak the guitars in reverb but not over doing it for the hopeful feeling that the sun will come and dry the rain eventually. As much as Portland is a hometown in our hearts and the place where we’re grounded in, we’re always open to living in a new place.

New American Noise – short documentary on lo-fi/shoegaze in Portland…

I loved Soft Shadows video for “I Want to Be With You,” because it reminded me of the taxicab scene in Lost In Translation when “Sometimes” by MBV is playing – was that a conscious decision?

I love that scene too! I had a similar experience of flooded imagery when I was an exchange student in Tokyo, which “Lost In Translation” was released after I came back from my 3 months abroad. I’ve always liked the idea of travelling alone with my camera. Being immersed in new and different environments with little or no outside comfortable influences, it becomes a completely personal enveloping experience through my own lens (also, I don’t have to burden people waiting for me running off somewhere for a random shot).

My last overseas trip was to Vietnam and Japan early 2012. Usually, I’m the girl taking photos, but sometimes I’ll remember I have film capability as well, so take short segments here and there to edit afterwards. The plan was to get as much random footage possible, and then cut it down to something that may flow together. When it came to the idea of making a music video for “I Want To Be With You,” I revisited the old footage I took, only to have found a large bulk deleted on accident. Surprisingly, even though it may not flow as perfectly how I would like it, all the pieces fell into place for the mood and pace of the song. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s also about a girl wandering around town, looking to be found, which sort of fits.

Soft Shadows – I Want To Be With You

What can we expect from Soft Shadows in the upcoming year?

We’re shooting for a tour within the next few months. Our album will be coming out later this year, and you can expect a dreamier sound, still accompanied by our heavy droney sound.
PSYCHIC HEARTS is a CA/NY-based writer of sorts who loves obese cats and used records. You can read more reviews, features, and commentary from her music site dedicated to shoegaze / dreampop / garage / synthwave. More @ PSYCHIC HEARTS.