It’s been almost a year since alternative four-piece, Somos, pulled the plug on their operation. After touring consistently for nearly three years, the band found their priorities askew and decided they needed a break. The band emerged from their hiatus in late November to share their new single, “Permanently Lost.” Vocalist/bassist Michael Fiorentino offered some insight into what pushed Somos to their limit, and what they’ve been up to since.
Somos formed back in 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. The band first turned heads with their debut full length released on Tiny Engines in 2014, Temple of Plenty. The combination of their sweetly addictive melodies and reflective lyrics made Somos a band to watch in the years that followed. The follow-up, First Day Back, was released on Hopeless Records in 2016 and showed the band experimenting with new ways to bring their sound to life. Somos had taken the introspective, pop-driven sound and constructed layers around it, creating a complex landscape of sounds and emotions to navigate.
Somos found themselves on a consistent tour schedule, keeping them on the move. But after years of this, the pressure and stress caught up with the band. On December 29th, 2016, the band announced an indefinite hiatus, stepping away from the platform they had worked so hard to create. “It really came from a place of being exhausted by touring,” said Fiorentino. “The thing we love most is writing music, recording music, and releasing it. And that was becoming kind of an afterthought.”
Fiorentino explained that Somos, like most bands, exist to write music. When they began to see the business side overshadow the creative side, they knew something had to change. “I think that made it feel like a little bit of the magic was gone,” Fiorentino explained. “It was almost becoming a part-time job, so we decided we didn’t want to pursue it because that’s not why we started it.”
After announcing the hiatus, the band planned to distance themselves from Somos, allowing them to reconnect with loved ones and pursue other projects. Guitarist Phil Haggerty and Fiorentino made plans to start a new band together and began writing almost immediately. “It felt like a semi-break from music basically,” Fiorentino explained. “It was really depressing not writing music and not having that outlet.”
Haggerty and Fiorentino quickly realized the songs they created were still Somos. The group decided to write in their downtime while the rest of the world thought they were disbanded. In the past few months, Somos have broken their silence to release two singles during their hiatus. “We didn’t know it was going to be as short as it was,” said Fiorentino. “But the itch to write and record music was just really strong.”
The most recent single, “Permanently Lost,” was the first song the band wrote during the hiatus. The song dances between the sounds of Temple of Plenty and First Day Back. This reinvigorated form of Somos continues to showcase the band’s powerful songwriting ability. According to Fiorentino, there was a sense of freedom during the writing process that had been missing for some time. “It’s been really fun to write on hiatus because we were secretly a band again,” he said. “No one knew about it, there were no expectations, and it was fun to just come out of nowhere and put a song out.”
While Temple of Plenty opened a lot of doors for Somos, it came at a cost. Suddenly there were expectations to be met, and an audience to please. “It created a new pressure to write a second album,” recalled Fiorentino. “We weren’t as free mentally or emotionally writing it, and I think on [First Day Back] you can hear it a little bit.” But now, Somos have allowed themselves to relax, liberating their writing process.
Though they never truly left, Somos’ future is still uncertain. While the band is working hard on writing a new record, they plan to work slowly and deliberately. “It feels a little bit like we’ve rekindled the songwriting connection we had while we were writing our first record,” smiled Fiorentino. “And a lot of that is the lack of pressure to tour.”
The band has no firm plans to tour in the future, but Fiorentino believes they’ll be back on the road in no time. This time around, Somos plan to find more time to relax and enjoy the moment. Fiorentino also offers this word of advice to new bands everywhere: “Don’t feel like you have to tour. I think a different model works for every band. Concentrate on really writing music that you feel passionately about and that’s the foundation that you need for everything else.”
This interview was written and conducted by Substream contributor Yong Los.