Empire of the Sohns

There’s making lemonade out of lemons, and then there’s Sohns. Over the past year, the local band survived a car crash and a major line-up change, and it only seemed to make the group stronger.

Sohns first sparked on the music scene in 2006 as We Are Sohns, an aggressive rock duo featuring Alex Mendez on vocals and guitarist Marcos Garza. Bassist Wes Dunn soon stepped in, and six months later they incorporated drummer Lawrence Mercado. Like their sound, Sohns moved fast, hitting the road to tour after just two months as a foursome and releasing its first EP, Eating Death Mountain, in 2007. Even a car wreck last December couldn’t slow the band down. In fact, it just put some extra cash in Sohns’ pocket, further speeding up their careers.

“The money was because our last day of tour we were getting ready to get on the highway to get home, final day of touring,” Dunn said of the accident, from which all members walked away unscathed. “`We` take a left turn and some dude runs a red light right into the side of us. So we got money out of it and we were like, ‘All right, well that’s going to the record.’”

Taking a big leap forward, Garza, Mendez, and Mercado flew to Seattle for two weeks to record the new album To Ward It Off and Drown It Out at Red Room Studios with producer/engineer Chris Common, drummer for These Arms Are Snakes. Dunn met them the day after he graduated from UTSA, slept for a few hours, and recorded bass for 10 hours.

“This record wouldn’t have been what it is if it wasn’t for `Common` doing this. … He would come in and say, ‘Look, this sounds cool, but do it this way really quick.’ He produced so much of this album. He was such a drill sergeant that `it` made this what it was.” says Mercado. “I used his drum set that he used in These Arms are Snakes, the cymbals were from a recording that they just did with Minus the Bear, and the high hats were the high hats they used for Mastadon.” Sohns hopes to show off the final product by the end of 2010.

It will be the last work of Sohns to feature founding member Garza, who parted ways with the band just two months ago. To replace him, the group integrated two guitar players to make the sound more dynamic: JC Rodriguez (who played with Mercado in the band Scholars & Thieves) and Luis Trevino.

You can hear the excitement in Mercado’s voice while he talks about the future of Sohns and working as a more “cohesive” unit. “Our live shows have always been a big thing that (have) been a part of us. We don’t want to be a boring band. We want to give everyone a show. Adding two guitars makes the sound so much better.”

The Black Friday gig will be the first to showcase the band with the recent lineup change. In typical Sohns fashion, the band will then jump into a four-day Texas tour hitting McAllen, Fort Worth, and Houston, with another tour following the release of To Ward It Off and Drown It Out. In 2011, Sohns plans to work on new material for an EP split with a band called Cloudmouth from Chicago. Mercado says, “I think that’s what we’re more excited about… We actually get to write with these two new guys and we’ve been wanting to do nothing but that. But we know we have priorities right now.” He adds with a smile on his face, “From what it was, to what it is, and what it’s going to be — it’s all very exciting.”


Sohns Black Friday Comeback Show


10pm Fri, Nov 26

Ten Eleven

1011 Ave B



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