Rollo & Grady Interview / Matty McLoughlin Of The Soft Pack

 Rollo & Grady Interview / Matty McLoughlin Of The Soft Pack
Matty McLoughlin (r)

I recently met with The Soft Pack (formerly known as The Muslims) backstage at the Echo, where they opened for Darker My Love last month. The band told me that they had started a “new chapter” when they renamed themselves The Soft Pack. Some fans expressed disapproval, but the old name had brought out a dark and sometimes racist side of listeners and critics. I interviewed Matty McLoughlin (lead guitar) for the piece and got the chance to hang out with the band, which includes Matt Lamkin (lead singer/guitarist), Dave Lantzman (bass), and Brian Hill (drummer).

The Soft Pack originally hails from San Diego, but recently moved here to Los Angeles to get themselves more in the mix. You can tell that Matty and his fellow bandmates are good friends; they’re a laid-back, tight-knit group. They’re all super talented as they effortlessly play their unique blend of pop-punk-garage rock n’ roll.

Since I met with Matty and The Soft Pack they have signed with New York-based Kemado Records. They were one of the hottest bands at last year’s SXSW and CMJ festivals and the industry buzz they generated there is what led to the deal. You can expect their debut album with Kemado late next year, and until then they’re playing some of their new tracks on tour. You can catch them at The Echo tonight (1/28) and again on February 4th & 13th.

R&G: Tell me a little bit about the name change. How did that come about?

Matty: I think we officially changed it around Thanksgiving. We had wanted to change it for about a year now, but hadn’t come up with anything that we could all agree upon. Brian came up with The Soft Pack, and we liked it a lot, so we changed it. We were sick of the shit people would say about the old name. I guess they were trying to be funny and some things that were said came off as racist… It just became fucking stupid.

R&G: Journalists or fans?

Matty: Everyone in general. Anybody on the street asking about our band’s name, everything about it became a nuisance.

R&G: Why The Soft Pack? After cigarettes?

Matty: It sounded really good. It’s neutral. That’s why I like it. It doesn’t mean anything; it doesn’t matter.

R&G: Were you worried about the name change, in terms of alienating the fans that you’d already made with The Muslims?

Matty: No, I wasn’t. Some people got upset, but it’s their choice to not follow the band anymore. It was our choice to change our name. If you don’t want to listen to our music because you only liked our name, it’s cool with us.

R&G: Did the Velvet Underground and the Strokes influence your brand of music?

Matty: We grew up listening to the Velvet Underground in high school. I like the Strokes; good pop music. Their first record had some pretty awesome songs on it.

R&G: Tell me about your first recordings.

Matty: We recorded with our friend Ryan at 1928 recordings. It was our first EP, which is seven songs and it comes in a CD with three bonus tracks. Then we released a 7-inch with Sweet Tooth Records in San Diego, that’s where we’re from. And then, we released a 7-inch with I Hate Rock and Roll, which is an LA based label.

R&G: Have you guys written any new tracks for your next album?

Matty: Yes. We’re playing three of them tonight. We’ve been working on new material and started playing these songs about two weeks ago.

R&G: So you have 13 songs in your catalog?

Matty: I think overall we have eleven original songs that have been released in some kind of form, either on seven-inch or the EP, and then the new material we haven’t recorded yet.

R&G: Do you plan to release all new songs on your next album?

Matty: That’s what we are aiming for.

R&G: You guys recently moved to LA; how long have you been here?

Matty: About eight months.

R&G: Do you like Los Angeles?

Matty: It’s growing on me. It can be pretty complex and hard to get around at times, but it’s a fun city. Los Angeles has more to offer than Sand Diego as far as things to do at night, and the variety of things to do. We’ve been there all our lives. Nothing against San Diego; it’s great to go back there to visit friends and family. I’m also a huge Chargers fan.

R&G: When do you think you’ll put out your new album?

Matty: Fall is what we’re aiming for, but whenever it’s ready.

Download:
MP3: The Soft Pack – Grinding Halt (The Cure)
MP3: The Soft Pack – Call It A Day
MP3: The Soft Pack – Nightlife