You’re not even close to ready for Sound Struggle. This is an insanely original six man band from the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Their craft comes down to flawlessly bridging the gap between Funk and Progressive Metal. Yeah, you can go ahead and read that description again. But it won’t really make sense until you press the “play” button below.
It will make even more sense when they release the album “Rise” in the coming months! Right now is the time to start getting excited. This upcoming LP will provide another in-depth dive into the band’s experimental world of music. The whole experience will reportedly last well over an hour, making this band not only original – but prolific.
We just had a chance to catch up with Cameron Rasmussen, vocalist and guitarist for the one and only Sound Struggle, to figure out what they’ve been up to and what to expect next. Read over the full interview down below and learn!
CR = Cameron Rasmussen (Vocalist / Guitarist)
TCP = The Circle Pit
TCP – We’re here with the upcoming talents in Sound Struggle. First and foremost, how are you doing?
CR – We are super! Thanks for asking!
TCP – Let’s start off with the big news. You have an all new album “Rise” coming out very soon. Can you tell us a bit about that album and what went into making it?
CR – Yes, so the goal on this album was to get every individual band member to put forward one song that they came up with, and from there we work shopped them to what the entire band wanted them to be. Some of them ended up being changed around and tweaked more than others, but it was all to make sure that we were all happy with every song as opposed to the just the person who wrote it. This approach was a response to how the first album was put together, because the first LP was written almost entirely by myself, and I was tired of playing my own songs all the time, and we all wanted everyone else in Sound Struggle to show their talents for writing.
TCP – You released your self-titled album just last year. For the record, it made for an excellent debut! What do you feel are the main differences between that LP and “Rise”?
CR – Thank you! On the first album every song was written by me (aside from the “Funk It” main riff and the “Ethereal” solo section chord progression that were written by Adam) at the time that I was trying to form the style that I wanted Sound Struggle to be. At this point in our career we finally have a lineup of guys in the band that all get along well and have their own styles that we can tailor the music to, and refine the style that we want to be playing. That’s what “Rise” represents at this stage for Sound Struggle.
TCP – You guys are insanely talented and tasteful musicians, especially considering how young you are. How long have you been playing?
CR – Well thank you! We all very much appreciate hearing that because we all are perfectionists when it comes to our playing and the way our music is going to sound. Between all of us we have a combined experience of about 80 years. Matt is the oldest out of all of us and has been playing 20 years, but the rest of us in our twenties have been playing for more than 10 years each give or take a few years.
TCP – Your band has quite the pedigree. Do all six of you attend the Berklee College of Music? And is that how the band started up?
CR – We do all attend Berklee, in fact Adam, Joe Calderone and Matthieu just graduated! The three of them are currently working on their own individual projects for the summer and playing with Sound Struggle when we have shows to do. Joey Izzo, Mike and myself will be done this coming year and then we will all be unleashed upon the world in full force!
The band started with me having some pretty rough demos of some of the songs on the first album. At Berklee it’s a tough task to be inducted into a band or other project that is already up and running, so I started by giving demos to lots of people and getting members together slowly to start from the ground up. The idea was to have a metal band that had improvised solos where I could implement all of my influences in Jazz. I didn’t want to play the same scripted solo twice and I wanted the legroom for creativity on the spot when soloing. That was the ideology when the band was being made. From that idea I used my knowhow of making charts for the music and I asked people for every instrument who I thought would be interested in coming to a rehearsal to check it out. After going through countless people on every instrument we found a lineup that worked and then started rehearsing like crazy for our first show, tweaking the songs slightly along the way.
TCP – Do you have any funny stories from the prestigious school of music?
CR – Well we certainly have an interesting one. Back in 2013 we had booked a recording session long in advance for a live video tracking that we were going to release. This was back when we had our first lineup ever of eight members. This session happened to be scheduled for 1:30 am – 7:30 am on April 19th of that year when the manhunt for the Boston Bombing suspects was happening in full force. We didn’t call off the session, which looking back is a miracle; instead we loaded our gear into a cab at 1:00 am to go to the studio. Two of our horn players, at the time decided to long board to the session and along the way they had to avoid the bomb squad and the BPD. If that wasn’t scary enough once the session was up and running we didn’t know what was happening and all we heard was that the chase could be headed our direction. Through all of that we just kept playing to try and keep our minds off of it. After that we got a lift back to Berklee just before all transit was shut down in the city, which was lucky. Once we were back all of us slept until Dzhokhar was caught, after all the session was all night long.
TCP – What does your writing process look like with so many talents in the band?
CR – Because there are currently six of us in the band, and there used to be eight of us, it is harder to come in with one solitary idea and then just workshop it with everyone there. It ends up being too hard to coordinate a rehearsal like that. Usually what happens is one of us individually will write a song, completely or they will have it almost complete, and then they will demo it. We will also write things in groups of maybe two or three. The last song on “Rise” had a lot written for it by Joe Calderone and Joey Izzo by themselves, and at another time I wrote two of the riffs in it and we worked on those with the three of us.
When we actually get down to rehearsing a new song we each like to have a chart to read. I usually do all of the charting but everyone charted out songs for the making of “Rise”. We will start rehearsing those initial charts together and the feedback from the whole group comes then. Each guy will have an idea that might be cooler than what is written in front of him, and then we will try that idea and see what we all think. We do that enough until the song feels solid to all of us, and then it is completed.
TCP – If you could collaborate with any musician in the world, who would it be?
CR – That’s a tough one mostly because of the variety of influences in this band. We would all like to collaborate with Animals As Leaders, we are all big fans of them, and we share lots of influences with them. Mike and myself are huge fans of Michael Brecker and would like to collab with him if he were still alive, same with Dimebag for me, if I had to pick someone living it would definitely be Pat Metheny. The Joes are both the biggest fans of Rush, some Geddy Lee collab would be in order I’m sure. Adam would like to play with Victor Wooten, or Allan Holdsworth I’m sure, he is one of Adams favorites.
TCP – How did you come up with the band name Sound Struggle?
CR – That name came into being in a super cliché way as many ideas do, by writing it on a napkin. Before an earlier Sound Struggle rehearsal I wrote that name and a few others on a napkin and then we all voted on them. That was the one that we all liked, so we went with it! We thought that it was the right mix of comedy and serious to suit our genre jumping between metal, funk, jazz and so on. Originally we wanted to be DTF (Down To Funk), but it was taken already so we went the other way. Probably a better choice in the end haha.
TCP – Have you played many live shows?
CR – We have played a lot of shows around Boston like the Middle East, Bills Bar, among others and several at Berklee. We have plans to go on tour in the near future because we want to play more shows outside of Boston. So we hope to see you there!
TCP – What are your plans for the rest of the year following “Rise”?
CR – After “Rise” we plan on playing as many shows as we can to promote it, such as the aforementioned tour. We are super happy with Rise, and it is a huge step up from where we were at the time of the first albums release, so we are excited for you to hear it!
TCP – Any tips for aspiring musicians?
CR – We would probably say that this is all extremely hard work that never ends. If you want to really be a musician you have to practice every day no matter what, and if you want to be in a band and have it go somewhere you need to be ready to push through the times that nobody cares about your music or your message. We are starting to get somewhere, but it’s not getting any easier. The things that keep us going is our passion for music and our friendships with one another.
TCP – And we’re out of questions. Thanks for your time! Any shout outs you want to give to the fans out there?
CR – Thank you a lot for doing the interview! Thanks to our fans that enjoy Sound Struggles music when we are starting out and still finding our sound, it means a lot to hear that people are diggin’ it, and thanks to Mike Stahl for his wonderful assistance to us through the Circle Pit!