Seattle-based artist A.M. Sokoll shares insights on his musical evolution, the impact of Detroit's musical legacy, and a deeply personal journey reflected in his upcoming album "Little Flame."
© A.M. Sokoll 2023
Today We Have The Pleasure To Have This Great Artist Here On Goathead!
GH: Hey A.M. Sokoll, great to have you here! What inspired you to start writing and producing music?
A.M. Sokoll: I was inspired to write music after moving to Seattle in 2016. I always had a passion for music, but didn't come from a musical family or background at all. Moving across the country from Michigan felt like a good time to take a swing, since moving in of itself was a massive one. I've been trying to improve as a songwriter, performer and musician ever since. I was also inspired coming from Metro Detroit, where some of the most legendary artists in rock, soul, electronic, funk and jazz were born or got their start. Music is a legendary aspect of the city's history, and even if I'm not presently based there, I want to carry that spirit with me.
GH: Can you tell us more about your experience performing live at gigs and what was the most memorable experience you had?
A.M. Sokoll: 2022 was my first year of gigging consistently, and my most memorable show was my first (and to this point only) show with a backing band this time last year. Not only is the energy different than playing solo, but I write and compose all my songs, so it was super helpful to know where I could improve in composing, having other people play my stuff. I hope to be a go-to writer and producer in Seattle one day and that felt like the start of learning how to make that happen.
GH: How is your process of songwriting set around?
A.M. Sokoll: Honestly I don't have a consistent starting point. Whether it's lyrics, melody or rhythm, I typically get an idea and log it in my voice memo app to revisit, or I'll stumble across a melody as I warm up on the keys, which is in the form of improvising most of the time. I view these ideas like seeds. If I nurture and tend to them, they become something amazing. If I don't they become nothing, and that's fine. Not every idea is amazing and you gotta work through those to get to the ones that are.
GH: What motivates you to create music and bring awareness to different situations through your songs?
A.M. Sokoll: For a long time it was to let people into what I was feeling that I felt I couldn't share in conversations, which is why my first EP and album is focused so much on my anxiety, depression and self-destructive tendencies. However, in working on my upcoming album, I realized that staying in those spaces via my songwriting wasn't doing as much good as I thought. I needed music as therapy the last few years, but I'm ready to move to something at least more neutral emotionally. Moving forward, my hope is to be more collaborative with others in Seattle and enjoy the process, while still getting weird sonically.
GH: Could you share some insights into your next projects?
A.M. Sokoll: Yes! My next album, Little Flame, is coming out next year in two parts. Part 1 will be released February 2, and Part 2 I'm hoping before Memorial Day. The album is about a (to me) very shocking breakup with my ex, who I was fully committed to and so in love with, the week before Valentine's Day. Whether she knew it or not, she destroyed me with her reasoning and especially her timing, as I was in the process of being laid off and losing access to therapy and medication through my day job. Music became both for me, as I spent the next couple months unemployed and left to feel like a failure, sitting at home getting rejected from jobs and questioning everything about myself. This album is the one area I felt I thrived during that time, and I'm grateful the songs are of good enough quality to release. 2024 will be a busy year in the best way possible.