Sofachrome

Sofachrome is a great heavy rock band that has been offering local audiences explosive sets filled with the heavy guitar sounds of Chris Sutton and high energy stage antics from singer Butch Tocco. In addition, this local band has a great rhythm section and a batch of thought provoking lyrics to go along with it all. Aside from the well performed live performances, the bands first five song CD, “Freak” is a high impact recording, well worth many listens. I spoke with Chris and Butch down at the Hi-pointe Café and here is what they had to say.

Were you influenced by ’80s heavy metal?
Butch: I always stayed away from the ’80s. I always hated the high-pitched vocals, but the killer leads were okay musically. I really started to want to do music more like the early ’90s–type stuff, when the Seattle scene hit. I liked the lower tone vocals, and I thought maybe I could do that.

Chris: When everybody looks back on [heavy metal hair bands], they just remember how goofy everybody looked. But if you really look at the music itself—and I’m not talking about the lyrics, because [they] were pretty goofy—there were some great bands, great musicians back then. They played really well. And growing up as a guitar player, you had people like George Lynch and bands like Dream Theatre and they played really well. Then the whole grunge thing came along and all the guitar solos kind of went by the wayside.

I thought the lyrics on the CD were really interesting. Who writes the lyrics?
Butch: I write all the lyrics and it’s scattered. Writing can be a weird transition. One verse may have nothing to do with the second verse per se, or one verse may have nothing to do with the song, but say, a scream part, you may really just really like it and you keep and you just end up throwing it in.

Chris: When we started the band, and even now, we never said ‘this is the direction we’re going. What you hear on the CD is just whatever happens. We got together and we just sat down and wrote; we didn’t say “we want to be a new metal band, we want to sound like this,” because we just do what we do and however it comes out, that’s how we sound. Everybody tries to put a band in a box, a specific genre: you’re new metal, you’re death metal, you’re punk. And I think with us, it’s a little more difficult to categorize because there’s so many different elements.

I know you’ve played a lot of shows. Do you have a favorite?
Chris: If I had to pick, it would be the show we played in Raleigh. It was last Halloween at the Freakers Ball for KMNR [radio station in Raleigh]. We all dressed up; we had all our stuff on, all our wigs and masks, and it was cool because everyone in the audience was all dressed up and we were the only band that dressed up. It was actually in an amphitheater; I didn’t realize it at the time, but they had this huge movie screen behind us and they were actually playing the original Nosferatu while we played. Right when said “Thank you, goodnight,” “The End” showed up in the screen.

Are you making another CD?
Butch: Hopefully by this summer. We have enough songs that we can do a full-length but with the money situation, we will probably just do another five or six songs and go back to SGM Records. We were happy with our last CD; it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but I think we could have spent more time.

Chris: I think the next CD will be a lot tighter. We’ve learned a lot about recording and a lot about song structure. I mean, me being an old metal guy, I listened to bands whose songs were about 15 minutes [long]. I think with myself as a songwriter; I think I’ve learned to maybe be a bit more precise.

Do you ever play acoustic guitars?
Chris: No way, man; not in the band. I’ve gotta have my electric and my amp. Some people get their aggression out by riding motorcycles; we get our aggression out from playing loud.

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