Warm Soda quenches New Orleans’ pop thirst

Ah, the joy of Warm Soda. If any band sounds like sun, fun and an earnest simplicity that harkens back to yesteryear, it’s this band. Their refreshing tonic of lo-fi garage glam pop overflows with sugar-sweet pop sensibilities, lively instrumentation and a play-it-straight attitude that reads as nostalgia at first glance but signifies something deeper.

“People say we’re a nostalgic band. Well maybe that’s because the thing we’re referencing is something that’s been forgotten that shouldn’t have been,” said Matthew Melton, lead vocalist, guitarist and band leader.

The band is based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and consists of Melton on vocals, Rob Good on guitar, Chase Oren on bass and Ian McBrayer on drums. They are currently touring to support their debut LP, “Someone Like You,” and will be playing at the Saturn Bar in New Orleans on Monday, March 18.

After wrapping up the current tour, the band will record a second album and begin a European tour. The world’s growing taste for Warm Soda may have something to do with the emotional immediacy that Melton strives for when making music.

“What I’m thinking of when I write a song is a really genuine moment where I’m actually feeling something. I try to take it and flesh that feeling out with music. My only goal when making a song is to make it sincere,” he said.

Melton’s concept of moment-based music results in a catalogue of short-but-sweet songs that grab the audience’s attention right away. He said that he and the band were inspired by the formulas of classic pop music, which help keep musicians from getting too self-indulgent.

“I’ve always been fascinated with just the idea of pop music and the effect that it has on people,” Melton said. “It’s just a mysterious thing. It’s a simple and effective mainline into somebody’s heart. You should come in, whomp them with a chorus a couple times and get out of there.”

While the first listing on the Warm Soda ingredients section is definitely pop, it’s pop spiked with a healthy dose of rock guitars and punk energy.

“In terms of the songwriting itself, we are a pretty classic pop band, but live, it definitely depends on who we’re playing with. I feel like we’re in this weird middle ground. Sometimes we feel like a pop band, sometimes we feel like a punk band, and live, I feel like we play the songs in a rock setting.”

While the band’s name somehow makes perfect sense to anyone who’s actually heard their music, it tends to raise eyebrows, as well. Melton said that’s a good thing.

“I definitely like the name. I think it fits with our music. I also like the fact that a lot of people don’t like the name. It’s memorable. Even people who don’t like the name will get it stuck in their head, just like a good pop song,” he said.

After moving from Memphis to California in 2006, Melton discovered that the Bay Area music scene was a dynamic one. Melton’s recording studio and label, Fuzz City Records, helps him connect with other up-and-coming bands.

“There are always new bands popping up, so as soon as you think you have it all figured out, something else appears,” he said. “That’s sort of indirectly how I got into recording bands. I have my own recording studio with Rob Good in East Oakland where we record bands for a living.”

Melton said he is glad that, after years of hard work, both of his day jobs involve music. Struggling to get to that point has only made the victory sweeter, he said.

“It’s taken a long time for me to get to this point. I’ve definitely worked a lot of lousy jobs in the Bay Area since 2006 and was finally able to quit and focus on music, which is what really drives me,” he said.

Melton promised that a Warm Soda live show is an affair to remember.

“We try to have a high energy set. No breaks between songs. Our set is kind of like shaking up a can of soda and spraying it out all at once, instead of sipping it slowly,” he said.

Warm Soda and Peach Kelli Pop’s March 18 show will be at the Saturn Bar in New Orleans. More info about the band can be found at http://www.warmsoda.org/

More Stories