Music

Meet MoPop’s Sound Off! Finalists, Seattle’s Under 21 Battle of the Bands

Laine Hammer
Four bands you need to keep an eye on.

On Saturday, March 11th, the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPop) held the 16th annual Sound Off! finals, Seattle’s Premier Under 21 Battle of the Bands in the Sky Church. It aired live on KEXP’s show Audioasis with DJ Sharlese and was hosted by DJ Troy Nelson. After going through three rounds of semifinals and a myriad of talented artists over the last month, four were chosen to compete in the final round. Falon Sierra (Seattle), Jason McCue (Seattle), The Good Weird (Federal Way), and Torpoise (Tacoma) all put on amazing performances – I honestly had no idea who the judges would choose!

With his incredible guitar skills and quick-witted lyrics, Jason McCue took the title of 1st place, and a slot at this year’s Bumbershoot festival. Falon Sierra, Torpoise, and The Good Weird taking the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place spots, respectively, also earning spots at other Washington music festivals. MoPop’s Sky Church was set up beautifully, the sound was great,  and it was an amazing experience to see all these young artists give it their all and support each other so enthusiastically.

Before the show began I got to sit down with each of the artists and chat about their dream collaborations,  albums they’re excited about this year, what they define as “good weird”, and who they’d choose (dead or alive) to play at a festival.

Sound Off! Finals Artists Roundup

 Jason McCue – 1st PlaceMax McCune Seattle Sound Off

Who is your dream collaboration?
JM: John Lennon, Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, Billie Holiday. I think those three, that’s my dinner party and collaboration.

What do you define as “good weird”?
JM: The texture of spaghetti.

Who would you choose to headline your festival?
JM: The Beatles, Jeff Buckley, Queen. I’d love to see Katy Perry live, I liked her SuperBowl a lot, except the left shark thing. Actually, I liked that more because of left shark.

Falon Sierra – 2nd PlaceFallon Sierra Seattle Sound Off

Who is your dream collaboration?
FS: Aw man, right now, it would be SZA. She’s a big inspiration for me.

What do you define as “good weird”?
FS: Dressing weird, I guess. That’s a good thing. (We agree here at Metiza, too!)

What albums are you excited about this year?
FS: Probably SZA’s CTRL. I’m excited to hear it, I think it’s going to be something different than wha she’s done in the past. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.

Griffin Ryan of Torpoise – 3rd PlaceTorpoise Seattle Sound Off

Where did you get the name Torpoise?
GR: I started the project in 6th grade and it was two Latin words at some point, but there’s no amount of Latin to English dictionary that can help me remember. It holds no significance at all.” *Sorry y’all, not a combination of turtle and porpoise.

Who is your dream collaboration?
GR: Oh man, that’s a tough one. Probably STRFKR would be the dream collaboration. I got to meet them, they’re all really cool dudes. It’d be cool to make music with them.

What do you define as “good weird”?
GR: Haha, oh man, probably the feeling that I get when I get interviewed.

What albums are you excited about this year?
GR: STRFKR, again. They just put out an album, Vault Vol. 1 that has all of his original recordings from a decade ago that compiled into a massive album, that’s something I’m really excited about. Bonobo has an album coming out too. Maybe my own album, I don’t know…?

The Good Weird – 4th PlaceThe Good Weird Seattle Sound Off

Who is your dream collaboration?
GW: One of our biggest influences is The Strokes, we’re super into them. We’re not sure exactly how we’d collaborate with them, maybe a supergroup.  Kanye West, he’s the dream.

What do you define as “good weird”?
GW:  Anything that spontaneously comes to mind and it works out well, anything that’s organic, that’s different but pleasing. Weird definitely has a lot of stigma to it, but let’s capitalize on the good. We’re 90% good, 10% weird. Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

Who would you choose to headline your festival?
GW: Kanye West, The Strokes, Green Day, Paramore, Elliot Smith, Modest Mouse. We don’t know about Foo Fighters… *OTR: They cut the Foo Fighters! We think Dave Grohl would understand, he’s cool.

I loved being able to check out the Sound Off! Finals, and am glad so many young people are getting exposed to new music being made by their peers. Hanging out with these burgeoning artists was an honor. Be sure to check them out and keep up to date on what they’re up to! Can’t wait for next year’s competition, I’ll definitely be at Sound Off! finals in 2018!

Imagess via Sound Off! and MoPop Seattle’s YouTube channel.