By ALLISON TOVEY
Made up of UMW students and alum, So Badly is a four-piece band consisting of bassist and singer Grace Howie, guitarist and singer Sarah Kinzer, guitarist Kevin Coleman and drummer Daniel Drees. The group, who describes their sound as “dusty basement indie fuzz,” released their first EP “Towards Heaven Still” in November 2018 with former drummer Annie Frazza and are now working towards producing their first full-length album.
“We’ve been writing new songs, trying to generate enough work to create an album- full length instead of four tracks this time,” Kinzer said, “So that mostly involves, on all our parts, having life experiences at the same time as working on new music. That way, lyrics can come more easily. It’s mostly been, at least for me, focusing on writing new stuff and writing together which is always really fun. You can bring a little chunk of something and people get excited and we’re playing it together at practice, it just comes together really naturally. It’s fun.”
The band came together at UMW when Kinzer and Howie were roommates their junior year. “When I learned that Grace sang, we got together on a weeknight or something and started playing music. We just started with covers or some songs that we like,” Kinzer said. The two began performing covers in their living room and eventually recorded two covers of songs by The Strokes and Mitski.
“At some point Kevin let us know he wanted to do something musical and we were on board. The three of us, in our UMW apartment living room annoying our downstairs neighbors, were just playing music,” Howie said, “We didn’t really get serious until the next fall. We put out a flyer for a drummer and we had another drummer, Annie, for a while. After we [Howie, Kinzer, and Frazza] graduated, we wanted to keep playing and Annie decided to go do a program that took her out of state, so then we roped in Daniel.”
Drees, the only current UMW student, joined the band after meeting Howie through Infant Island guitarist and UMW student Alex Rudenshiold who Drees said, “introduced him to the scene.”
“I did not see myself in any band whatsoever except jazz band when I first entered school. It’s a bit surprising that I’m doing this but I’m glad I am. I’m glad I’m here,” said Drees.
The band recorded their EP in three days during dead week, the week before graduation after classes have ended.
“The recording process, we got very lucky, in that I went to a networking event and met some guys and they came to show and said ‘we’d love to record you’. One of them had a connection with Inner Ear in Arlington. It’s a pretty notable recording studio so we were really lucky to be able to record there for a really low cost. It was just a networking miracle,” said Howie.
The EP, “Towards Heaven Still,” consists of four original tracks.
“The writing process in general is really varied in a lot of ways. Sometimes someone will bring a complete song with all the parts, sometimes someone will bring an idea and we’ll come up with lyrics, so it really varies with the writing,” Howie said.
Now, looking towards future releases, So Badly is working towards a more up-beat sound that captures the band’s growth and the addition of Drees.
While their new songs reflect the maturation of the band members, the music also showcases the band’s growing skill level since their beginnings.
“In the way that I’m writing things, I think it’s getting more complex, especially in terms of the bass parts. When we played our first show, we didn’t have a bassist and I didn’t know how to play bass. I’ve been playing for a little over a year now, so I’m able to do a lot more,” Howie said.
“With some things I’m writing now, I’m trying to move a little more away from that because I don’t want to keep writing about the same things over and over. I want to provide more variety and with the way my life is going, with my experiences and what I’m doing, that helps my lyrics to be more different.”
For Kinzer, the music she’s writing for the album is moving away from the more melancholy sound of the EP. She was inspired after a show the band played in New Jersey where a particularly high-energy crowd found a way to jump around to even their slowest songs.
You can find So Badly’s music at sobadly.bandcamp.com and look for upcoming shows at facebook.com/sobadlyband/.