The members of Queens-based alt pop/rock outfit Punch The Sun want to be your best friends. And just like good friends, or anyone we really take the time to get to know, they - and their music - can’t be lumped easily into clear-cut categories. Real people (and real life) are much more complex, and it’s from this thoughtful and detail-focused stance that frontwoman/songwriter/bassist Shannon Söderlund writes.
Punch The Sun and its relatable, catchy songs have been making waves in New York City, playing Brooklyn Bowl this past winter at the Silver Sound Showdown. Onstage, Shannon is joined by guitarist and husband Andrew Söderlund (who also records and mixes their music), drummer Campbell Youngblood-Peterson, and backing vocalist Pamela Vachon.
A child of missionaries, Shannon grew up in the Pacific Northwest and played with her family in a Christian rock band, regularly touring the US and the globe as a child. After college, Shannon made the move in 2012 to New York City to sing jazz. Her live show, however, quickly turned toward more original songs; straying from jazz into pop/rock, Shannon performed with a band under her own name for several years, and, after picking up the bass, changed the group’s name to “Punch The Sun” in 2018.
The band’s name, which evokes a certain “sticking-it-to-the-man-ness” that colors a lot of their songs, is a fitting one for the relatable and playful lyrics that pour out of Shannon’s powerful vocals. Clearly influenced by the gospel sounds from her childhood and her years navigating the jazz world, their songs are a sort of modern-day blues, exploring (and lamenting) topics such as global warming, sexism, boring day jobs, the passing of time, and social anxiety.
Punch The Sun’s influences, mingled with gospel and jazz elements, converge on strong melodies: the raw vocal emotion of Fiona Apple, the hookiness of Sara Bareilles, the fuzzy guitars of Weezer, and the impossible-not-to-move-to grooves of Cake. And those are just the artists Shannon cites; the rest of the band brings in their own unique influences, which vary from Incubus to Snarky Puppy to Lake Street Dive.
Thoughtful lyrics wrapped up in catchy grooves and a nostalgic 90’s sensibility make it very easy to like this band. They will be releasing several singles over the course of 2018 as they ramp up to the first album released under the name “Punch The Sun” (they have several EPs as “Shannon Soderlund”) in 2019. They perform regularly in New York City and the surrounding area.
As lead lady, Shannon is the impetus behind Punch The Sun. Influenced by the sites and sounds of her childhood home in Tacoma, Washington, Shannon focuses on clean vocals and dirty bass riffs. High among her reasons for living are excellent bread, interesting beer, makeup nerdery, nature, cats, dogs, and hugs.
In addition to crafting tasty guitar licks, Dru also shapes PTS's sound in the studio as the band's main recording engineer & producer. Having grown up in western New York State, he has a particular fondness for deep lakes and sailboats. He brews his own beer and, importantly, knows the difference between caramelization and the Maillard reaction.
Raised in western Montana, Campbell escaped the trials of life in the mountains by retreating to the comfort of his drumset from ages 10-22. Now he doesn't know how to have fun without a set of drumsticks and a practice pad in his backpack.
Your anything-but-typical midwestern girl-next-door, Pamela has an intrinsic zest for life. Hailing originally from Michigan, Pamela has been a resident of NYC for over a decade. Among her passions are music, writing, cooking, wine, voice-over, and baking cakes modeled after sentimental objects for her friends. She's a very interesting person - just ask her.