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Symbol Soup - At Home in the Studio.

Words by Augustus Lindsay

In light of his most recent album Slow Puncture, I caught up with Symbol Soup’s Michael Rea to talk about the release.

Credit: Sirus Gahan

Softly spoken and reserved in conversation, it is no surprise when Mike tells me he is most at home, musically, during the recording process.“I just like…having tracks, having the recording and just building on it every day. Going over it, adding stuff, taking stuff away, playing around with the actual sound of it. It’s just always…a lot of fun. Playing live can be great, but I think a lot of things have to come together for me to enjoy it. And that happens about less than half the time.”

Bedroom production doesn’t quite capture Mike’s recording process as he tells me “When I started recording these songs I didn’t even have a bedroom we could record in. I just had one really nice dual pre-amp…and we’d get that out when my friends were at work. We had to set up and pack down every time” he laughs in recollection. This makeshift, make-do approach comes across well in the record. It’s homemade, shoe-gaze, tractor-emo-styled British-Americana. “It just hits more for me, that sound. It feels natural to sing in that way, rather than any other genre. It’s talk-singing… and it feels like something I can pull off y’know, it’s not Post-Punk.”

Credit: Sirus Gahan

When it comes to influences, Sparklehorse, Big Thief and Silver Jews rank highly in Mike’s work. “I wish I could sing like Adrienne Lenker. I often have ideas and then think…well…it would sound good if she sang it. [I also wish I could collaborate] with their producer Andrew Sarlo. Everything he does sounds so great.”

He tells me about homage that is paid to Silver Jews in one of the song’s lyrics. “We actually had to take some of them out to make it a bit more obscured, but I know already

that someone still picked up on it from the half lyrics so I’m glad about that.”

Symbol Soup have a short tour of Portsmouth and Southampton coming up with Rotterdam’s Nagasaki Swim. Find tickets for these two on Skiddle and Dice.

The Marcel Proust Questionnaire with Symbol Soup!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

No stress.

What is your greatest fear?


What is the trait you most deplore in others?

No good answer.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


Who is the living person you most admire?

Right now, Richard Linklater.


Just a cool, chill guy.


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