Soveren
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Soveren

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The best kept secret in music

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"Soveren"

Story: Jason Tabor


“I think what we do is divulge the deepest, darkest centers of our own little personal universes up on that stage. Let it fly. It will get as nasty as it wants, and it will get as beautiful as it wants. It takes each crescent of the realm of being alive, from one point to another, and we try to bring those emotions out in everybody at every show.”

– David, from Soveren



Contemplating the duality of man’s nature has long been a fixed reference point among the architects of world theology, philosophy and art.

Soon after primordial man first crawled from the dark depths of animalistic, law-of-the-jungle survivalist existence into the enlightened age of moral civilization, so began the long, arduous process of self-examination that underpins his understanding of his role in the universe. Once man began to recognize and categorize his motives, he also began to make judgments on these motives, ascribing to them labels of good and evil.

As I stood outside Murph’s Other Bar in York, talking with members of the band Soveren, our conversation didn’t really wander into this realm of pseudo-intellectualism. Mostly, we talked about typical band stuff, and I asked them the usual rock band interview questions. However, I was left with the sense that what inspires them to write and play music is the acknowledgement of the ebb and tide of life’s unpredictable polemics: the good and the bad.

“That’s the way life is,” shrugs Soveren’s singer, David. “It turns its back on you every once in a while. I think that kind of describes Soveren. We will take beauty and make it more beautiful than you’ve ever seen it; but then we’ll take hate and pain and make them feel worse than they ever were.”

When asked to describe their music to the uninitiated, founding member and guitarist Shawn Kern responds, “Very diverse, hard, aggressive, all-original rock and roll. But then, there’s also a lot of melody going on there too.”

The range of influences among the five members of the band runs the gamut from classic rock to modern rock and even country. (“From the pentatonic blues scale all the way up to the mixolydian scale,” for all you guitar players out there.)

Perhaps David, who goes only by David, most aptly (and vividly) describes the Soveren sound as “the journey lava takes before an eruption. It will take a slow, long journey to build up enough steam to blow the fuckin’ balls off the goddam universe.”

Indeed, my impression after watching Soveren perform was that they rock out mightily, pounding out tribal drumbeats, thumping bass lines and blood-curdling, sheets-of-metal guitar riffs. Not to mention a high degree of out-and-out apeshit from David, who stalked around the stage looking like a man unhinged, alternately singing and screaming his lungs out for the hour-plus set. The frenetic live show seems to be a cathartic expression for all members of the band, and for many in the audience as well. As Kern puts it, “It’s personal therapy.”

Soveren began playing together almost seven years ago, hailing from Spring Grove, an area more noted for its lumber and paper mills than its aspiring young rock bands. From the outset – as illustrated most obviously in the creative license in the spelling of the band’s name – Soveren’s focus above all else was on freedom. Creative freedom, artistic freedom – freedom and independence borne of writing and playing music for their own reasons as opposed to just wanting to “be in a popular rock band.” It’s refreshing to see a band with this kind of purity of intention in an era where artistic and philosophical steadfastness is so readily thrown to the wayside in a mad dash for the almighty dollar. Kern describes it as “unable to be controlled by a higher authority. One’s own state. We wanted to have something to do with that.”

Soveren began playing shows, opting to play their own brand of original hard rock and eschewing the staple of most young, hungry bands’ diets: cover songs. This approach worked well for them, earning them a legion of rabidly loyal fans that Soveren refer to as “The Tribe.” “We really appreciate a lot of our fans,” smiles bassist Dustin Sterner, “who’ve been with us for a long time.” Soveren are adamant in expressing their thanks to The Tribe, who in the past seven years have become a sort of extended family for the band.

“We really appreciate their support,” Kern agrees. “Cover bands, or whatever, might bring in a lot more people than us, but the people we bring believe in us and are really faithful fans.”

Most importantly, Soveren’s fanbase stood by them when the band took a hiatus in early 2003. And when Soveren reformed with new members Rob Strickler on drums and Noah Linebaugh adding additional musical burliness on rhythm guitar, their fans enthusiastically welcomed them back with open arms and raised fists.

David and Kern remain the primary songwriters of the band, while everyone else lends his talent in writing parts to form a cohesive whole.

With the “rebirth” of Soveren, the guys have been writing new songs that make up the bulk of their current live show and will eventually be released on a forthcoming CD they hope to complete sometime in the near future. Their previous CD, Believe Chainge, originally came out in 1998 but was re-released in 2003 with three new studio tracks and one live cut. Soveren are currently playing three to four times a month in Lancaster, York, Harrisburg and Baltimore, opening for national acts like Breaking Benjamin, Blindside and most recently for Jimmie’s Chicken Shack at the Chameleon Club.

The thing I liked best about interviewing Soveren was the fact they make no bones about the fact they’re just normal, working dudes from York who put in 40-50 hours a week at their day jobs. Zero rock star pretension. They play music because they’re compelled to do so, because it’s their passion, and that’s readily apparent by listening to the music or witnessing the intensity of their live show. Strickler concedes, “When we’re up there, we’re feeling something we pour our hearts and souls into.”

As far as what’s in Soveren’s future, they’d like to get signed and start touring – the same things all rock bands would like to do. But more importantly, Kern says, “That’s only part of it. What we’d really like to do is bring back rock with meaning.” I believe they’re well on their way.

When asked for a parting comment for the article, they responded without hesitation, “Let the revolution begin.”





- Fly Magazine December 2004


Discography

Albums - Believe Chainge*
Time*

Tracks with airplay - Blood Money, Failed Working Environment (used in radio commercial)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Soveren, a 5-piece band from York, PA, has created a revolution in the local original music scene. With powerful vocals, meaningful lyrics, and musicianship to boot, Soveren has been able to overtake a loyal following of family and friends fittingly named "The Tribe". Soveren has played in many local and regional venues including but not limited to Fat Daddy’s in York, PA, The Recher Theater in Towson, MD, The Vault in Maryland, Rock the Block in Shamokin, The Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA, Dragonfly in Harrisburg, PA, plus many others. Soveren has played with national acts such as Blindside, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, Breaking Benjamin, No Address, and most recently Shinedown and Theory of a Deadman. You can hear "Blood Money" off of Soveren's CD titled "Time" on 105.7 the X "Under the Radar", as well as "Failed Working Environment" has been featured in a commercial on the radio. Due to Soveren's reputation for electrifying stage shows, feature articles about the band have been written in local publications such as Fly Magazine and Unsung Hero. The mission is simple. Soveren has a vision, desire, and focus to bring live original rock back to the masses. With a concentration on playing great music, but combining the music with a great stage show, the Soveren shows will grab you and make you an instant fan. May the revolution begin…