Originally from London, ON, So Young have been dominating the local scene and while the band has seen it’s fair amount of changes the fiercness from front woman Paterson Hodgson has been the one constant. Starting as a kind of “folk darling” with her project The State Bird Of Idaho, Hodgson’s put down her acoustic and picked up an electric and started shreading. Along with friend Chris Martin, Paterson started changing her folk ditties into polish, garage rock anthems. But the polish started to wear off and the band’s true grittiness started to show. As this happened So Young rotated through some line-up changes and eventually Martin would leave the band too, giving us the current line-up, who are at their strongest when it comes to reimagining Paterson’s lyrics about feminism, shitty dudes and doing whatever you want to. Now the group find themselves in two different spots after Hodgson’s move to the big city but after a bit of a hiatus, they’re finding the way back on track to get new material ready and play a good number of shows this fall. Including their first Toronto show since Hodgson landed in the city, at the SheWolf Radio Anniversary Party. I got to ask Paterson a few questions about where the band is at and what’s next for them.
You moved to Toronto back in the spring while the rest of the band stayed in London. How has that affected the dynamic of the band? How have you guys compensated for the distance?
Paterson: I’ve been doing a lot more solo song writing, in lieu of regular jams. I think this need to finish songs by myself before I bring them to the band is actually making for really different and interesting songs! So far, the distance is working. We’ll see!
How has being in Toronto affected you personally as a songwriter and musician?
Paterson: It might be soon to tell! The biggest impact Toronto has had on me so far is on my art practice. Just being here has really snowballed into getting a lot of illustration and design work, which I’m really happy about and is one of the reasons I moved. It’s all connected too, as I get to know more musicians, they need posters, I make a poster, more musicians see my stuff, and so on. Being the small fish again helps with wanting to get better at what I do. There are so many examples of people really hustling and making some great work, (musically too!) it’s hard not to get inspired.
The band has gone through a couple of line-up changes over the last while with the latest line-up featuring another female member. I’ve noticed a difference in sound but how would you say having another woman in the band has changed the overall energy of the band. Paterson: Playing with Laurie, our new bass player is amazing. Having another woman in the band has renewed my excitement about the band in a lot of ways. Beyond Laurie being a woman, she’s also the best bass player I’ve ever played with. She’s so solid, and so so humble. Her skill and backup singing has definitely altered our sound. I’ve also taken on most of the lead guitar duties over the last year. My style of playing has changed the way we sound, and the energy of our live show has changed too. I’m showing my personality through my guitar playing as well as my singing and banter now. The audience gets excited about that, and so do I. I think it’s a combination of the girl power vibes going on up there, but also just the musicianship of the band these days.
It’s been about a year since anyone’s heard new tunes from So Young. Obviously the move slowed the band down but what do you guys have planned for your next release?
Paterson: We actually have a bunch of songs mostly recorded that we haven’t had time to finish. I’m hoping to release at least a couple of them before the new year. I’ve got 4 or 5 new songs in the works as well, which I might do some solo/home recordings with this fall.
You’ve got a bunch of fall shows planned. What are you most excited for?
Paterson: I’m super excited about playing Handlebar since it will be my first show in Toronto since I moved. Our show in Ottawa is at Gabba Hey, a DIY venue I’ve wanted to check out for awhile. I really like DIY, all ages and alternative spaces. They’re my favourite places to play. I find the people involved and the audiences are always more engaged and invested in the event. I’m actually pretty stoked for all the shows, our little run with Germaphobes in November should be fun too!
Check out So Young at Handlebar (159 Augusta Ave.) for the SheWolf Radio Anniversary Party tonight!