AN INTERVIEW WITH HARMONY WOODS
“I set very high standards for myself,” Sofia Verbilla explains, while reflecting on the whirlwind year her project Harmony Woods has had. “I like to keep things moving, which is great because I haven’t gotten bored yet,” she says with a laugh. The band played their first show one year ago, and have since recorded and performed with acts such as Modern Baseball, and most recently, laid down all the demos for their next record in a single day.
The forthcoming record will be the follow up to their debut, Nothing Special, a cohesive, 12-track album released in May 2017. “Nothing Special has kind of a linear story to it, from beginning to end,” Sofia explains. The songs bring you through the ups and downs of a relationship, detailing every emotion from the happiest to the lowest moments that we’ve all felt. “I didn’t want to assign any pronouns to the person telling the story or the other person in the relationship. I wanted the couples to all be different, so anyone could relate to the songs.” The concept is portrayed in the album art, which features a collage of photographs of people kissing, displayed with different genders and different kisses - some on the cheek, some on the lips.
Sofia started writing Nothing Special while in high school. She grew up in the suburbs of Philly, and when I asked if the city has influenced her songwriting, she replied with a laugh. “Oh yeah, absolutely. I started listening to Modern Baseball in high school and they were a really big influence for me. Then I learned that they were from my city, and I really had no idea until then that there was such a rich music culture there. So I started checking out all these other bands and going to house shows.”
Last year, Sofia had the chance to collaborate with Jake Ewald (of Modern Baseball and Slaughter Beach, Dog) to record Nothing Special. This past October, Harmony Woods played with Modern Baseball at one of three sold-out hometown shows in Philly, before the band went on indefinite hiatus.
Nothing Special features Sofia’s soft vocals paired with lo-fi guitar melodies and relatable lyrics - my personal favorite, ‘avoiding feelings like the fucking plague’ (“The Best Things”). While Nothing Special follows a storyline depicting the highs and lows of a relationship, the new record will be a more diverse collection. “I feel like this record is a combination of stories influenced by my own personal experiences, kind of more of a mix lyrically than the last record,” Sofia says. It will include a re-released, full band version of “Ghosts” - a track that Sofia released as an acoustic demo prior to Nothing Special. Follow Harmony Woods’ journey on their new record, due later this year.