By Jordan Ottesen
Suit Up, Soldier has been a Provo mainstay for years now, gigging frequently around town and releasing a handful of demos. The band has kicked into overdrive as of late, working hard on a new record with an ultra slick pop sound. See what frontman Wesley Monahan has to say about their brand new single.
You recently re-released a new single “Tongue Tied Twisted.” What was the recording process like? What has changed since the last time you recorded this song?
The recording for Tongue Tied Twisted was co-produced between my drummer, Gavin McMahan, and I. This song has been one of the biggest headaches, if I’m being completely honest. It went through so many versions that sometimes I don’t even remember how we got from point A to point B. Gavin and I went back and forth on every little detail of this song, not because we were arguing, but because we continually asked ourselves “how can we stay true to the song? What does the SONG need?” versus imposing on the music. We wanted the song to grow organically and that required patience, time, and 100% shedding the old version.
It was like pulling teeth for me because I had been performing this song for so many years before we decided that it needed to go in a pop direction. The recording process was a puzzle that was pieced together slowly over 6 months from our home studios. Long story short, the old version was recorded by a different band. Literally! I’m the only remaining member from that first recording. We have all new members and between my personal growth and their input, the new version became what it is today. I remember dropping a bunch of money to make a higher quality recording of the old version at June Audio in Provo with Scott Wiley. It sounded so good, but it lacked proper production. I’d been thinking it needed to go in a pop direction, but I felt stuck and attached to what we had already recorded (for the second time). What tipped me over the edge to revamp the arrangement was when a local fan had straight out told me that it needed to be a pop track and that we hadn’t done our own song justice. That was all I needed to start the journey towards a new vision.
That’s crazy. A lot of hard work, for sure. What are your plans for Suit, Up Soldier? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
All my brain has been able to think about is getting this album out. It’s been a 2-year process and I’m so ready to share it. We’ll wrap it up this summer and the next step will be to tour with it. I have been nervous about scheduling the tour because I feel like it all depends on the response we get to the album. I have to keep telling myself to have a little more faith. In 5 years I want to be touring nationwide (internationally maybe – just can’t wrap mind around that) with at least 2 full-length albums under our belt.
What can we expect from your upcoming album? More tracks in this pop vein?
This album crosses so many styles that I think as long as you remotely like rock music, there’s a song for you on this album. I want to play into our musical diversity as much as possible on this record so that by the time we reach our next record, fans don’t say “ugh, SUS changed their sound.” I want to keep them on their toes. I want fans to always expect the unexpected.
With so many styles on this next record, who would you say are some of your influences?
Mae, Yellowcard, Relient K, Panic! at the Disco, Paramore, The Killers, Paper Route, Young the Giant, MUTEMATH, Switchfoot, Jimmy Eat World, Mike Mains, We Shot the Moon, Cartel, The Starting Line, Ace Enders, The Early November, OK Go, Weezer, and so many more.
Impressive list! Definitely some pop punk legends there. What inspires you to make music?
Music is my release. It’s always there when I need it no matter what I’m feeling. Life is hard. Music helps me let go of the things I so stubbornly hold on to. Slowly over the years, my music will tell my story, even if it’s only for me. But I love the power that music can have when it is shared. I hope to write something that thousands can relate to someday.
What are some of your favorite experiences in the Provo music scene and community?
I love when artists come together for a show they put on themselves or gathering for a good cause. There are so many good artists in Provo that the scene always stays alive and interesting. The coolest thing happened when the owner of Velour Music Gallery needed a new kidney and Provo musicians and music-lovers came together to donate their time, money, and potential kidneys! The lead singer of The Moth & the Flame came through and donated a kidney. You just don’t see something like that anywhere else.
What are some things you’d like to see change about Provo’s music scene?
I see a lot of artists spin their wheels in Provo. Good artists! A lot of them are so cheap and DIY for so long and I am not immune to this culture. You have to start somewhere, right? But I think eventually if an artist really cares about their music, they’re going to have to invest more time and money. On the other side of the coin, way too many artists are willing to be taken advantage of and play for free or pay to play in what I call “black-hole” opportunities that just take and don’t really give back in the long-run.
What are you most excited about in relation to your new music?
I can’t wait for people to finally hear what we’re all about. I’m excited to release this music independently and prove that it can be done. Then I’d like to see if there are opportunities for joining a label or PR company so that I can go full-time on the music-making instead of worrying so much about the management side. That is my ultimately dream: to spend the majority of my time creating and practicing – whatever that may look like.
With how catchy “Tongue Tied Twisted” is, Suit Up, Soldier definitely have opportunities in their future. Make sure to like the band on Facebook and follow them on Instagram (@suitupsoldier_). You can listen to “Tongue Tied Twisted” below!