SoulSwitch hold nothing back on As It Seems, their six-song debut EP.
The Orlando quintet forges infectious hard rock songs with strands of heavy metal and alternative. Bruising riffs, blazing solos, honest lyrics, and massive hooks converge for a sound that's immediately arena-ready during tracks like "Change" and "Transmission's Lost". With production by Michael "Elvis" Baskette [Chevelle, Alter Bridge] and incendiary shows with Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, and Kid Rock under their belts, SoulSwitch—Tom Huestis [Vocals], Jimmy Kwong [Guitar], Nic Allen [Guitar], Matt Larson [Bass], and Chris Esquivel [Drums]—will have fans everywhere sporting their trademark colors of red and black very soon.
There's been nothing conventional about the group's genesis. After moving to Orlando from Fort Lauderdale in 2006, Kwong was searching high and low for musical partners-in-crime. The guitarist had already penned a stable of songs, but he simply couldn't find the right guys to bring them to life. While seeking out a certain kind of milk at Target, he asked Larson for help. Unfortunately, Kwong didn't leave with the milk, but he did walk away with a bass player.
"Believe it or not, I found Matt at Target," laughs Kwong. "Even though he couldn't find the milk, I thought, 'What the hell? He's got long hair. Maybe he's a musician.' I found out he played bass and we started jamming together. He introduced me to Nic, and things started moving."
From there, the band recruited Huestis who recently relocated from Hartford, while Mouris would complete the lineup shortly after. Rather than instantly jump into the fray live, they spent an entire year rehearsing and honing their chemistry as a band before playing their first show. When they did hit the stage, they started turning heads locally.
Organically cultivating a following around Orlando, the band won local competitions to open up Earthday Birthday festival three times. They've shared the stage with everyone from Saving Abel to Papa Roach, becoming known for hyper-charged performances and even being crowned one of the 40 best unsigned bands in the world at Hard Rock Calling. They were so explosive while playing with Sevendust on New Year's Eve that chants of SoulSwitch's name shook the House of Blues as they left the stage. Now, their reputation as a live force to be reckoned with precedes them, and some national acts have been scared to go on after SoulSwitch in Orlando...
As It Seems captures that live spirit and illuminates the band's tight songwriting. The group recorded during two sessions with Baskette in 2010 and 2011. "He's a great producer," adds Kwong. "He harnessed what was inside of us and really brought it out. It was an amazing experience and we really found our sound."
On the EP, "Transmission's Lost" steamrolls from a propulsive distorted stomp into a powerful refrain. At the center, Allen tears through a fret-burning lead that careens through the bombastic beats. About the song, Kwong reveals, "It's about struggling with addiction, and how that struggle can render someone completely numb. They lose touch and all ability to connect as a result."
Then there's "Saving Me". After an ethereal acoustic intro, the song snaps into an irresistible chorus that's something of a call-to-arms for SoulSwitch. Huestis explains, "The song is about believing in yourself and never letting anyone get inside your head. Everyone loves to give their own opinion on other people's lives. You have to rely on yourself because only you know what the right decisions are for you. With perseverance, you can accomplish anything."
Ultimately, SoulSwitch is about building connections. "I hope fans have a personal connection with the music and the lyrics," concludes Kwong. "I want them to feel connected to the music. That's how we feel when we play live. By the end of the show, they're like family."
As It Seems, that family is about to take over hard rock.