You might know one of the members from this next band ECHO had the chance to interview. Keaton Stromberg was part of the popular boy band Emblem3 on X factor along with his brother Wesley Stromberg and Drew Chadwick. Flash forward a few years, Keaton is now in a solid new band called The Social along with Tommy Horrock and Alexander Rosca. The Social recently opened for up and coming pop star, Spencer Sutherland and have released their first three singles. ECHO had the chance to visit their in home studio to chat about their beginning days as a band and their future as a band.
How did everyone meet?
Tommy: I knew him (Alexander) since 2017, he and I actually played a couple shows together, I didn’t see him for a couple months and then I saw a craigslist ad and saw them on the ad and I was like hey I know both of those guys.
Keaton: He and I got together, I was putting out a solo record in 2017 and I was looking for some people to play with and put on some shows… which I actually never ended up doing. We got together, and I auditioned drummers and was just looking around for people, we started doing some rehearsing and just vibing together and it felt natural, just playing music. We figured why not start a real band and see if anything cool comes out of it. So, we got together shortly after he saw that craigslist ad and it just fell into place.
How did you guys come up with The Social?
Keaton: We were kind of going across a bunch of different names and we really liked the “The” names; The 1975, The Killers, The Beatles, it feels super solid.
Alexander: Yeah, I was writing it on a board and I was just drawing TV’s and writing out names and we saw the name written out and we were like “oh that’s going to be the one.”
Keaton: He (Alexander) drew the little TV as well which we turned into our logo. The TV also kind of goes with our name The Social, how they bring communities together and how social media is now so that all correlated together.
I know you, Keaton, have been in a band before. Have you guys been in a band at all?
Alexander: I’ve been in bands since I was 16 years old. Last band I was in we went on a few tours, he (Tommy) actually came on one of them where we played Canada and US.
Keaton: It’s crazy cause when I was auditioning drummers, I saw his (Alexander) last band play just to get an idea of how they play and he (Tommy) was playing bass, and he’s not normally a bass player and he had long hair. So, I didn’t even realize that I met him on his birthday and was asking him to come play with me, so when we got back together we were like “oh this is crazy,” full circle, super small world.
Tommy: Yeah, I’ve been playing in bands since I was 12, this is by far better than any other band I have played.
You guys released your third single, “Everything’s Alright,” talk about the recording process of that.
Keaton: We went out to this place called Idyllwild, it’s near the Joshua Tree and its up near the mountains so we went and rented a cabin and it’s coming up on a year ago in June, we had kind of just solidified that we’re a band, we came up with the name and we need to write some songs, let’s go on a trip, I dreamed about going out and writing some music with the guys, so we went up to this cute little Airbnb and brought a small drum kit, guitars and amps, a mic and wrote 8-10 songs and cut down to our favorite 5,6,7 songs and that’s what we got playing out live. The recording process we just came back and started doing demos for it and started to experiment with the sounds we wanted to use and talked about the different bands we like and different instruments, do we want to be a rock band or pop polished, so we decided on this alternative pop thing. We all like these bands such as The 1975, Foster the People, M83, so we incorporated a lot of those synths and after the demo process we just took our time on recording the parts and getting them right. We do it all here (Keaton’s home studio), we kind of did it one person at a time, we got all the equipment out and hit record. In the future we’d love to record all of our parts together and then going to polish and make sure it’s the way it should be for the record, we do what we have to do to make it work. It’s been really cool doing it all ourselves and it’s really cool that it brings us all together and the fact that we actually can do it ourselves. It’s definitely shaping the sound and image of the band.
It’s so normal to have home studios now as well
Keaton: Honestly, I do a lot of the writing outside of the band and a lot the studios I go to are home studios. You just don’t need a giant room with a huge desk anymore that costs a hundred thousand dollars, you can get by with a lap top and a small recording set up, that’s how most hit records are done.
Tommy: To tag along to what he was saying about “Everything’s Alright,” it started off as us writing a letter to ourselves, basically what would you tell yourself if you were a little kid. We did a lot of creative writing when we were on this trip, basically we all had a similar fame of “Everything’s Alright” and that’s what the lyrics deal with. Looking back on your kid-self and looking at the good times.
Alexander: And obviously telling your older self what you’re going through, everything is alright.
What was one great part of your childhoods?
Tommy: This is in the lyrics “Lets ride our bikes from morning to night,” I loved just hopping on a skateboard, I just skateboarded all the time.
Keaton: I grew up in a very small town and would ride my skateboard to the park every summer, so that lyric connected to both of us in a similar way.
Alexander: I could say the same thing, but it would just be repeating haha. I use to have Friday night skate nights with my neighbors and every Friday we would have are rollerblades ready and when the lights went down we had this light post that we would knock out so it would be completely black and then everyone would hide and then the light would come back on in like two to three minutes and then someone would have to go find the others. It was more of an extreme hide and seek.
Talk about “Any Other Way” and “Dancing on the Moon.”
Keaton: So “Any Other Way” was an interesting song, it was one of the first ones we wrote in the cabin and we were wondering if it would be one of the songs that we kept. We went back to listen to all these voice notes that we take in the cabin and we were in the car driving back and we were like wow this is really cool, it had that catchy chorus where anyone could sing along to it. We were trying to decide if we wanted to change it or add more to it, but we decided to just keep it with “Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Then “Dancing on the Moon” was the first song we wrote. I had the idea for the song when my girlfriend and I got together about three or four years ago and early on in our relationship we went to a Walk The Moon concert and it was during their “Shut Up and Dance” phase, where they started to have tremendous success, that was the night where I thought that this could be something special with her and I might be actually into this and so I danced the night away with her, it was at The Greek Theater, this iconic venue in LA, it’s an outdoor amphitheater, it was a magical moment for sure.
Tommy: Him and I were playing guitar riffs and we came up with something, but I didn’t think people would like it because it sounded very 80’s
Do you have a favorite song from the three songs you guys released?
Keaton: That’s hard because they’re all so different. I connect with them on all different levels. “Everything Alright” has a special place with me, when we were listening to the final version, I was driving around just trying to listen to it to see if it was the right song, or if it felt good. I drove with the windows down and saw these kids playing basketball and I just start crying, and I realized that this is what the song is about, it’s about longing for missing out on childhood and wanting to go back to that time and it’s gone now. It has sort of that sadness but it’s also good because it has that message of everything’s alright.
Alexander: It was “Everything’s Alright” until we went on tour and the fans that were at the shows shook me the most on “Any Other Way.” I never played a show where the fans were that involved and sang all the lyrics.
Tommy: I’d say probably “Dancing on the Moon,” it captures the feeling it’s trying to convey. It’s pre-love, just before love hits like butterflies in your stomach. The friction and tension are there and it’s a perfect way to the end.
All of your socials are very similar, is that planned?
Tommy: Most definitely.
Keaton: We pretty much just do a photo shoot and then we use those pics. We did the pink and yellow pictures most recently to go with “Everything’s Alright” because of the summer feeling. It just went with the black and white because it’s simple. It doesn’t distract from us. We didn’t know who we were, it was a good jumping off.
Alexander: The colors were always there
Tommy: And we’re a colorful band, like the colors were always there.
What can we expect in the near future:
Keaton: We’re working on more music. We have approximately an EP of songs, we’re not sure if we’re going to do a full album because we maybe could put it into an album. We’re definitely working on that now and hopefully getting that out for the summer. We want to just get in front of crowds too and get the word out.