Sound Source: Soultwin discusses their unique minimalist sound

Daniella Tello-Garzon, Reporter


Soultwin’s new song, “SKYRIM,” was inspired by a video game of the same name. Listen to the latest episode of Sound Source to hear the story behind Soultwin’s new unreleased song and understand more about why the band’s music is “meant to be felt live.” 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Daniella Tello-Garzon. You’re listening to Sound Source, a podcast tuning into music on and around campus. The song you’re hearing is called “SKYRIM.” It’s an unreleased single by the band Soultwin, a two-person band based in Chicago that likes to improvise on stage and make minimalist music. Today, I’m talking to Soultwin about their style of music and their new unreleased song, “SKYRIM.” 

SHAWNEE DEZ: Please make all the noise you can for our two great friends. Their name is Soultwin. Give it up. They’re gonna introduce a song, 1-2-3 now give it up!

CHRIS HOGAN: Yo, yo! What’s good guys? We are Soultwin. I’m Christopher Hogan, this is Chris Sanchez. We do instrumental music, so we’re just gonna do this song called “AURA” from our new project.

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: This is a recording from Soultwin’s first live performance at FDC Studios in Chicago during pre-pandemic times. The song playing is AURA, from their first EP, released on March 24th, 2020. But I was curious about what it was like before their first EP, when Soultwin was still only an idea. Here’s what Chris Hogan, the guitarist for Soultwin, had to say.

CHRIS HOGAN: I was trying to put together a band that was really like minimal. I think the initial inspiration was trying to do something that would complement the unique guitar thing that I have going on but also do something that was gonna be an equal spotlight for whoever else was involved in it. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: So, how would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before?

CHRIS HOGAN: To me at least, I would describe it as something like organic. It sounds really improvised, it doesn’t sound planned. It just sounds like we’re figuring it out as we go, and I guess that’s sort of true. We are improvising a lot, and like leading up to actually recording the final takes for the project, we just would jam. Like we would have a rough idea of what we wanted the songs to be, and then we would start with that and just play and make up the rest as we were trying to finish the song. 

CHRIS SANCHEZ: But like, our music isn’t meant to be played through radio or through like speakers, it’s meant to be felt live, listened to live, because that’s where the real vibe comes, and that’s when you can actually feel the music for what it is. We played one of our first shows at FDC Studios, and when we played, everyone was so — the vibe of the song was just amazing. And I don’t think that we’d be able to recreate that just by simply listening to what we already recorded. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: Do you improvise on stage?

CHRIS SANCHEZ: Oh yeah, hell yeah. I don’t think there’s a moment where we’re not looking at each other, deciding where to go, deciding what to do next. 

CHRIS HOGAN: That’s the band in general. It’s just like we’re just bouncing energy off of each other. But live it’s like — 

CHRIS SANCHEZ: 10 times more.

CHRIS HOGAN: Yeah, there’s such a different energy to a live show versus a recording. It’s like I’m looking over to Chris, he’s looking out for cues from me, I’m looking out for cues from him cause we’re just willing to push the song a little further. 

CHRIS SANCHEZ: And that’s just the two of us, as soon as we start adding more musicians to this, if we, if we decide to do that, it’s gonna be the real challenge. A lot of things we do live is improvised. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: The pandemic hasn’t stopped Soultwin from making music. from making music — one of their latest unreleased songs is called SKYRIM. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: Does the song’s name “Skyrim” sound familiar? Chris Snchez, the drummer for Soultwin, told me they named the song after the video game. 

CHRIS SANCHEZ: Chris was just chilling on the couch, man, and I told him, “Yo let me record some drum loops while you hang out and play some Skyrim. I’ll just record some loops, and then you can just see what you can add to it.” 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: This is one of the drum loops that Sanchez recorded that day, and it ultimately became the drum part for the song SKYRIM. 

CHRIS SANCHEZ: I got done recording the loops, and then the first one he listened to was the song we just played for you, and I was like, “It’s my turn to play Skyrim, bro.” And he just started playing, and as I was playing I was getting real Skyrim vibes from it. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: Soultwin has plans to release SKYRIM in the future and is also in the process of writing a new album based on collaboration and good energy. 

CHRIS SANCHEZ: Yeah that’s what this new project is going to be about collaborations with Chicago folks and our musician friends that we have. Just an album based on unity, just like bringing us all together because that’s what the world needs right now: unity and peace. 

CHRIS HOGAN: Hell yeah, totally. 

CHRIS SANCHEZ: Everything is really divided right now, politically and with this pandemic going on, so I figured why not make an album about — an album based on collaboration and show the world that unity is key. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Daniella Tello-Garzon. Thanks for listening to another episode of Sound Source. You can find Soultwin on most music-streaming platforms such as SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music. You can also follow Soultwin on Instagram using @soultwiinn, spelled with two i’s and two n’s. This episode was reported and produced by me, Daniella Tello-Garzon. The audio editor of The Daily is Alex Chun. The digital managing editors are Molly Lubbers and Olivia Yarvis. The editor in chief is Sneha Dey.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @daniellatgarzon