It is a typical Sunday evening in Whitehorse, and the Whitehorse two-piece alternative rock band Soda Pony is hard at work rehearsing and perfecting material for their upcoming CD release show in June.
They have just finished the recording and mixing process of their second full-length album, aptly called Sophomore, and are eager to showcase their latest efforts and ongoing progress.
Since their formation in 2013, Soda Pony has become an integral part of the local music scene, and one of the best-known acts in town. Guitarist, organist and vocalist Aiden Tentrees and drummer, key-bassist and vocalist Patrick Hamilton got their start in the field of live performance playing with Aiden’s uncle Gordie Tentrees. They have come a long way since then, now each appearing onstage with several different musical groups.
In addition to Soda Pony, Tentrees can be seen with acid rock trio The Sputnik Experiment and folk-rock quintet The Ukes of Hazard, while Hamilton lends his musicianship to alternative rock group The Cryptozoologist and multi-stylist Ryan McNally.
As busy as the two musicians are, there is always time for Soda Pony, and after a short communities tour through the Yukon in May where they visited Watson Lake, Teslin and Carcross, the performers have a healthy level of confidence for the tackling of their next obstacle.
Sophomore will serve as a follow-up to 2014’s The Self-Titled Debut Album, as well as a landmark in the band’s career, showing how far the dedicated musicians have taken their talents.
“The new album has better production… it’s more fleshed out,” Hamilton says. With Hamilton operating a recording studio alongside his father, he and Tentrees are able to spend much more time recording than most local bands, as studio fees are not a worry.
The new Soda Pony record has been in the works since as early as 2015. “There was no rush,” Tentrees says. “We took it slow and careful. We didn’t settle for anything we didn’t want.”
Because the band gave themselves so much time to work on their new recordings, they were able to do a thorough selection process, weeding out songs they felt did not fit, and ending up with their nine favourite tracks.
“They’re newer songs,” Tentrees says, noting that the album will feature material that has been performed live and that audiences are already familiar with.
He says the songs that made it onto Sophomore are Soda Pony’s “best tunes of the past two years.”
Neither member can pick a single favourite track from the album, as each individual tune has been given its own special treatment and hours upon hours of labour.
Tentrees and Hamilton last hosted their own event as Soda Pony in December, where they put on a prom night themed concert in The Old Fire Hall – which sold out.
With the confidence and experience of knowing they can organize their own gig and make it a success, the musicians are ready to put on a similar type of event with their upcoming album release concert, which will take place Saturday, June 3 at 9 p.m. at The Elks Lodge. It is an all ages show, and it will be thrift-themed; attendees are encouraged to dress the tackiest they can.
While Soda Pony has graced many of Whitehorse’s concert venues, this is their first time performing at The Elks Lodge.
“We’re excited to play in a place we’ve never played in before,” says Hamilton. He and Tentrees are also pleased that the event will be open to all ages.
“There’s not too much music for youth right now,” Hamilton says.
They believe that young people should be given the chance to experience the music being made in their own hometown.
Soda Pony’s all-ages concert celebrating the release of Sophomore takes place Saturday, June 3 at 9 p.m. The Elks Lodge is located at 401 Hawkins St. in downtown Whitehorse.
Soda Pony is on Facebook at Facebook.com/Soda Pony and tickets for the CD release show are available on eventbrite.ca