Last week I decided to browse around downtown before the weather starts getting to the point where that could cause me three months of terrible health and poor breathing. October is truly one of the best times to just grab some friends and roam around the city for no good reason other than to have fun. Last week, I made my way over to The Woodshed, where MiNX were holding their monthly ladies night, featuring Thick N Thin and Vinyl Tapestries. We chat with the later about their careers, along with pics from their performance last week.
Lee Sopko & Samantha Calmes
Vinyl Tapestries on Facebook
Gavin: Hey everyone, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
My name is Samantha, 27 years old and I’ve been an active part of Salt Lake City’s music scene for the past three years. In my free time
I enjoy nothing,
because I don’t have any free time. But if I did, I’d go to the beach. I’m a morning
person. That’s news to a lot of people, because they think that rock stars just stay up all night. My internal clock is set for 7 a.m. every day.
Hi. My name is Lee. I play the drums. I like to cook. I have three big toes. If someone were to die in my family, I would least want my mom to die. I’m the closest with her. She would say the same thing about me.
Gavin: How did each of you get into music, and what were your favorites growing up?
Spice Girls! I’ve been singing my entire life. Coasting on “talent” worked for a while, until a failed audition in 2012 rattled my cage and I couldn’t return to Salt Lake with my head hanging. It’s really my ego that saved me. From that moment forth, I made it my religion to play open mics and power through my fear of performing. I learned that failure is a necessary ingredient of success. I now take pleasure in falling on my face.
I looked up to my brother. He had music and posters and comic books, this whole world I knew nothing about. When he’d be out, I’d sneak into his room and explore. I’d listen to his records: 311, Nirvana, The Scorpions, Green Day—all the classics from that era. Alice in Chains and Cher. When I was 12, I decided I wanted to play drums. My first record was at 16, I still have it.
Gavin: What was it like for each of you to break into the local music scene?
To actually stand up and say “I’m a musician,” without knowing for certain, was terrifying. But the rewards of breaking through those invisible barriers are priceless. It was slow and steady to start. but just like anything else, real results take time, and that’s what I’ve witnessed within
the evolution of Vinyl Tapestries. Salt Lake City has been the perfect set of training wheels along my road to self-discovery.
People in Salt Lake are incredibly receptive. Everybody was really cool. It’s only been like three years so far. I was in L.A. for seven years and nothing happens there. If you are trying to start up something new in L.A., you’d need to go there with a finished product. SLC is perfect, because odds are your idea hasn’t been done yet. I like that about Salt Lake.
Gavin: When did the two of you meet and eventually become friends?
I met Samantha three years ago at the Devil’s Daughter open jam. We both frequented The Woodshed and Green Pig as well. It’s a good thing all three of those places host the best musical jam sessions in town.
We’re not friends. I don’t even like that guy.
Gavin: How did the idea to form Vinyl Tapestries come about as a duo?
The songs to me are based around the vocals. So as long as there could be any other element there to compliment them and lay a foundation, the song begins to take shape. And having drums and vocals is pretty sweet sometimes.
Lee and I work really well together. He’s my best friend and biggest cheerleader. I’m not opposed to bringing on additional members. But it needs to be the right fit, with MANY factors to consider. Otherwise, the creative process and everything that we’ve been working towards is thrown off balance. The duo works with the current phase that we are in.
Gavin: What would you say was the biggest influence behind your sound?
Music can sometimes be a reflection of your life. The same can be said for art in general. We feel our sound is constantly evolving while we continue to evolve. Our songs are a means to express the emotions life forces you to experience.
Gavin: Back in 2013 you released your debut album, From Birth. What was it like putting that together and getting it out to the public?
Exciting, nerve-wracking, but very necessary. The album release confirmed a lot for me. It was my official step onto the scene and it inspired me to assemble the band. That’s when Lee got the call. Our sound has moved leaps and bounds since that first release. It’s a cool landmark to see how far we’ve come.
Samantha called me and asked if I would be interested in performing live
for her record. Before that, I hadn't played with her, however, at every open mic jam I was squeaking in her ear for the opportunity. After the show, other members trickled off, but I felt something in the music that has transformed over the past couple of years, but at the same time remained the same.
Gavin: What’s has been the evolution of the band over the past few years as you've changed?
In the beginning there was one, her name was and shall forever be Lady Tapestry. And she begat no one. But someone else begat Lee and Max, two brothers, you could say. Max played for t260 days, and Lee played for 280. Lee and Max begat Stephen el Schorcho Cox, and Stephen played for 300 days. Then Lee was reborn. We are in the age of the second coming of Lee.
Gavin: What's the progress on the current album you're working on?
The songs are completed. The album is ready to record. And the listening to hungry for some sick tracks, yo! It’s now only a matter of finding the right engineer who shares our vision for the project.
Gavin: Do you have any plans to tour down the line, or will you stick to SLC for now?
Isn’t that the obvious goal, to play out of state? To play out of country
? To play everywhere in the world? Dur. I’m always dreaming big. I put Europe on the calendar for next fall 2016. Why the hell not? Because even if we don’t meet that goal, we’ll have accomplished something magnificent just as a result of putting it out there. There’s no shame in asking for what you want.
Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
I plan on getting another pedicure. I plan taking
this show pony up to Portland and rocking out. There’s a lot of stuff coming up. We have New Orleans on the horizon as well. I plan on seeing the ocean and getting away from the cold. We might be doing something collaborative as far as Vinyl Tapestries. Go out like a lion, in like a lamb. We’ll start 2016 with the same momentum.
Well, you can expect that I’m gonna dress up as a whoopie cushion for Halloween. You can expect that we’ll still be playing music. You can expect… the unexpected! Vinyl Tapestries will pawwwwmp
you up! Chances are good I will be homeless by the end of the year, so buy the album so I can afford to sleep on non-infested sheets.