Improvisational space rock collective SoundMass comprises over 10 members from separate bands, including Theta Naught and My Education. “Really, the core is around two bassists and two drummers with a peripheral of instruments including guitars, string instruments, keyboards etc.,” says Ryan Stanfield, founder of Theta Naught and influential member of SoundMass. After years of admiring improvisational music from afar and honing in on his keen ear, Stanfield says the feeling of playing with SoundMass is a one-of-a-kind rush of endorphins. At the root of SoundMass is spontaneity—each recording session is a flush of improvisational sounds that Stanfield describes as avant-garde and exciting: “The thing that attracts me to improvisational music is it’s very different every time you play it, and it’s very organic.” 

The band planned to release their newest album this spring after playing another year of SXSW—until COVID-19 changed everything. After the city of Austin canceled their flagship music, film and art festival, the group quickly had to postpone tour dates that had been scheduled around the country, including some here in Utah. “We were gonna have a local release show for this new SoundMass album here in Salt Lake at Urban Lounge—that show has been postponed 10 months” 

Despite some large obstacles, SoundMass are excited about their new album and the improvisational masterpieces that lie within. Stanfield is particularly excited about the track “Firedemon,” a sort of hybrid that builds from a previous song, “Waterdemon.” “To me, it’s just this fantastic thing of improvisational music,” says Stanfield. The group is still searching for the right moment to release their new album, but we can expect the new spontaneous works within the year. 

Keep an eye out for updated tour dates scheduled for next year, and stream new music from SoundMass on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube.  


Thanks for listening to SLUG Mag Soundwaves.

  • This podcast was created by SLUG Magazine and produced by Angela H. Brown, Parker Scott Mortensen
  • Associate Producers: Alexander Ortega, Joshua Joye, John Ford, Bianca Velasquez, Connor Lockie
  • Executive Producer: Angela H. Brown
  • Music by SoundMass
  • Soundwaves logo and art design by Nicholas Dowd
  • Photo courtesy of Ryan Stanfield.

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