MEET THE BAND:Willow Hawks (vocals, ukulele), Jimmy Lo Fi (electric guitar), Kevin Cappy (bass), Eric Heald (drums)
JAM ON IT: Hawks and Lo Fi met through a mutual friend two years ago. At first, they just jammed to see if they might be compatible. "Initially, [Lo Fi] was going to help me record demos, so I could find a full band," Hawks says. "He ended up being in the band." Hawks taught herself to play ukulele by watching YouTube videos. "It was hard because I couldn't find any real influences or bands that used the ukulele that we wanted to emulate," Hawks says. "It's all cutesy girls playing soft love music. I don't know exactly what drove me to play the ukulele. It was just fun. I liked the idea of playing aggressive music on a cute, happy instrument." While it's become trendy to play the instrument in a rock context, Hawks says it wasn't her intention to jump on that bandwagon. "I'm the worst ukulele advocate because I really don't know who else plays the instrument."
UKE-PUNKS: Two years ago, the band wanted to launch its Facebook page with some music, so it recorded a couple of demos. It coined the term "uke-punk" to explain its approach. Those Facebook demos became the band's self-titled debut.
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Hawks' quivering vocals drive the undulating opening track, "Atom," on the new Modern Female Rockstar album, and the rollicking "Shoot 2 Kill" careens with the unbridled energy of a Paramore tune. In the album's first single, "Title," Hawks defiantly sings, "I don't wanna be your merch girl, I wanna be your goddamn idol/And I don't wanna work twice as hard for the same motherfucking title." "I think it's funny that we took the album title from the song 'Title,'" says Hawks. "We actually thought about it for a long time. We had random shit written on a dry erase board. One of us was like, 'What about modern female rock star?' We thought it might be a little too much, but I think it's a theme on the album. After we named the album, it started to take shape for me. I realized that a lot of our songs are focused on that general theme and what is and isn't a modern female rock star. It's about not being controlled." The group cut the album with Steve Perrino of Compass Audio in Akron. "It was a nice recording process," says Hawks. "He has a cool studio in this huge building. We had good help with the record. I had a vocal producer, Madeline Finn. She helped me with the harmonies. She was great. She and Steve are such a good team."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: thesonderbombs.bandcamp.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Sonder Bombs perform with Absinthe Father and Teamonade at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, on Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood.