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Sound Off!

The Northwest’s premier 21 and under battle of the bands.

  1. One Above Below None took home First Place in 2015. Their prize package included performances at the Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot—not to mention a ton of awesome new gear!

    Pictured: One Above Below None perform at Finals 2015.

    Photo courtesy EMP staff.

  2. Sound Off! paves the way for new artists to be heard. In 2015, semifinalist Emma Lee Toyoda took home the Audience Favorite award, and was selected to play at Timber! Outdoor Music Festival, the KEXP Community Concert, and Northwest Folklife. 

    Pictured: Toyoda performs at Finals 2015.

    Photo courtesy EMP staff.

  3. The Sound Off! Finals concert take place in EMP's impressive Sky Church venue. These performances are an energetic celebration of the Sound Off! mission: to connect young, up-and-coming artists with their artistic community.

    Pictured: Bleachbear perform at Finals 2015.

    Photo courtesy EMP staff.

  4. For incoming seminfalists, the Sound Off! orientation provides a rare opportunity to network with industry professionals and receive career advice from the perspective of venues, artists, festivals, labels, journalists, and more. 

    Pictured: Semifinalists at the Sound Off! 2014 orientation.

    Photo courtesy EMP staff.

An annual event since 2001, EMP’s Sound Off! supports the all-ages scene by giving artists an opportunity to showcase original music, launch their music careers, and connect with the larger artistic community.

Now in its 15th year, Sound Off! has paved the way for some amazing bands and artists including The Lonely Forest, Dyme Def, Sol, Kithkin, Brothers from Another, Manatee Commune, Fauna Shade, Schoolyard Heroes, Tomten, and Brite Futures. Read more about and listen to tracks below of the newest group of Sound Off! bands to join the ranks of these luminary musicians.

Schedule

Saturday, February 13, 2016
Semifinals #1 featuring Copalis, COSMOS, Jazzy Tee, and Party Shark

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Saturday, February 27, 2016
Semifinals #3 featuring Dre'zy and Too Smoove; Hello, I'm Sorry; Paralexis; and LEE

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Saturday, February 20, 2016
Semifinals #2 featuring Animal Camera, Crews, Paris Alexa, and Travis Thompson

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Saturday, March 5, 2016
Finals featuring the winning band from each Semifinals round plus the wild card winner.

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Sound Off! Info + More

 

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Sound Off! 2016 Band Bios

    • Animal Camera

      Animal Camera

      Burien, WA (indie pop/rock)
      Psych-pop outfit Animal Camera is perfectly in control and simultaneously ungovernable. At times they are extra-terrestrial, eccentric, and dreamy (echoing an Ariel Pink basement recording) before suddenly transforming into a murky, menacing, rambunctious, and even campy sound (invoking intonations resonant of Lux Interior of the Cramps). One thing that becomes clear quickly is that this is a band with a sense of humor and a shrewd wit. Their gloom is offered alongside a joke, and we’re happy to both laugh, cry, and rock with them.

    • Copalis

      COPALIS

      Woodinville, WA (indie/psychedelic punk)
      Copalis slowly starts to assemble their mood within a blizzard of scourging guitar chords: dark, spooky, and intriguing. Inspired by a wide range of bands including Radiohead, Weezer, the Beach Boys, and the Pixies, they ride a brooding swathe of inventive rhythms and subtly layered vocals to transform your standard psychedelic grunge into their own unique brand of slightly angsty, quasi-anthemic song.

    • Cosmos

      COSMOS

      Seattle, WA (hip-hop/R&B)
      COSMOS’ brand of genre-busting hip-hop is densely layered and expertly produced. With influences including Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance the Rapper, it’s no surprise that a bold, hybrid sound underscores their easy swagger. From sax solos to electro-beats, their natural charisma as storytellers shines through the speakers with a meticulously crafted sound they describe as a “Sunday Morning after a kickass Saturday night.”

    • Crews

      Crews

      Olympia, WA (indie rock)
      Led by Tom McGahern’s beautifully haunting vocals, Crews elicits a wellspring of emotion that pivots on a clean, echoing guitar line. It’s an expressive voice, changing and morphing with the mood of the songs. With influences from Tame Impala to King Krule, the riffs here feel instantly knowable, but the unique beauty of McGahern’s vocals as they spill across the background pull you into an atmospheric journey on a dark and winding path, a restless tension underscoring each curve in the road.

    • Dre'zy and Too Smoove

      Dre'zy and Too Smoove

      Renton, WA (hip-hop)
      Dre’zy and Too Smoove describe themselves as “a band that likes surprises,” and they deliver on that promise with soulful hip-hop that demands you dance to its smooth sounds. Chock-full with catchy beats alongside their laid-back attitude, their musical inventiveness is best approached as an instrumental head-trip. Citing influences from A Tribe Called Quest to Snarky Puppy, expect something new and exciting from them at each performance.

    • Hello I'm Sorry

      Hello, I'm Sorry

      Bellingham, WA (rock)
      Rock outfit Hello, I’m Sorry rests somewhere in the balance between melody and menace. The music is trebly and drowned in indistinct reverb, stumbling its way from speed-freak noise of staggering volume to almost-bouncy pop—a sonic landscape where distortion is promoted as a featured attraction. Nevertheless, underscoring this flurry of sound is an earnest, romantic belief in something beautiful and unattainable in the midst of it.

    • Jazzy Tee

      Jazzy Tee

      Vancouver, BC (R&B/hip-hop)
      A range of beats punctuated by wild vocal displays and tempered by soulful crooning characterize the best of Jazzy Tee. With inventive phrasings and rap eruptions that delve deeper into her signature sound, her lyrics already assert her place as a leading lady in R&B: “I float like Lauryn and I’m bobbing like Alicia.” She may be right: her sultry mix of contemporary R&B, hip-hop, and soulful pop is strong, forceful, and self-assertive—not to mention maddeningly catchy.

    • LEE

      LEE

      Seattle, (indie pop, R&B)
      In its own way, LEE’s music is ambient music: it drifts, ebbs, and flows. Taking inspiration from artists like Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, and Robert Glasper, her eclectic style compellingly drifts across genre lines, and is underscored by soft melodies and slow-burning beats. But it’s LEE’s voice that guides this visionary sound at a lounging, loopy leisure, intimately pulling you into the depth of her story, one filled with mantra-like messages of hope and determination.

    • Paralexis

      Paralexis

      Lake Stevens, WA (electropop)
      Paralexis translates directly to “a feeling beyond words.” Influenced by the work of the dark and upbeat ASTR, dreamy Odesza, and throwback princess LIZ, their electropop sound dives deep into syrupy synths and neon lights, encompassing the strongest of our deepest emotions. Their music is like a dream; shades of meaning hidden in the colors and the narrative—all wrapped up in a warm oasis of sound and rhythm. 

    • Paris Alexa

      Paris Alexa

      Redmond, WA (R&B/pop)
      Paris Alexa’s playful doo-wop pop is masterfully crafted using nothing more than a bit of technology and her voice. Many of her songs are done using no instruments, and indeed Alexa’s strength comes from her complex vocal arrangements, ones with Motown and old-school soulful cues written all over them. Citing influences from Sarah Bareilles to Earth, Wind and Fire, the resulting sound gives her brand of pop plenty of separation from the rest, adding a unique R&B flavor to the contemporary pop song. 

    • Party Shark

      Party Shark

      Lake Forest Park, WA (rock)
      Party Shark describes themselves as “a shark with sunglasses, on land at a party, eating people alive.” And that’s exactly what they are: a shrieking, shredding, psychedelic scattershot of styles with fuzzed-out hooks dished out at blazing speeds. With influences ranging from David Bowie to Bad Brains, the four-piece sound like they’re having a blast, excited with every sound and riff they produce, even as they slow down to zoom in on the details.

    • Travis Thompson

      Travis Thompson

      Burien, WA (hip-hop)
      Seattle rapper Travis Thompson is a throwback to a time when hip-hop music was light-hearted and fun. Refusing to take himself too seriously, Thompson raps about being a pudgy, hilarious goofball. That type of self-awareness and honesty lends an authenticity to his music that’s missing in most of today’s radio raps. Through his genuine verses and slick beats, Thompson is quickly raising his stock with songs on wide-ranging subjects including Tom Hanks, Horchata, and social justice.

Questions?

Email SoundOff@EMPmuseum.org


EMP would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support of Sound Off!:

Bumbershoot 2016SasquatchKEXP 90.3Timber

DunlopFastback StudiosFenderGlazersHotel MaxLondon BridgeNorthwest FolklifePagliacci PizzaTalking Rain