Within the barrage of great up-and-coming bands littered throughout the 2019 Savannah Stopover Music Festival lineup, Weakened Friends’ fuzzed out alternative rock stands out.
A relatively new act, Weakened Friends formed around guitarist and singer Sonia Sturino, bassist Annie Hoffman and drummer Cam Jones in 2015. After a few EPs, the band released their proper album debut, “Common Blah,” on Don Giovanni Records late last year to high acclaim.
Drawing influence from the melancholy/wall-of-sound of ’90s alternative rock bands like Dinosaur Jr. and vocal prowess of Kate Bush, Weakened Friends debut album is a meditative look at mid-20s modern life.
Weakened Friends play The Jinx at 11:30 p.m. March 8.
While Sturino is the core songwriter, Hoffman’s studio expertise as the album’s producer and engineer helped steer the recording process.
“I write, predominantly, all of the songs,” Sturino said. “It’s nice to have band member who’s also an engineer, to do that end of it. It’s a good trusting relationship. It was kind of made in-house.”
Songwriting for Sturino is a visceral process. When writing, it’s in the execution of the song where she finds what the song is.
“I never really go into a song thinking about it in advance,” Sturino said. “It just kind of comes out. Sometimes, it’s weird, I’ll write a song and be happy with it, but I don’t really know what it means to me. It will dawn on me a little later. For most writers it’s the opposite. You can be going through something and have a specific feeling and write about it.
“Every now and then, there will be lines that I think are clever when they come out. It’s weird, because it’s not like there's forethought. It’s like, oh that came out of my brain. That sounds cool.
"A lot of it usually, I’ll have it fully written. Annie chimes in a lot with arrangements, as well, and helps push the rhythm section. Which is her brain child. She’s good at that stuff."
The young trio is still in the process of growing together as a band and single musical unit. Sturino’s songwriting is beginning to take new directions as she’s gotten more comfortable with her bandmates and the entire process. A new batch of songs she’s working on will dig a little deeper.
“I am in the process of writing a bunch of material. I am kind of writing it on my own and keeping it a little longer than I usually do,” Sturino explained. “Usually, I am eager and quick to want to arrange it with the band.
“I think the things that I was inspired by on the record aren’t as prominent in my life anymore,” Sturino continued. “These songs are coming from a different experience. Recently, I feel I’ve been digging deeper into things I see in the world and things that are happening in my life and in the lives of people around me... that might not just be sad little love songs.
“At this point, I just try to immerse myself in very strong female energy and female musicians and artists. That’s where I am putting my trust right now and I think that’s been shaping my voice and my opinion of myself. I think it’s so important to highlight and constantly be inspired by people you relate to."