PREMIERE: Healing Potpourri Announce New LP “Blanket of Calm,” Share “Think About Us”
It’s the soft rock band’s debut for Run for Cover Records, and it’s out June 12.
Over the past year, Run for Cover has unexpectedly been scratching all of our itches, from witch house derivative emo to theatrical synth-rock to playful sophisti-pop. Their latest release falls directly into this pattern of surprises: the Boston label are announcing today the signing of San Francisco–based musician Simi Sohota and his new-age-turned-soft-rock ensemble Healing Potpourri, as well as the release of their new record Blanket of Calm.
With a mission statement of presenting music as a “force for comfort and healing” in a time when those things are very much needed, the delicate first single “Think About Us” introduces the project’s new pop direction with plenty of the new age and ambient elements still intact. The retro sounds of the early ’70s popular among SoCal groups like Foxygen and Sonny & the Sunsets is also transparent in the single, the new single’s video presenting images from the city in a familiarly grainy 16mm.
Watch the video below, and read on for a brief Q&A with Sohota. Blanket of Calm is out June 12 via Run for Cover—you can pre-order it here.
Can you explain your thesis of “very purposely aiming to tap into all of the most rejuvenating elements of music”?
Pop music is supposed to make you feel good. I approach that by leaning into whatever I’m feeling and making music that envelops that emotion. There can be a comfort to listening to nostalgic music if you’re feeling that way, which I often am. Mostly I try to write beautiful music because I’m a beauty junkie. My girlfriend and I love to go to the beach, stare at the ocean, hike, and look at different plants and flowers. Making music like this is an extension of that love. The music on this album explores themes of self help, personal growth, introspection, healing, friendship, and love. What can be more rejuvenating than love?
How do you go about incorporating your love of new age and ambient music into a soft rock song?
I love all kinds of music, but I cut my teeth as a college radio DJ exploring new age and ambient music, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I started Healing Potpourri as a new age solo project and my first LP is all instrumentals and keyboard loops. As I started to write more pop music, whether I meant to or not, it still seemed to find a way to seep into whatever I was working on. My last album was more of a mixture of lo-fi bedroom pop songs and new age instrumentals. I’ve become more interested in lounge music lately so my more recent writing style has become a bit of all of those things thrown in a blender. On the new album, the influence of that kind of meditative music can most easily be heard on the instrumentals, but it’s primarily a pop album.
Do you feel that now is a particularly good time for people to hear the record?
There’s no sugar coating it, times are really tough right now for a lot of people. Many people are anxious from job insecurity, being cooped up, not being able to do the things they love or not being able to be with the people they love. The health of the world’s people and politics seem to be falling apart, but now more than ever we need to come together by celebrating art. People have different ways of coping with this kind of stress, but I always turn to music. I think that our new record is very beautiful and calming. I hope that it will spark some joy for all of us that need a bit of beauty and calm in our lives right now.
What appealed to you about releasing music through Run for Cover?
I toured Europe in another band opening for Turnover in September/October 2017, and got to know and love the Turnover guys deeply. We kept in touch, and when we started recording our new album last year I sent Danny and Austin from Turnover some of the tracks we were working on. Danny really liked them and asked if he could send them over to RFC, who has released all of Turnover’s albums, and I said sure. I think it was only a few hours later and Danny said they heard the rough mixes and wanted to talk to me.
From the get-go, RFC was really supportive and really liked what we were doing. They were patient with us when we spent months trying to make the album perfect and when we were weighing our options with what we wanted to do with it, they really made us feel like they could give us the most support. I really love Turnover and am a big fan of Young Guv, another newly signed artist to RFC, and am excited about the direction of the label. Growing up being in DIY bands over the last ten years I never thought I would have the opportunity to get a record deal or have people care about my music outside of my circle of friends, that’s why I’m so grateful to RFC for believing in us and our music!