Artist Spotlight: Soup Moat, Convert


A loud evening of powerful rock music occurred at X-Ray Arcade Friday evening, bringing out an enthusiastic crowd of music lovers and friends. Grungy pop band Soup Moat, “death rock” band Convert, and Detroit-based art punk band Child Bite all played.

“X-Ray is a very beautiful place,” said Soup Moat vocalist Jason Jolly. “Sometimes I feel like it gets passed over a bit because of its location, and I think that’s unfair. Everyone’s treated really well here.”

Soup Moat consists of vocalist/guitarist Jason Jolly, vocalist/bassist Frank Knaebe, vocalist/drummer Scott Emmerich, and guitarist Kevin DeMars. They have been a band for about ten years and take their name from an inside joke involving a shampoo bottle.

“It started out with Scott and Frank on a whim and then they added a guitar player who ended up leaving,” Jolly explained. “Then I joined, and we had another guitar player who also left, and then Kevin joined. We’re a band of buddies – friends first, before anything else.”

They just released a new tape of demos called “Inspirations” on Bandcamp this past December. Their last full-length “Harvester of Likes” came out in summer 2018.

“That was all Frank and Scott. It’s actually our record that came out in 2014, but then we put out the demos from when we we writing it in our current practice space, which is like a weird dungeon on the south side of Milwaukee.”

Jolly says a new Soup Moat record is in the works now.

“We recorded a full-length with Shane Hochstetler – it’s ready to go. We might work with Triple Eye again, which we put out the 7” with. We’re trying to get a collective of people to come together and help us release it. It’s called “If We Don’t Die, We’ll Be Fine” (laughs). We’re really proud of it and we played all the songs off it tonight. Our songwriting process is an enigma, just like our band. No one really comes to practice with a full fleshed-out song. A lot of our tracks come from us messing with a riff or are spur-of-the-moment. Then we’ll just play riffs over and over again till we decide if we need to add anything or how we can build off it. Our songs change and mature over time.”

Soup Moat plays Club Garibaldi’s on March 27th and plan to drop their record later this year.

Convert consists of vocalist Dillon Hallen, guitarist Sam Sharkey, bassist Richie Murry, drummer Ben Davison, and synthesizer Tyler St. Clair. They have been a band for nearly a year, formed from veteran Milwaukee musicians deciding to try something new. Their sound is embellished by elements of gothic rock, post-punk, and industrial music.

“It was mainly between Sam and Dillon,” Murry said about the band’s formation. “Sam was in Stink Lines with Wendy and Ryan, Dillon was in Brain Bats (which had just broken up), I was in Assault and Battery, Ben was in Hot Coffin and Get Rad and wanted to play drums again, and Tyler I didn’t know before this. We were looking for a synth player, and that was the missing piece that took a while. We all came together and experimented with a different kind of sound from the rest of the bands we were in.”

He talks about what the band is working on, still being relatively new.

“We’re mainly focusing on recording. We’re working with Shane Hochstetler – who is drumming for Child Bite tonight – and are probably gonna do an LP. It’s turning out great; I think we’re really getting in-depth with it. We’ve all been in a lot of different bands; Shane has recorded almost all the bands I’ve been in, but that was all looser punk stuff. We’re also trying to get out and play a bunch of shows so that we can pay for it. That shit is expensive but totally worth it.”

Convert plays Cactus Club this Saturday. They are honing in on their sound and plan to get out plenty more this year.

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