On August 19 & 20, Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, Massachusetts is going to be bumpin’ with tons of bands and musicians performing on two different stages. It’s the return of the In Between Days Music Festival and it features a wide array of acts. There are established stars like Modest Mouse, Lord Huron, Trampled By Turtles, Phantogram and Sunny Day Real Estate along with musical entities from the New England area that include Paper Tigers and Carissa Johnson from Boston and Kat Wright from Burlington, Vermont. Another band from the local region that’ll be taking part is Weakened Friends from Portland, Maine. This alt-punk power trio really knows how to let it rip and they’re going to be taking the Arbella Insurance Stage by storm during the first day of the festival at 5pm.
I had a talk with vocalist & guitarist Sonia Sturino ahead of the event about being from Portland while having a presence in the music scene of Boston, a repressing of a record that’ll be available for purchase at In Between Days, looking at music festivals from two different perspectives and plans for the rest of 2023.
Rob Duguay: While being based in Portland, you’ve had a steady presence in the Boston music scene over the years through touring with Weakened Friends and other bands. What initially gravitated you to that city when you first started playing shows and what are your thoughts on Boston as a whole?
Sonia Sturino: Our bassist Annie Hoffman actually lived in Boston when we first started the band and our current drummer Adam Hand lives there as well. Realistically, being a band based out of Portland and the fact that the city has its own awesome music scene with a lot of really great shows happening and stuff is thriving on its own, Boston is the closest major city and market in a lot of ways. There’s been a lot of opportunities that have come our way, especially through working with Bowery Boston. They’ve been able to put us on shows at Great Scott and The Sinclair while opening for people, which is really cool. We’ve gotten the opportunity to play in front of a lot of people in Boston pretty early on as a band and in turn it has fostered a really good community of fans and friends in that city.
As a whole, we obviously love Boston. A lot of our closest friends are from there and a lot of awesome bands that we’ve gotten to play with over the years are based out of Boston so it’s definitely still in a lot of ways a hometown show when we’re playing in that city. It always feels really great.
RD: There’s a really cool scene in Boston that I enjoy as well so I totally get where you’re coming from. What makes being in a band with Annie and Adam stand out to you versus other musical projects you’ve been involved in?
SS: Annie is my spouse and my best friend in the world so getting to work with her in a creative way while doing our favorite thing in the world, which is making music together, is really, really special. She’s also produced and engineered all of our music as a band and she’s an incredible producer and really good in the studio. Because of our closeness, Annie is able to really push me and she can really understand where I’m going with things creatively, especially with songwriting and when we’re recording our songs. She’s always really helpful in guiding where I’m trying to go with things and it’s really cool to just have someone you’re so connected with in your band who has a very similar vision. That’s super special and it’s kind of the core of what makes Weakened Friends is what it is, both Annie and I’s general relationship and the relationship we have as musicians.
Adam is just a solid drummer and he’s a really good person. I think he brings a lot to the band for that and he’s really solid back there on the kit.
RD: Very cool. In celebration of Counterintuitive Records’ 100th release, Weakened Friends recently released a repressing of the double EP “Gloomy Tunes + Crushed” that will be available at the merch table at the In Between Days Music Festival. Is there anything different about this particular vinyl? Are the records in a different color than the original release or is there a mini poster within the record sleeve or anything along those lines?
SS: It’s a limited press, so it’s kind of a cloudy white vinyl which is different from the last two pressings we did. The original version had a completely different cover and the newer artwork kind of combines a theme from both EPs into one cohesive cover. The limited color of the actual vinyl is new, so that’s pretty exciting. I don’t know if we’ll ever press it again so people should get them while they can.
RD: Yeah, definitely. What are your thoughts when it comes to being part of In Between Days this weekend? Do you feel that events like these can be a little overwhelming with everything going on at once or do you just take it all in and embrace it?
SS: I’m kind of an organization freak in a lot of ways and I also handle all the tour managing & general management for our band, so sometimes festivals can really overwhelm me. They kind of take their own path as far as a typical show would go. Usually with shows, it’s a little more controlled where you get the advance way ahead of time and it’s pretty much the same every night. With festivals, there’s a lot of moving parts and each one operates a little bit differently with a lot of people having different jobs. From a management standpoint, I think festivals can be overwhelming but as a band they can be super, super fun and exciting.
I’m kind of wearing both hats, so I’m usually equal parts excited and equal parts overwhelmed at festivals. It’s ultimately what a cold beer after our set is for, but it should be really fun and I’m very excited for this one in particular. There’s such great artists all around along with bands that I’ve wanted to see for a long time and bands that we’ve played with before who we’re friends with and I’m excited to hang out with at In Between Days.
RD: The entire lineup for the festival is pretty stacked and I’m pretty excited about it as well.
RD: After the festival, what are Weakened Friends’ plans for the rest of the year? Can we expect a new recording of some sort to be out in the near future?
SS: We have a bunch of touring coming up in the fall that’s already been announced. We’re kind of going all over the place and we’re actually going to be playing at Fete Music Hall in Providence again in November. There’s that and eventually we want to button up and do a new record while working on a bunch of new songs that we’ve been hashing out over the past couple of years.