Studio Sessions: Sympotico

At Cougar Radio, we have the pleasure and privilege to work with up-and-coming artists and bands in our music scene. Sympotico is one of these acts. The group is a duo, comprised of Joshua Shutt and Aaron Sheradin. While Sympotico is a new act, the two have a long history in music, and already seem to have a bright future ahead of them.

Both Shutt and Sheradin have been playing music since a fairly young age, but neither of them have had a straightforward story to where they are now in their music. Shutt started his music journey when he was 10 years old with vocals and guitar, and later learned bass at 17. However, he only began drumming last year, and has devoted time to refining his skills quickly to drum for Sympotico. Sheradin began learning guitar and writing lyrics around the age of 13, and began singing around 16. However, Aaron defied the odds to begin playing music in the first place – he was not allowed to listen to music as a kid. His first real exposure to music’s ability to move someone was when he went to a friend’s house and heard Black Dog by Led Zeppelin. From there, there was no turning back.

“Ever since then, I was hooked – I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Sheradin said of that experience.

While, naturally, Led Zeppelin was a huge influence on Sheradin, the band’s collective influences and interests are all over the board. A few influences that came to mind ranged from historical groups like The Beatles and 90s grunge acts such as Alice In Chains and Nirvana, to less mainstream but equally influential groups such as 70s punk outfits Television and The Dead Boys.

Shutt’s first answer, however, was more immediate, and dead-set: “Tool, one hundred percent… Pretty much anything Maynard (James Keenan) writes.” Sheradin chimed in his preference for Keenan’s work in A Perfect Circle over Tool, which they agreed to disagree on.

The duo has played some noteworthy shows as Sympotico already in their young career, but the two also have many stories to recount with previous bands they were in. One memorable story that Sheradin recounts is the time his old band “accidentally” played a show with Danish metal legends, Volbeat. Sheradin’s band was playing in the basement of Croc Rock in Allentown, and after their show was complete, they heard someone come on the main stage. Someone very familiar-sounding…

“I thought, ‘Wow, that’s Volbeat’… I had no idea they were playing that night,” Sheradin recounts, and his band was treated to watching that unexpected show that night.

Despite having amazing memories with bigger shows, Shutt and Sheradin both agree that local shows and local bands are still their favorite. Their local scene has been kind and welcoming to them, and has a few perks for artists like them. Playing with local bands is easier because there’s less risk of clashing egos or the demanding show requirements of bigger shows, such as the pressure to sell more tickets than local shows.

“I love playing local shows, it’s fun,” Sheradin concluded.

Sympotico played their first show at The Hideaway in Stroudsburg at the beginning of December of 2016. The band landed that gig after Sheradin asked if for open mic night, they could bring a drum set so they could perform their first full-band performance as Sympotico, and the owners were all for the idea. From there, the band began to gain radio support from local college stations, and progressed from open mic nights to paying gigs, including a couple small festivals.

While the band may be new, they are already well aware of their goals for the future. Not only that, they’re already acting on them. The duo recently got out of the studio after recording their debut EP, and are working on their first music video to pair with the release, as well. While there is no set release date for the EP just yet, they are aiming to have a couple tracks pre-released online in the near future, and already have videos of live performances of their original songs on their Facebook, as well. In short, their game plan is to release new music and set up a tour, all to get the band name out there as much as they can.

“Our plan is to keep building, trying to build a fan base, then over the summer, go back into the studio, record one more song, add it to the EP… Then hopefully, a couple months from now, we’ll have it built into a full album,” Sheradin explained.

Upon being asked why they do what they do, Sheradin’s first impulse answer was quick – “Life… Life sucks.”

Well, sometimes, he amended.

“It’s not really about being angry, or just saying something depressing – it’s kind of like an outlet to get it out,” Sheradin explained.

The duo love using music as an outlet for their problems and emotions, and if people can connect with and relate to their music, even better. However, one thing they actively aim to avoid is non-genuine connections with fans through non-genuine music.

“I don’t really play or write for other people, I don’t write for what they like… I just write what I like,” Sheradin explained concisely.

After a thoughtful pause following that statement, Assistant Station Manager Sam Midkiff chimed in, “That is such a line… That saying, I could imagine in, like, ten years, and you guys are real big, and you’re coming back to that line (in future interviews).”

If that line becomes infamous in their career, remember, you heard it – and Sympotico’s music – here first on Cougar Radio.

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