Interview with Sonic Halls
Rooted in Alternative Pop and Rock, Sonic Halls allows musician Marco Estorino to explore all musical genres. He envisions a community of music lovers, where everyone is welcome to roam the halls, open doors, and explore what's inside. Sonic Halls represents inclusion, equality, and acceptance of all music. As doors open, you can expect to hear constant growth and diverse influences, creating a sound that is unmistakably Sonic Halls.
Marco is the perfect example of today’s One-Stop DIY musician. A multi-instrumentalist with perfect pitch, prolific songwriter and talented producer, he works tirelessly from his home studio. He has created original music for a short film, choral group, and educational video series, all while growing his personal catalogue of currently unreleased music.
How did you first get into music?
I’ve always loved music. As a kid I was obsessed with the Wiggles, which taught me about being in a band. My parents always were supportive in letting me mess around with instruments and sing all sorts of songs in the house. I knew I wanted to be a "rockstar" after seeing the Jonas Brothers on Disney Channel in the video for “Hold On”. I was like “ I wanna sing in a windy house like Joe Jonas!”. The moment things really clicked was when I started properly playing guitar and writing songs. My first songs on guitar were all One Direction covers, which taught me a lot about pop song structure. The songs I wrote back then were all about the girls I had crushes on, or something happening with me or my family. They weren't great by any means, but they were a place to start!
Your debut single “Say Your Name” came out this past February, what was your inspiration behind the song?
I actually wrote “Say Your Name” when I was 15 (4 years ago now). It was about a girl I liked at the time. I was scared that if I told her, it would ruin the friendships I had with her and the people surrounding us. I actually wrote the song the night before I was going to tell her. When I went up to her the next morning at school, she introduced me to her new boyfriend! Gotta say that hurt a little. I produced a new track for it last year, and I thought it was a good idea to put it out first. I like it because it’s quite current with the drum production, and it grooves hard with the bass, but the more aggressive guitars and kind of quirky synth plucks give it a uniqueness. It works as a good gateway for the rest of my music to come.
You declare yourself as a DIY musician, because you have experience with so many parts of the music field, what would you say is your favorite part of the process ?
In terms of song creation, I always love recording, production, and finding special sounds that just make you excited about a track. It’s a love/hate relationship. I love creating, but I'm also a total tech nerd and perfectionist. If something doesn’t sound just right or better than what I had in my head, I go into a panic. I go crazy on this one sound that people will probably only hear for half of a second!
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
There are a lot! I think they all come through in my music in different ways. As I said, One Direction and boy bands like them were huge in teaching me about pop song structure, and they also inspire a lot of the vocal harmonies I do. I’m also a huge Pop-Punk fan! Bands like Blink-182, All Time Low, and Boys Like Girls are very present in my mind when writing. Electro-pop artists like The Ready Set/Onlychild or States and Capitals inspire a lot of my synth production. Along with those, I really hope to emulate the kind of genre-fluid nature of acts like Waterparks and YUNGLUD. I've also gotta shout-out Avril Lavinge ‘cause she’s the queen!
If you could open a show for any artist who would it be?
There are so many I’d die to play with, but I’d say 5 Seconds of Summer. They’re another huge inspiration for me, especially in getting into rockier styles of music. I think we’d match up well musically as well. I reckon they’re fans could get down with my tunes!
What can we expect to see from you next?
Speaking of music to come! Well I’ve got another single that will be coming out within the next few weeks. All I’ll say is that it’s a huge departure form “Say Your Name”, but in a very fun way. Get ready to mosh! After that, I just hope to release more music that can connect with people, and if nothing else, get them bouncing!
What is your creative process like?
It varies greatly from song to song. A lot of the time, it’s me sitting with a guitar or piano, and just kind of melodically rambling for half an hour until I have sort of the fetal stages of a song. Once I have the idea for what the vibe is, I start working on a track. Drums and bass are super important to me, so they need to be really strong. Then come guitars, synths, and the hardest, but usually most rewarding, vocals! After all that, I see if there’s any special sparkle I can add to the track. After I’m done recording, I mix it, master it, and a song is born!
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
It’s been happening slowly, but I think the industry, especially labels, need to update the way they work with artists, given how accessible it is to make and release music. Also, I think in rock and alternative communities, gatekeeping has really held those genres back. People need to understand that genres and music as a whole evolve, and if you aren’t ready to evolve with it, you’ll be left behind.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
It’s very eclectic. Overall, I’d say I make Pop music with a very strong Alternative influence. Lyrically, it’s songs about love, mental health, gender expression, and my constant anxieties in terms of how I’m perceived socially. Musically, I could go from a Bubblegum Pop song, to a darker Hip Hop inspired song, then to a hard hitting Rock track! My “Sonic Halls Inspirations” playlist on Spotify says it best. “Emo Boy Band Pop Punk Trap Queen Bubblegum Sad Times feat. Justin Bieber”.
Any advice for young musicians who are just getting started?
Patience is a virtue! It takes a long time to get to a place of confidence in your craft, but put yourself out there as much as possible. Network with other musicians. Ask for opinions on your stuff. To put it simply: Just do the damn thing!