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Sophmore Jakes promote ‘Bullying Sucks’ message

Ryland Moranz and the Sophmore Jakes opened Thursday for the punk bank Childsplay. Childsplay was at Willow Creek Composite on their ‘Bullying Sucks' tour.

J.W. SCHNARR- GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
Fort Macleod’s Sophmore Jakes had a chance to rock out a bit closer to home when they played a show last week at Willow Creek Composite high school in Claresholm.
The band opened for Vancouver hardcore punk band Childsplay, who are on the tail end of their “Bullying Sucks” tour promoting their anti-bullying message at a show which also featured Stavely singer Mariya and Willow Creek Composite student Jordan Baptie in the school gym.
“Claresholm’s always been one of our favourite little towns,” said Sophmore Jakes frontman Ryland Moranz. “We’re glad to get back to our old stomping grounds.”
Sophmore Jakes are in their seventh year together and have released three albums to date. Moranz describes their music as “pop punk, with an emphasis on vocal harmony and being non-threatening.”
Moranz said the message of the “Bullying Sucks” tour is definitely one the Sophmore Jakes could get behind as a band, and felt while the issues surrounding bullying affect everyone, they especially affect students at a high school level.
“It’s really cool they’re doing this tour, said Moranz. “It’s great to show kids you don’t have to be a jerk to have friends.”
Promoting a good cause through a rock concert is also a great way to bring some of those issues to the forefront of people’s minds, because it creates a positive evening with a positive message.
“When we were in high school and something like this (concert) would come along, it would be the highlight of the semester,” he said. “It’s so nice to actually be with your friends instead of just meeting up on instant messaging. It’s a really positive way for people to get together.”
The Sophmore Jakes style includes a blend of humour and harmony in Moranz’s singing style, complimented by tight, fast guitar work and solid rhythm from the bass and drums, much in the style of bands such as Blink 182.
Moranz said ultimately the band is about having a lot of fun. This emphasis on the fun part of punk has been a bit of an issue for the band in the past, as Moranz said they don’t fit well in any one particular genre.
“We’re not indie enough to be with the indie bands,” he said. “But then we’re not hardcore enough to be with the ‘real’ punk bands. For us it’s always been about (fitting) into whatever scene we can find.”
For anyone surprised to hear about a punk show in rural Alberta, Moranz said while the area is predominantly a country and hard rock scene, one never knows what to expect when they come to a show.
“You can go to a little town like Stavely or something, and you’ll find a crazy metal scene,” he said.
He added it wasn’t the case with all towns, however.
“In our hometown of Fort Macleod, we were the only band for our whole lives,” he said.
For more information on Sophmore Jakes, visit them on Facebook, or contact them by e-mail at sophmorejakes@gmail.com.

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