Gig Seeker Pro


Grand Rapids, MI | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Grand Rapids, MI | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Noise





Brooklyn-based post-punk band Sojii just dropped “Milk Sop,” a quick-and-dirty single release to usher in the new year. They self-describe as a “musical tonic for every dark and ecstatic feeling” performed by “yung kids playing guitars in brooklyn ny,” and I think that shows a pretty solid amount of self-awareness. I know about them because of their intersection with Invertebrate, the record-label-turned-booking-company responsible for the quick ascent of acts like field trip and fur. They’ve played spots like Aviv and Muchmore’s in the past, and next week they’re playing a pretty rad gig with PSYMON SPINE at The Knitting Factory. Without further ado, here’s our premiere of “Milk Sop.”

The track opens with a whistling/blaring guitar lead riff and a drum roll that leads into a mid-tempo, sludgy jam. If I had to characterize the riffing and chord progressions on “Milk Sop” in one word, that word would be angular: it feels like I’m being methodically jerked around a sterile chamber as women yell indiscernible things in my ear. In the end, the brutality of this experience isn’t half-bad, either – there’s a really pleasing rawness here that pulls Sojii’s sound as far away as possible from the usual contriteness of any Brooklyn band that labels itself as post-punk. I haven’t had the chance to catch them live yet, but I’m sure their performances are just as gritty as I’m imagining them. I’m reminded fondly of Metz and their distinctive music videos – I look forward to the day when Sojii start to work with the scores of talented videographers who inhabit NYC. - Jonathon Ben-Menachem

"Sojii, "Adagio" Video Post-Trash Premiere"

by Rebecca Satellite

There's something about the Great Lakes region (perhaps those brutal winters) that seems to be a breeding ground for excellent noise rock. While I had previously associated this particular musical export with Minneapolis and Chicago (think Buildings, Tongue Party, Ribbonhead, Salvation), it turns out Michigan is just as strong an incubator for the disgruntled among us. Grand Rapids based outfit, Sojii, delivers its distinct flavor of dissatisfaction in the video for “Adagio,” premiered here.

The brainchild of lead guitarist/vocalist Valerie Salerno since 2015, Sojii’s personnel on this song includes Danny Sein (bass) and Donny Olin (drums). In keeping with the group’s musical lineage, “Adagio” was engineered by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago, and appears on the band’s self-titled album, Sojii.

As the video opens, we take the position of a voyeur let in on a secret. Accompanied by a backdrop of slow, repetitive Birthday Party-esque bass, sparse drums, and flares of bristly guitar, a group of disaffected Y2K-era millennials guides us into what appears to be a barn, but quickly turns any notion of the pastoral on its head. The scene changes from eerie to maniacal, as Salerno’s chants of “stay humble, drink my blood / We can all wear burlap” boil over into a screeching, cacophonous rapture of violence and revelry.

“Adagio” manages to tackle a dazzling array of themes and in the same breath deliver a hypnotically heavy track that would make The Jesus Lizard raise an eyebrow. There’s a lot to unpack, from the subversion of communion to the repeated line, “all strong things are men,” and Salerno offers insight into the themes at play. "All strong things are men" is the silent incantation every single person on this Earth has, indoctrinated by millennia of patriarch." She continues, “I find that the oppressor (speaking generally) will often use parables exemplifying humility and modesty in the impoverished or "degenerate" to discourage the marginalized from rebelling or even just making a better life for [themselves] than what society feels fit."

”Adagio” flips the narrative, as an all women and non-binary cast (and crew, with the exception of co-director Andy Miller), perform a last supper for each other and no one else. Watch the contained chaos unfold below, and stay tuned for more Sojii in 2019. - Post-Trash

"Sojii's Debut Record is Explosive"

To create this album Valerie, Danny, and Donnie of Sojii traveled to Chicago to record with Steve Albini of Big Black. What emerged was the soundtrack of the apocalypse.

Most people are preparing for the fast approaching apocalypse by collecting ammunition, burying gold bars and

collecting MRE rations, but not me. I am preparing for the inevitable end of times by building a playlist. Well, at least I WAS building a playlist until I realized there’s no better album to wander the wasted ruins of civilization with than Sojii’s self-titled debut.

Sojii, the Grand Rapids based power trio, makes music appropriate for a deathmatch in the Thunderdome. Their debut is nuclear, and West Michigan is likely to feel the fallout embedded in its DNA linger longer than ionized radiation. Expect to see generations of twisted mutants rise from the dust, shambling toward the next show, clutching this album long after society has collapsed.

“Henderson” opens like a concussion grenade. Then builds tension with smooth rhythms which roll through a twisted lyrical landscape of murderous intent. The lyrics revel in grisly imagery, laughing in the face of its most visceral details. All this drives toward Valerie’s haunting death rattles which curdle the blood and linger like nightmares.

“Pigpen” is a dirty fight, as messy as the title. A chaotic bullying composition which jabs and punches and pushes you down as it taunts and teases. The breakdown is cathartic and the outro is well earned.

“Adagio” is a dark prayer to a malicious god. It chants with ritual precision to its climax, and is genuinely frightening to experience live. The recording might be cursed, I can’t ever get through a play of the song without my lights flickering. Don’t listen to it in the dark by yourself.

“Schmuck” spins around a tribal bonfire in a whirling dance, out of control, always on the edge of disaster. It teeters close to the flame. It smells like ash and tastes like soot. It burns like hot coals at your feet. It concludes with a smokey breakdown, somber as a funeral pyre, building to a final suicidal leap into the flames.

“Dowry Death” is confrontational and complex. Sliding smoothly between furiously in-your-face and hazily, dissociated. The eyes roll back as the noise fades into one of my favorite instrumental sections on the album. Here Sojii really flexes their technical proficiency and shows they could create harmonious sounds, they just don’t feel like it.

“Milksop” is my favorite on the record, second maybe to Adagio. Certainly the least experimental, on what is quite a noisy, ambitious record. But it is exactly the clean simple structure of this song that resonates with me. If Sojii were just another punk act, this is what their whole record would sound like, and while I would still like that, I’m glad it doesn’t.

“Fromme” leaves with a strong impression of what Sojii’s favorite songwriting elements are: driving, violent rhythms, varied sections, strange song structure, and repeated elements all building toward a cathartic breakdown or outtro. Sojii’s songwriting captures a typhoon of chaotic emotion, taking you from manic to depressive in a single verse. Sojii wants to give its listeners an adrenaline rush stronger than a near death experience. Sojii wants listeners who after that rush come looking for the next thrill.

Sojii isn’t post-punk, because post-punk clings to regurgitated convention. Post punk is a rehashing of old ideas, applying aging aesthetics to current conventions. Sojii is post-apocalyptic. Think less music for angry teens, more sonic beatdown initiation into a band of tribal raiders. Grab your copy of their debut online before the bombs drop, you’ll need it.

Sojii is Donny Olin drums, Valerie Salerino vocals and guitar, and Danny Sein bass. You can listen on Bandcamp, Spotify, and catch them on an American Tour this March. - Skip-Fiction

"10 Local Bands to Watch in 2018"


Hometown: Grand Rapids

Genre: Post-punk, trench funk

Recommended If You Like: Savages, PJ Harvey


Relative newcomers to West Michigan’s music scene, lo-fi sludge rock band Sojii centers around frontwoman Valerie Salerno, who reassembled the trio when she relocated to GR from Brooklyn. Now backed by bassist Danny Sein and drummer Donny Olin, the band sounds absolutely monstrous on its seven-song album released late last year and mixed by the legendary Steve Albini. Road warriors through and through, look for the group to blast its grimy noise everywhere this year. - Revue

"Revue's Best Albums of 2018"


Although technically released in late 2017, this debut from frontwoman Valerie Salerno and company roared through the year with the sort of fuzzed-out fury that never stops reverberating in your chest. Self-described as “trench-funk,” the band enlisted the legendary Steve Albini (of Nirvana fame) to record this seven-song blast, and his expert touch channels the band’s unbridled energy into a seamless but sludgy package. - Revue

"Sojii Debut Andy Miller-Directed ‘Milksop’ Music Video"

Sojii are debuting the music video for their song ‘Milksop,’ off their self-titled debut release. The music video for ‘Milksop’ was directed by Andy Miller of Orange Cap Pictures. We talked to Andy about the collaborative process behind creating their new music video.

“I came to know Sojii through the guys at ANKA,” Andy remembers. Andy was a key player in helping ANKA create music videos for each track off of their latest record. Andy recalls that “Sojii was always down to help.” Andy says “the idea for the visual kind of happened out of nowhere.” Andy says that he and the group were brainstorming ideas and one of the first concepts they came up with was “a guy in a cheerleaders outfit and wig getting chased by cannibals.”

Andy remembers the process of creating the music video as “a fun experience.” Their only real issue was weather. “We worked as the sun was coming down and it was hella cold. Other than that it was smooth sailing,” he says. Andy says that much of the inspiration he gets for doing music videos comes from the bands he works with, and his collaboration with Sojii was no exception. “Anytime I get to create with a genuine band who’s down for the wild and wacky ideas… it all just flows naturally,” he tells me. The advice he offers to anyone making music videos is this: “have fun.” He says that while it sounds “corny,” it’s this approach that “makes me feel like a kid again with the family camcorder making action movies with my friends.”

Check out the music video for ‘Milksop’ below. - Skip-Fiction


Sojii, from Grand Rapids, has a post-punk sound lined with grime and sweat. JUNKMALE, their new track, now released on video is hellish. It’s a slow climb through a web of mildew and eye-gunk into Adderal-induced heart palpitations accompanied by a comedown with crawling skin, dehydration and strained eyeballs looking at a new day.

Sojii, then consisting of Val and Katie, played at The Smiling Skull last winter. They killed it to a dim-light crowd of dirty old men on beer-stained floors. After all The Skull is what it is. I talked with Val about the new band members, their evolution of sound, and when the “Sojii Express” will be hauling back to Athens.

Mad Penny: What’s up with these new band members?

Valerie Salerno: The new lineup is an amalgamate of the current active passengers on the Sojii Express. It’s Donny Olin on drums, Danny Sein on bass, and yours truly on guitar/vox. Katie Palmer is the main songwriter for Junkmale, and playing bass in the recording.

MP: How has your sound evolved?

VS: Our sound has changed in that Donny has introduced a warm seasonal spice.

MP: How did you approach this song, musically?

VS: Katie wrote the main melody of JUNKMALE for the most part. I just made all my parts really feedbacky and slimy.

MP: Favorite band right now?

VS: Show Me the Body from NY.

MP: Your ideal crowd?

VS: Ideal crowd is the one that doesn’t get chased out by cops. Or at least one dog or cat present.

MP: What do you do on the day-to- day?

VS: I bike bread around for tips and play guitar. - Jettison

"Sojii s/t – tape False Profit records 2018"

Quand un groupe fait penser directement à des anciennes idoles comme Jaks, Jack'o'Nuts ou Bar-B-Q Killers et même Loraxx, tu ne te poses pas 36000 questions et tu fonces acheter la cassette (jaune). En plus, pour mettre toutes les chances de leur coté, ce groupe situé dans le Michigan a été faire un tour à Chicago pour enregistrer chez qui vous savez pour être sur que ça sonne d'enfer. Et ça sonne d'enfer. En plus de l'invoquer. Ah, ces petits rires démoniaques dans le fond sur Adagio pendant que la hurleuse en chef(fe) Valerie Salerno roule des yeux puis vous susurre dans le creux de l'oreille de boire son sang. Je lui donne tout de suite n'importe quel bon dieu en confession. Elle a aussi un problème de logique sur Fromme. Pourtant, c'est d'une logique implacable. C'est du noise-rock racé et carnassier, historique et revigorant comme au premier jour. Avec ce qu'il faut de vices et de déviances pour mordre à l'hameçon et ne plus le lâcher. Avec une guitare qui fait un mélodie trop poignante la main sur le cœur pour ne pas tout saccager la minute après sur Dowry Death. Ou s'aventurer dans un marécage lugubre sur les cinq minutes de Pigpen qui joue avec les nerfs, les pics et les trous noirs. Arpèges aiguisés ou fielleux, rythmique de grands fauves toujours prête à bondir, Sojii a la griffe du chien en lui et la maîtrise des groupes qui ont déjà tout compris. La touche ultime serait désormais de voir ce disque presser en vinyle. Le label anglais False Profit n'a pas dit son dernier mot. Mais rien n'est sûr sauf le fait que vous devez absolument écouter Sojii.

SKX (29/05/2018) - Perte & Fracas


When I first listened to Sojii’s S/T, I imagined they’d look like a crazed cult. I imagined them being a band of suspects in the 1992 Norwegian church arsons. Sojii, to me, was going to be a bunch of Rasputin-worshipping psychopaths that live in a cabin in the woods somewhere in Michigan. When I watched a live video of them playing, they looked like the exact opposite. They looked like entirely normal people that had made some very powerful, abrasive, and emotional music. This, in my opinion, is their strong suit. They don’t need to look like Marilyn Manson to prove that they’re a weird band, their music does that already. This music is rooted in non-traditional song structures, cryptic lyrics, and an ambient atmosphere to satisfy the schizo inside each and everyone of us.
The members are Valerie Salerno (Vocalist/ Guitarist/Verbal Assault), Danny Sein (Bassist/ Bass Throbs of Death), and Donny Olin (Drummer/Cymbal Hellraising). Their brand-new Steve Albini-engineered and Bob Weston-mastered album is truly astonishing. Albini really knows how to capture the live energy of a band, with the result being the sensation that Sojii is playing in your living room. Very well-done once again in terms of production. But what about music? If I were to compare it to anything, it reminds me of a very violent concoction of CAN (the Krautrock one). The band seems to have a lot of influences. One that comes to mind is The Jesus Lizard, with the obscure meaning in the lyrics and the provocative musicianship (especially with the bass). The bass also reminds me of the Killdozer album, The Uncompromising War On Art Under The Proletariat. Val’s guitar work contains very clean and thought-out progressions, but the fuzz-like tone gives it a sharp tongue. Danny’s bass work reminds me of a vibrator being used as an assault weapon during a Einsturzende Neubauten performance (without the flaming cocktails sadly). The drums from Donny bash your head with no end in a tightly organized manner, which gives the music no softening for the impact. These Michiganians have style. They kick ass, in fact. These fuckers are musicians in the purest form; they create music that has the goal of leaving you mesmerized without any dissatisfaction.

-Henderson: The beginning is the equivalent of having your head forced into a particle accelerator. Afterwards, it transitions into a sensual and pulsating rhythm, with the guitar giving a sort-of ballad treatment to the aggressive sarcasm. Deep-throated growls float throughout the chorus, which instills the haunting and immortal dread that luminates throughout the album.

-Pigpen: The bass comes in like a colorful tune made on a xylophone. It reminds me of playing at the park at the age of five, and having a mental breakdown in the process. The song then turns punk-oriented, with a faster tempo progression and a much more assertive quality. Already, this band is good at defying expectations.This band has their own style, which can be seen in this song. The song is pure ear candy. To pinpoint an influence off the top of my weird Aspie brain, this song has a garage rock quality. Like a reinvention of a lot of the indie surf music nowadays, but much more in-depth and less stupid.

-Adagio: This is the real shit. Fantastic opening with the drums. The gloomy bass that sounds like a vampire is about to approach you and suck your blood in a violent death orgy, suddenly is thrown into the mix. God, this song is amazing. Just a very well-written tune in my opinion. This is an example how Val reminds me of a witch, for all the right reasons. It’s just so damn frightening, it’s like listening to a nightmare that suffocates you.

-Schmuck: Bass starts off with a Spanish progression before the final descent into a decent mouth kick. The song includes a very nice transition in the middle into a foreboding and slow array of guitars, bass, and drums working off each other before another final blow to your mainstream sensibilities. Is that Steve Albini at the end? I don’t know. Where was I? Oh, yeah. This song kicks ass.

-Dowry Death: This one feels like getting high on pot, except it was never pot in the first place, but a Colombian drug used to put you into hypnosis. It’s like falling off a building and orgasming at the same time, but only for three minutes (sadly).

-Milksop: The guitar sounds like a circular saw being connected to a fuzz pedal. The drums and bass sound like an earthquake in a live venue. I love how this band can make you mosh and feel introspective at the same time. Man, if more bands like Sojii and Ape Not Kill Ape emerge from Michigan, I might be moving there.

-Fromme: This is an epic conclusion to an already epic album. Each instrument again complement each other in noise department. The chorus has a nice sorta like homage to those hippie throat singing bands (did I REALLY USE A HIPPIE COMPARISON?! Let’s keep that to a minimum). It’s a good final note.

All in all, this album is dirty and raw, while also maintaining balance by including more quieter moments to only go back to being filthy. Imagine PJ Harvey fronting Scratch Acid or Rapeman. Can you imagine how awesome that’d be. If not (you uncreative hack), grab yourself a copy of the new album. To put it simply: If you don’t buy this record,

Rating: 9 Waves of Orgasmic Pleasure out of 10

Catch these mofos at their tour of apocalyptic reckoning with Ape Not Kill Ape this March.
This record can be bought either through False Profit Records
Also download this shit on Bandcamp:
Hell, here's a music video: - JT Hood on Noise Rock Now


Still working on that hot first release.



SOJII was forged in the punk tradition of the Brooklyn DIY scene and, for the past year, they’ve called Grand Rapids, Michigan their home. Fronted by guitarist and vocalist Valerie Salerno, with Danny Sein on bass and Donny Olin on drums, Sojii unites sinister lyricism with raw, punk sensibility. As the band has evolved, they’ve cultivated a slick, visceral sound. For the thrashing, the slimy, and the disenchanted, Sojii brings a bold, eruptive new energy to the heavy sweat of post-punk noise. The band has gone on 6 tours across the country, playing with Shopping, French Vanilla, DoNormaal, Ape Not Kill Ape, A Deer A Horse, Mal Devisa, Choir, Immanuel Kant, and more. Their track “Schmuck” earned a spot on Daytrotter’s Best Songs of 2016 and their single “Pigpen” was featured on the Local Spins radio show by WYCE in October. Sojii’s music has been described by No Smoking Media as “musical tonic for every dark and ecstatic feeling”. This past summer, Sojii played QC Junetopia in Davenport, Iowa. Their new album, SOJII, was engineered by Steve Albini (Pixies, PJ Harvey, Nirvana) and mastered by Bob Weston (Nirvana, Slint, Shellac). The album is set to release on December 4th, 2017. 

Band Members