Bill Dorfer has a tattoo of his band’s symbol on his left arm. The circles, created by a Belgian graphic artist, represent each individual band member in Soul Conversion and how in tune they are to each other.
Dorfer’s band, along with other off-campus bands made up of Southern students, allow them to express musical abilities, regardless of their majors.
Dorfer, a senior media studies major says the band has been together for about two years. They have a range of influences, from extreme metal to jazzy fusion, but they like the blanket term extreme metal.
“It doesn’t specify us to any sound,” says Dorfer, “or aesthetic.”
Soul Conversion consists of three parts: vocalist and drummer Pete Aspinwall, bassist Jesse Neafsey, vocalist and guitarist Dorfer. Their debut album was called “Dimensional Disconnect.” They are working on releasing music videos and singles in the early spring.
Dorfer says nature fuels his creativity, because he feels more connected to his surroundings and can think on a greater scale. He wrote poetry and short stories and says he would like to get back into novel writing.
Dorfer says he started writing as a 5-year-old and wrote song lyrics before playing the guitar.
“It’s true, like they say [songs are] all like your children because you make them,” says Dorfer.
“Damsel in Distress” is the most personalized song, he says, because “Everyone’s been there before – heartbroken. I need an outlet for this.”
The song “Amorous Abomination” is a lot of fun, he says, because of its big buildup in the beginning and how it shows they threw the rulebook out the window.
Dorfer says while trying to choose a band name, he created a list of possible names on his phone.
One of the names he came up with was Soul Covenant, because when someone is dedicated to their art, it is like a bond.
One day, Neafsey and Dorfer were both wearing Converse shoes, and Aspinwall looked down, noticing the coincidence, and says, “What about Soul Conversion?” And so the band was named, and started performing at the Cherry Street Station in Wallingford.
They plan on pushing themselves as far as they can go. But, as far as being signed, they are fine continuing independently. He says it has worked for them thus far and allows them to write their own music.
Another Southern student who is in a band is Sunday Morning vocalist and guitarist, Wes Benjunas.
The pop-punk alternative group is a four-member band that has been together for about two years.
Three out of the four-person band are current or former Southern students. In addition to Benjunas is freshman exercise major Erik Stanzel and the band’s bassist Parker Dumont, who graduated from Southern with a degree in social work. Dan Hill is the band’s vocalist and guitarist.
Both Stanzel and Benjunas say they have been practicing their instruments for about seven years.
Earlier, their music was more based on imitation, but Benjunas, sophomore therapeutic recreation major, says they are constantly changing and maturing.
Their writing process starts out with the skeleton of a song, and then it slowly gets its rhythm. Then, Hill adds harmony. A song comes together when they are all on the same wavelength, says Benjunas.
Altogether, the band has a wide range of musical influences, like The Story So Far, Sum 41 and New Movement. The band plays at venues like The Cave in West Haven. But their first performance at Toad’s Place was especially memorable show for them.
“It was really cool, the biggest crowd,” says Benjunas. “It was so much fun.”
The two say the song, “Collectively,” off their September 2017 EP “Anything That Can Go Wrong Will” is a lot of fun to perform.
This EP is one of the three available on the bands Bandcamp website. The band hopes to make a music video for its March 9 single “Ten Years,” a song that is reminiscent of Blink 182 with an end-of-summer feel.
Their March 19 single “Ailment” brings a catchy yet introspective tune. The song is packed with an impactful repetitive strumming pattern and subtle drums. Benjunas and Stanzel say they just want to make so much music.
Benjunas says, “We’re finding out who we really are as a band, together.”
By Kaitlyn Regan