In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.
Just to be clear, Syna So Pro stands for "Syrhea Conaway solo project" -- not "Syna so professional."
"I'm not trying to be braggy!" jokes Conaway, who has been working on her live looping project since 2007 and will release her second album, Loop Talk Vol. 1 tonight. Also, to further clarify any confusion with names, "Syrhea" is pronounced "suh-ree-uh," and here's how we'll never forget.
"Pete is my nickname," says Conaway. "Little Caesers pizzeria came out with a commercial when I was thirteen-years-old and in seventh grade. All the kids called me 'Pete-Syrhea!' 'Pete-Syrhea!" and it just kind of stuck."
Unique names aside, Conaway creates one-of-a-kind experimental pop music also worth remembering. During a typical solo set, expect to see her on stage wielding guitar, bass, violin, keyboard and her most powerful and practiced instrument of choice: her voice. Throughout the years leading up to the start of her solo project in bands including the Jovian Chorus and the shoegaze-heavy Stella Mora, she acquired all kinds of toys that would eventually make all these elements work in tandem.
Video by Brian McClelland
Conaway, who also currently moonlights in local rock outfits the Pat Sajak Assassins and Humdrum, describes her live solo performances as "dancing on pedals." She puts on a show by building songs one piece at a time right in front of her audience, looping and syncing interlocking parts into uplifting songs that carry orchestral tinges and hints of shoegaze.
And don't be surprised if you catch this quirky artist talking to herself. To keep things interesting, Conaway records her own banter before shows and plays these phrases back between songs so that she can, in a way, have a conversation with herself on stage. If that's not "so pro," we don't know what is.
Syna So Pro releases Loop Talk Vol. 1 The Power of One: The Power of You tonight at the Schlafly Tap Room. Conaway says this is the first of at least four volumes featuring songs she creates with live looping. The second volume, already in the can, is due out this summer.
Though her body of work is represented both live and in recorded form, RFT Music recommends checking out both, as the experiences differ vastly due to the ability to track each element individually and play around with live drums and more in the studio. Get a preview from one of the new tracks below.
We invited Syrhea to fill in the blanks ahead of her album release show tonight. Read on to see what she had to say.