Dressed in a David Bowie t-shirt, a black beanie, and with dyed pinkish orange hair, Alexis Ploen struts around the studio with confidence, swinging her whole body with the beat and belting out poetry. Her band, SŌK, backs her up with instrumentation, creating high-energy songs with socially aware lyrics.

Members of the Chicago band describe their sound as “hybrid alternative rock.” The group formed in December 2018 and recently released a single, “Jawbreaker.”

The band originally was spelled “Soak” but had to change the name to avoid confusion with the Swedish folk artist with the same name, Cameron Carlson, the drummer, said.

“I kind of like the idea of soaking in the human experience and just absorbing everything you possibly can from emotions, the fear of existing,” Ploen, lead vocalist and songwriter, said. “That is one of the goals of art — to just soak in that human existence.”

The songwriting process for the band varies, but is usually jam-based, meaning the band has a general structure for the song but improvises together, making each performance of the song unique. Often, Ploen comes up with chords, lyrics and melody, and then takes it to the band to jam and polish it. Other times, Nick Bilski, lead guitarist, comes up with riffs and the band brainstorms accordingly.

Ploen said she was inspired by “edgier female vocalists” while writing “Jawbreaker,” which has been her proudest work to date.

“When you see those few who stick out and are incredible at what they do, it’s really exciting,”
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