Montreal's Suuns returned with their second full length album Images du Futur earlier this spring. The new album, released March 4 via Secretly Canadian, finds the quartet expanding upon the electronic-infused, sparse & intricate textures they crafted with their debut album Zeroes QC. If you're unfamiliar with Suuns, a quick taste of "2020" gives you an introduction to their vibe. After catching Suuns for an excellent SXSW set, I chatted with bandmember Joseph Yarmush. Enjoy our Suuns interview.
Apes on Tape: I just got back from the SXSW mayhem, I was actually suppose to meet you on Friday, but things got clusterfucked. On that note, I’m very curious, from the band perspective, what you thought of SXSW on the whole. Was it worth? Enjoyable? Or did the five minute sound checks, the endless load-ins and drunk crowds wear on you like most bands? Not sure if you read about DIIV & Foxygen’s harsh words on SXSW, but I feel like a lot of bands didn’t dig the arrangements. Joseph Yarmush: Every band's experience is different. Every time you go there, it's different. The last time Suuns went, it sucked. We were tired, annoyed at the crowds and wanted to get the fuck out of there quickly. This time, however, we were able to avoid downtown 6th street and all the bull shit that comes with it. We were living it up over on the east side sipping Palomas and loving life. The shows that get played are always OK. Never better. It's a festival that caters to mediocrity in terms of performance and sound. It's extremely difficult to get good sound, so if you know that and let that go, life will be easier.AOT: I caught you guys Wednesday at Liberty. It was a pretty epic situation, with the sun setting for your Suuns’ set (I know the name difference, see question #8), ripe for puns there. But that seemed like a pretty hitchless set, all things considered. Was that one of the less stressful sets at SXSW? JY: It was great. We had just gotten off the plane and went straight to that venue. Being from Montréal, the weather was stoning us. I felt a little loose and the set wasn't the tightest but the venue and the sun setting made it epic. It's always a bit stressful. Parking, unloading, finding water, playing. Plus, the minor stress of wanting it to be great. AOT: Both times I’ve seen you live (at MusicfestNW being the first), your heavier, electronic vibes really stand out to me. Do you guys come from a pretty deep electronic background and structure the songs based on including those tones, or did they creep in later down the road when you wanted to intensify the live experience? Some of us are really into techno. We all like and appriciate the creativity and tones that come from electronic music. I don't know, the lines are blurred a bit these days. Everything is electronic in some regard. We like to make interesting sounds. Is it influenced by electronic music? Not sure. Maybe. We just like sounds and know when we hear them, that they're right for a song. AOT: I was also very impressed with the range of tones coming from your bassist. What kind of pedals is he employing there? Maybe one of those Boss SYB or Electro Harmonix Synth for Bass pedals? The bass is straight up. No effects on the bass guitar. Ideally, we'd have the Paul McCartney sound all the time. The synths do a lot of the bass sounds, so that's where the electro bass vibe comes from. It's all patches made by Max Henry. AOT: I was hoping to talk about Montreal for a bit. The Brooklyn’s or Portland’s always get tons of attention as musical hotbeds, but to me, it seems like Montreal is an extremely vibrant musical city as well. From A-trak to Godspeed to Mac DeMarco to Islands to Stars to Wolf Parade to Half Moon Run, etc, etc seems like there’s a lot of quality music going on there. Does that seem true to you? Has the city’s culture leant itself to your path in music? Or maybe the long winters just lend themselves to writing music… Both. Economics here also work in favor of producing art. It's cheap cheap cheap. That's the main reason so many move here to work on music. We don't have outside pressures of having to work full time to pay rent. AOT: Speaking of Mac DeMarco, also caught his set at SXSW. They were pretty drunk. Do you guys know him? Is it a close-knit circle in Montreal? I've seen him at a bar once. I like his music. I don't know him. It's tight knit with my friends. I happen to hang with a lot of musicians, but it's because they're my friends. Plus, everyone's a musician in Montreal. Or a photographer. AOT: What percentage of the time do people call you “suns”/”sons”? And what percentage of the time do you give a fuck about that? 50% to the first part, 0% to the last.