1. Live On Air Now DKFM Shoegaze Radio
Back to the top

Groundbreaking. Polished imperfection. Genre-defying. Iconoclastic. Forefathers/pioneers. When you hear the name A.R. Kane spoken, it is usually uttered with a sense of respect and reverence, and with a relative word salad of superlatives attached. From their East London founding as friends and creative foils in 1986, to their professional and creative split in 1994, A.R. Kane helped define and later reshape what is now commonly known as dream pop. They did time with 4AD and Robin Guthrie, had a cup of coffee with Rough Trade before the label’s bankruptcy, and connected with David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, in a career that hit all the creative, dreamy, experimental notes available at the time. The legacy they left made significant contributions to dream pop, shoegaze, trip hop, post rock and acid house, and they’ve been namechecked by any number of artists wanting to explore the contours of their own sound, in their own way.

A.R. Kane reformed last summer for several festival appearances, with originals Rudy and Maggie Tambala, and bringing on Andy Taylor to help support the sound. Spain’s respected Primavera Sound 2016 announced A.R. Kane will perform two shows at the June festival, and the band is picking up additional dates worldwide this summer. Call it a vindication, call it a victory lap, the influential band is now set to perform old classics and a few new sounds to a whole new generation of fans. We sat down with Rudy to talk about what a long, strange trip it’s been.

DKFM: Before we bury the lede, ‘new sounds’? Is there a new release in the cards? Tell us a little bit about the process of creating new A.R. Kane music.

Rudy: Firstly thanks, this is trippy, doing interviews again and having to re-create the myth afresh. “New sounds” is an interesting choice of phrase, because that really was central to what we always strived for, or at least sounds perceived in a new way, a new setting. Prior to playing one show last summer, I had a mental block – nerves – and so Andy and Maggie took me across a field, over a fence and into a wood in the English countryside. We went through the entire set strumming on non-amplified electric guitars and singing, three voices, the light, the air, the pre-show energy, festival heads strolling by occasionally. It was the highpoint for me, something very special happened – and so after the show, I decided to strip back the band from seven, to just us three. I started writing from there, from that energy I felt us create, or rather that I felt in us and around us, and that I guess shaped the new sound.
We have not signed to a label yet but have around a dozen songs, so at some point we will start recording. When the right label comes along we’ll talk about new releases. We may release some early demos, not hurry tho. Music technology has evolved – it is smaller and cheaper and for the way I work, a lot better. I still use samples and drum programming, guitars and effects, feedback and layers. I write at home, often on a battered acoustic guitar, sometimes on electric through a Strymon Blue Sky reverb and Space Echo pedal – I hear the harmonics bouncing around and pick out melodies for voices and other instruments, and I often write rhythmically on the guitar, little arpeggios or minimal phrases. I like to hear a kind of conversation. Because I sing too, I try to craft vocal lines – often with humming first – so that I can sing in rhythm and play simultaneously. A song-writers privilege I guess. This is vitally important to the new sound, as I now write for live – recording is never in my mind when writing. I use my iPhone to capture ideas. Sometimes I plug in my Roland JDXi keyboard, an amazing piece of kit, and just bang out a groove with subs and pads and all that. The two approaches meet in the middle somehow, and that was pretty much how we worked before, hence the guitars and grooves thing. I take the new songs into a practice room and Maggie and Andy work out their own harmonies and phrasing and add instruments. This happens usually very quickly. We then jam for hours, full-on, with three guitars and effects, the Roland, Ableton Live and Andy uses a Korg Micro too. Each week we add or strip out bits. The new sound has captured something of the potential I heard in the woods last summer, and strangely, it sounds very similar to early A.R.Kane recordings, raw, edgy, spacey, layered, deep dub basslines, and it grooves occasionally too. When we apply our new sound to the old songs, they sound fresh. It is much more about live now, recording was central before, studio experimentation, but that has changed. I look for live chemical reactions, listen for that space.

DKFM: Given your deserved status as a ground breaking artist and critical favorite, do you feel added pressure in releasing new music twenty years on?


Rudy: Yes and no. I myself compare what I was to what I am now, and the biggest change is that Alex has declined to return, and there is no doubt that on the earlier recordings, before “I”, it was all about our chemistry. We moved past that during the recording of “I”, and from there on the chemistry was not as crucial, and for me the energy not as intense, the music not as … erm, I wanted to say fresh, or inspiring, but in truth I’d say, not as good. I am directly affected by what listeners think feel say and do about the music I play. It starts with Anita – my wife – my son Louis, also a musician, Andy and Maggie, and ripples out from there.
But I also have confidence and I try to be true to myself and be what I might call ‘an honest artist’ – I serve unwritten principles, almost like laws, that inform me when something is wrong, or could be better, or is just fake. That’s the creative compass. Without this, well, there is nothing of real value without it. When people come to our shows and hear the new songs, I think they’ll be pleased. We’ll only slot in a few at this stage. They merge seamlessly with the older material. Any recordings we do will be something entirely new – more different then ‘69’ compared to ‘new clear child’. I want to find a producer that empathises. That will be critical. And possibly a couple guest singers too. I my kidnap Alex if I can track him down.

DKFM: Touring, festivals, songwriting and possibly recording… apologies to LL Cool J, but can we call this a comeback?

Rudy: Well, you can if you want to. It’s all very low key – we have very few shows lined up as no-one knows we’re playing again, and we have no management or label etc. to push us out there. We did just confirm for On Blackheath in London, which is very exciting. For us to stand on a stage, backs to the crowd, heads buried in the amps, full force feedback flying fast, yes, I guess that is a comeback. This year we are testing the water. We’ll see.

DKFM: As the classic sound you helped pioneer has re-emerged, a whole new generation of fans is paying attention. Are you finding this younger fan base even more receptive to your unique approach? And do you feel somehow vindicated that you had it right all along?

Rudy: Last point first; it never occurred to us that we were wrong about what we did, or needed vindication. We are not well-known now, and unlike MBV, Ride, etc. do not have a large fan-base, but that is because we turned our backs on all that. We rejected the ‘scenes’, and focused on the sound. However, when we were making records we were completely appreciated for what we did, and everyone told us it how much they loved it, and all that. I am not surprised that so many people are into the Dreampop/shoegaze thing now, because it is fucking amazing, it changes people’s lives, I’ve seen it so many times, that look when the head slips sideways, as brainwaves just kick in … it was not a big scene when we were playing, it was very fringe, very arty, very-non conventional. I don’t really know this new scene well except through social media, I probably ought to listen to more stuff, get educated. I would love to play to a large, receptive audience – we rarely had that, we used to empty rooms in the first few minutes – people thought it was a one big technical hitch – no guys, it’s s’pose to sound like this, so fuck off! A.R.Kane music was always for a younger fan base, so that seems quite natural. Look, when I plug in, switch on, feel the rush, and look up … I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I am excited and surprised and overwhelmed and I smile. I don’t really care who listens, I want them to feel what I feel, because it’s lovely. Because it makes all this crappy world shit make sense, it gives life meaning and magic, and it make me whole.

DKFM: Tell us about recreating the classic sound you’re known for in these festival settings. What does A.R. Kane live 2016 sound like with this lineup?

Rudy: Last year we used seven people, in an attempt to recreate the studio recordings. This really was a ritual to evoke the spirit of Kane, and in truth I now see that it was my personal lack of confidence and a process I just had to go through. This year we are three, and we are doing a new sound. All I can really say is that we aim to create an experience, to let people feel something now. Not nostalgia. I know what used to work, it will be interesting to see how it works now. Our set is short and intense, and the Kane tracks are all pretty pop songs that would sound good in any setting. Yes, even Country. I think the tech has improved our live sound, and like with the early Kane gigs we have foregone a rhythm section for the hip hop/ Cocteau Twins approach; drum loops, samples and sequenced sub bass. The guitars are still bloody painfully loud, and sometimes painfully soft. We all sing, and Maggie is central now.

DKFM: Finally, there’s a new squad of musicians in big cities and small towns around the world who have taken their cues from the kind of sound you forged decades ago, each with their own unique take on the form. Any advice to the kids who want to make magic, but do it their own way?

Rudy: I think we all start off imitating something … a pose, a style, an attitude, a sound … but at some point it is important to go beyond the inspiration, the surface, and put in some hard graft, to create something new. Follow the artistic compass, I guess. Sound, or music, is a particular art form, a specific human mode of expression. It is probably our best art and the most human thing we can do. There are rules. It has not – as many may say – all been done. Meditate on that, children.

Follow A.R. Kane via their website, Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud, and catch them on tour!

 

It’s a dreamy sound. If you had to compare it to anything, you’d compare it to the sound of Portland rain. The intricate twin-guitar interplay sounds like getting caught in a small but refreshing rain shower. THIS is Soft Shadows. As they prepare for wide distribution of their new full-length disc, Reverb is for Lovers, we sat down with the members of Soft Shadows and asked them about music, philosophy, and life.
Soft Shadows is:
June – vocals, guitar, producer
Thuy – vocals, synth
Ryan – guitar

DKFM
: From a stellar few singles to a full LP. That’s no small jump. What did it take to get there?

June
– I would say the biggest influence was the people that we met while playing shows. Every person perceived us differently. To some, we were a rock shoegaze band, and to others we were an electronic act. I like not being able to fit in a mold and doing what we feel we need to do with what we have. I enjoy working under limitations, so we knew going into this record that I didn’t want a completely flawless album. I wanted to leave head room to grow as an artist.
Ryan – For me, I think as a band we felt refreshed with the change in lineup; just an overall excitement to write new material and get into the studio. I love to record new material. It’s like a first date with each song; they start out one way and grow as you spend more time with them.
Thuy – Not sitting on anything too long. It’s one of our pros and cons, like a fickle double-edged sword. We’re constantly being shaped by every passing experience and compounded memories, and what was once a good idea may feel foreign several months later. Song sketches are filenamed by the date they were written because there’s just so many. I’ll say, “Hey, ‘feb 18’ sounds pretty good,” or “What happened to ‘turkey day-2’? It’s a waste if we don’t do something with it.” In the end, if we don’t finish recording something within a certain time range, a song may unfortunately slip through the cracks because we’re just not attached to it anymore. Originally, this was planned to be an EP since we stripped it down from 15+ songs. Chris (Neon Sigh) was bummed to hear this since he loved “A Soft Night,” so we added that along with “Cheap Signals” last minute.

DKFM
: Influences. At times I detect a tip of the cap to The Raveonettes, but so much of this sound is not like any other. And it’s a pretty big leap from your former incarnation, Sundaze. Describe how you arrived at this sound, and what goes into making it?

June – This album sounds less distorted because I wanted the guitars to sound more like guitars back in the 60’s. Sundaze was about hiding behind a haze of distortion and reverb, and I wanted Soft Shadows to have a thinner veil. We might revisit a darker, cloudier theme, but for this debut album, it was very important for us to not sound depressing. I do not believe we are depressing people by nature, so I felt it is important to portray that.
Ryan – Yeah, there is a Raveonettes influence to a degree. Radiohead, hip hop, Stereolab – there are a lot that find their collective ways into our brains but I think what comes out is us and I hope it’s unique. Sound wise it’s fairly simple. Fender amps and guitars mostly and just what we do. Turn the ugly beautiful.
Thuy – We wanted something lighter and cleaner, more air. There are times when June would hit a writing block, and I’d recommend some books to inspire him. Bukowski is one of them. He was a “dirty old man,” but his prose is clean and honest.

DKFM: “Reverb is for Lovers” is probably the album title of the year, right? But we hear that wasn’t the working title. You MUST tell the story!

June – We recorded the album with the idea of calling it A Pile of Smoke in reference to Radiohead. As the album came to a finish, it no longer felt the same from its incarnation in the studio. The mixing process yielded a cleaner body that we didn’t want to hide. We landed on Reverb is for Lovers because it’s our opening track and we felt it’s a good introduction to our band for new listeners, and also an interesting direction for anyone that followed Sundaze.
Thuy – June was pretty excited with that one. He brought up in a conversation, “Why is it that no one has Reverb is for Lovers? Is there a song out there with that title? It’s such a good name!” So naturally, a song had to live up to the name, “Reverb is for Lovers” and became ours. However, as he mentioned earlier, A Pile of Smoke came up as a possible EP name. Not a name that really rolls off the tongue (maybe fumble awkwardly) but he was jazzed about it. A month or two later, I was working on the album art and mocked-up the title A Pile of Smoke on the cover for June to review. Luckily, he agreed maybe it wasn’t a good idea and Reverb is for Lovers reclaimed everything, song and album name.

DKFM: Touring. You’ve got your first out-of-state dates under your belt, having toured much of California. As the new album approaches its official release October 22nd on Neon Sigh, any initial plans about further touring?

Thuy – I’m so glad that we got to tour, finally! It was something we wanted to do for so long (even back as Sundaze) but the gears weren’t clicking all at once. Originally we aimed for Japan during hanami, but opted that perhaps staying in the US was the better move. One of our member’s schedule is blacked out all of fall/winter, so had to act fast to get something together, otherwise it wouldn’t be until Spring 2014. The first tour is the toughest for most bands, but even more so for us since we didn’t have an album out yet and had very little to offer other than a few songs online. Now that Reverb is coming out soon, I’m hoping Spring 2014 we’ll hit the road again.
Ryan – I would love to go to SXSW or the East Coast but we’ll see.

soft-shadows-live
Left to right: Ryan Simon, Thuy-Duong Le, June Kang

DKFM: You’ve launched an Indiegogo buy metronidazole cheap campaign to help promote the new release. Tell us a little about it?

Thuy – Everything we did so far we came up on our own. We like to keep things “in-house” sort of speak, but it comes with a lot of invested time, money and effort, on top of the actual music itself. The manufacturing of the album, we stayed local so that we could keep in consistent contact to ensure quality production and help keep the money in town, but things like this cost at least double of what you could find if you outsourced somewhere else. We want a good quality product and that’s what we’re delivering. The other half of the equation is actually getting it out there. We believe in non-commercial radio, and it is because of non-commercial radio, such as DKFM, that people hear about us outside of our small city of Portland. There’s so much we can possibly do on our own, as there are over 300+ main radio stations in the US. They are constantly being sent music everyday; what would separate our CD in a pile of hundreds? With the expansion of the internet, there’s so much good music out there to be found. It’d be a shame if all our hard work fell only to a few ears. We hope in finding the right radio promoter who’s in good standing with the radio community, our music can be reached to the stations that would be interested in playing. The Indiegogo campaign is a fun way to do pre-orders for the album coming out next week and to fund for our radio promotion campaign. We included a lot of “thank you so much!” perks like unreleased material, secret cover songs and even artwork I’ll create personally. If you like totoros, you’re in luck.
http://igg.me/at/softshadowsreverb

DKFM: Several tracks from the new LP have gotten quite a bit of buzz, both here and elsewhere, and your California dates are complete. How are folks reacting to the album, and hearing you on tour?

June – I would say the tour was a success and a good starting point for this album. We learned what we like about it, and also what we want to do for our next record. I think it’s very important to take every show seriously and learn from every experience through music.
Ryan – The tour was good in a lot of ways and I think the reaction overall was positive. For me, once the album is done, it is out of my hands. I can only hope people find something in it they can enjoy.
Thuy – We couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and fans. For one, a friend of ours, Jesse Johnstone, in LA played drums for us for that part of the tour, and it was an amazing experience to have flexibility in a live show. It was a treat for not just the LA audience who saw us live, but for us as well to have the pleasure of working with a talented musician and overall great person. Initially, we wanted to tour with our SEA/PDX buds, Jetman Jet Team (if you haven’t heard of them and you love a good modern take of space shoegaze, seriously check them out). Our schedules didn’t match up and they hit the road a month earlier. From them, we learned of Lo-Pie, a great little music publication based in LA that believed in our sound and hooked us up with Venice Music Crawl. It was a lot of fun and showcased the many great bands LA had to offer. Curt from The Bixby Knolls, who shared the stage with us afterwards, imparted with some kind words between breaking-down/set-up. That although our music is different from theirs and not typically something he’d listen to, he really enjoyed our set. It brought back the same atmosphere of feeling he shared with other bands he loved. And that’s what is important, right?

DKFM: “Whatever You Say” marked a major turning point in your sound, and planted the Soft Shadows flag going forward. Then you re-worked your magic differently in re-arranging and re-recording it for the album. Why?

June – The first version of “Whatever You Say” felt like a Sundaze song. I wanted to make it a Soft Shadows song. If you’re lucky enough to have found an early version of “Whatever You Say” on the internet, it would be a perfect example of the difference between Sundaze and Soft Shadows. I will just leave it at that.
Ryan – “Whatever You Say” was for sure a starting point for me coming into the band. It was a song I had seen June and Thuy perform many times while in Sundaze and I always loved it! When I came aboard I just tried to add to the song toward the end and give a bit of a subtle “answer” to June’s “calling” guitar part. Re-recording it just made the album more cohesive I think.

DKFM: Thuy, I’ve noted you’re doing more vocals, and they’re a lovely accent to the sound. Was this your idea, or did you get talked into it?

Thuy – Thanks, I’m worming my way in there. I felt like it was missing feminine harmonies, so I’d add them casually during practice. June ended up having me sing the chorus for “Love is a Dog from Hell” instead of harmonizing, and now we’re trying to incorporate more of that. I still have a lot of work to do be at a comfortable spot, but it’s moving.
June – Expect more vocals from Thuy in the future. I think the chorus for “Love is a Dog from Hell” was one of the highlights of the album for me.
Thuy – Aww.

DKFM: Anything you’d like to share with your new friends and fans as we sign off?

Ryan – Thank you for supporting independent music and to everyone through California that made the tour a success!
June – I would like to thank Greg at DKFM for being so interested and helpful to us both on the internet and in person. If it wasn’t for Greg, we wouldn’t have been able to play our Fresno show, and I think that show was one of the highlights of our west coast tour.
Thuy – Very much so DKFM. He’s our first official tour drummer. 🙂

DKFM: *blushes* Find Soft Shadows via their website, their label Neon Sigh, follow them on Facebook and Twitter. And share their Indiegogo campaign! http://igg.me/at/softshadowsreverb

Otherworldly, elemental, primal. In a word, epic. When it comes to the sound generated by The Stargazer Lilies, it’s rather difficult for us to avoid hyperbole. John Ceparano and Kim Field left the impressively eerie disco shoegaze of Soundpool behind, and concentrated on this epic soundscape that spares filigree and sucks you into a exploding star of melody and bliss. And as good as Soundpool was (quite), this is an intensity upgrade, an almost spiritual experience.

We’ve shared the trailer with you for the forthcoming LP, “We Are the Dreamers”, released September 10th on Graveface Records. We sat down with John and Kim and bugged them about… well, everything under the sun.
_______________________________

DKFM: That was a lot of hyperbole we just dropped, all of it well-earned. Anything we said factually you’d like to correct?
TSL: John: Everything you said fact-wise was factually sound and all hyperbole seemed to be well hyperbolized. Thanks for the kind words!

DKFM: The first three songs you released, Fukitol, Sunday Is Monday at Midnight and Ahhh are pretty much unlike anything else, ever, including Soundpool. What’s at the core of this sound? Where does it come from?
TSL:  John:  I think that guitars (both bass and six string) and guitar effects are at the core of our sound. Unlike Soundpool which had more synths so there were more melodies and counter melodies. I think we wanted to strip the sound down from what we had with Soundpool and have fewer elements, musically so that every sound used, could be made bigger and more powerful.
Kim:  Overall the sound of The Stargazer Lilies is much more emotional and raw than Soundpool came across. We’ve gone through some heavy things personally over the last few years and perhaps that naturally drove the sound.

DKFM: Dropping a single, even those as well-crafted as yours, is one thing. Releasing an album presents a whole boatload of new problems. What was the biggest challenge in getting this done?
TSL:  John:  The biggest challenge was trying to bump it up a notch sonically from Soundpool, while stripping everything down musically. Narrowing down the material we had come up with into a naturally flowing album that felt the way we wanted it to, was tricky. TOBACCO from Black Moth Super Rainbow curated the album and was instrumental in the process of editing the material into a concise album.
Kim: I think hand in hand with the challenge of bumping it up etc. was the amount of patience we’ve had to have. Sometimes excruciating patience. It took a really long time to write, record etc. It took a really long time to find the right label to release it. We feel really lucky that Graveface Records got involved.

DKFM: Your fans are quite devoted. What do you think makes folks so protective of you?
TSL:  Kim: Wow! That’s really flattering. If that’s how anyone feels… We really are lucky. I’m very devoted to the artists I love… So maybe if this is the case it’s just good karma.
John:  I think it’s obvious that we are d.i.y. all the way. Having written and recorded all the music ourselves and self-produced all our own videos means that we’ve really put ourselves out there in a vulnerable sort of way. I think if people are in fact devoted to us and protective of us it would be because of this vulnerability and the sincere nature of what we’re doing.

DKFM: Are you perfectionists? It sounds like you don’t release a track until it’s EXACTLY what you wanted it to sound like.
TSL:  Kim: Yes. But sometimes you have to let go, too. If you rework stuff too much it ends up losing integrity and feeling.
John:  I think that we strive to make everything as perfect as we are capable. But we also realize that sometimes it’s the imperfections which give a track or a video real charm. It is true that if a track doesn’t feel right we will tweak, possibly for months, to get it to sound as close as possible to what we were going for. This is certainly the case with the title track We Are The Dreamers which at one point was almost shelved out of frustration. Other tracks fell in to place rather quickly and easily.

DKFM: Tour to coincide with the release? What are your plans?
TSL:  John:  We’re working on it… We love playing live and we’d like to try to tour as much as possible. We’ll definitely be gigging this fall but we’re still not sure of the specifics yet.

DKFM: What brought you to Graveface Records? Or, what brought them to you?
TSL:  John:  Years ago I sent a Soundpool CD “Dichotomies and Dreamland”  to TOBACCO of BMSR before it was released. I never do this sort of thing but when I heard “Dandelion Gum” for the first time, it really blew me away. Maybe a year and a half or, two years later, TOBACCO contacted us to see if Soundpool wanted to open for BMSR on the N/E leg of their tour later that year. This is where we met Ryan Graveface who plays in BMSR. Fast forward a couple of years after this and we had since become good friends with Tobacco and the Seven Fields of Aphelion and we were invited to their wedding. Ryan was there and we gave both him and Tobacco a TSL demo that weekend. Ryan subsequently invited us to perform at the Graveface Fest in Savannah a few months later. We played the festival and our performance must have impressed him because he expressed a great deal of interest in releasing our album before we were even off the stage. We feel very fortunate.

DKFM: One hundred hackblogs will lazily compare you to My Bloody Valentine, maybe Slowdive, and leave it at that. Who would YOU like to be compared to?
TSL:  Kim: Since those are two of my all time favorite bands, I of course like those comparisons even though I think we sound a lot different from them. It’s hard to say who you are like. We weren’t really specifically going for any one thing. We are huge music fans and listen to a lot of different types of music. So our influences are wide.
John: I would honestly rather not have The Stargazer Lilies be compared to any other band or artist. I’d rather the music just be judged on its own merits. I understand that people like to compare bands to each other. And I think it’s fair to say that if you like the bands you mentioned you may like what we’re doing. But, at the end of the day, I think we have very much our own sound.

DKFM: What was the moment you realized that you were doing something important with The Stargazer Lilies?
TSL:  Kim:  Well, at least we’re important to us and The Stargazer Lilies are giving us something to live for. For me… It was when we wrote the first song Endless Days. Lyrically and melodically it fell from the sky and felt magical. Endless Days was the beginning of TSL. That song has helped me through some tough times. I can practice it and it makes me feel a little bit better when I’m feeling really bad, or just help me release a lot of what’s inside. So if any of our songs do that for someone else than I guess we can say we’re doing something important.
John: I think the music an artist creates is always important to themselves. But can I actually claim we are an important band? I really don’t think so. We’re hardly known at all so how important can we actually be? I have to be honest here… we create music because we love music. If the music we create, excites and inspires people, then that’s awesome. If it excites and inspires to the degree where lives are actually changed for the better… then that’s what’s important to me. When that happens… I can say we are an important band, at least to those people. Short of that, we’re just another band.
_______________________________

Sneak a listen to the title track, We Are the Dreamers, here.

You can find The Stargazer Lilies at Graveface Records, Bandcamp, Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. Above photo credit: Thom Yanochko.

Sunshine - Sunshine“We’ve got glassware / for every season.”

 About a minute into the opening track “Showering with Wine”, Sunshine lets you know you’re in for something different, better, special. Bright, beautiful, irreverent, unconstrained by musical dogma, the new self-titled LP from Sunshine drops a fat slab of… well, sunshine into your lap and DARES you to dislike it. Hint: you can’t.

 Hazy, sunny guitars and bright but breathy vocals and sparkling choruses, one wonders where all this came from? We harassed the members of Vancouver band Sunshine about the genesis of this project, and their plans going forward.


DKFM: Okay, obvious question, badly asked: What’s all this then? It’s as though Sunshine dropped out of the sky, unbeknownst to anyone! Where did you come from, how did this project come together, and how did you keep it a secret?



Trevor Risk (lead vocal, guitar): Yeah I suppose we should have given a little warning, like “WARNING: OUR PARENTS DON’T LIKE THIS MUSIC, SO YOURS PROBABLY WON’T EITHER!” or “WARNING: AT ONE POINT THIS ALBUM RHYMES THE WORDS ‘PARKING LOT’ WITH ‘A LOT’!” I don’t think we were trying to keep this a secret, but we kind of got so wrapped up in making each other giggle at stupid, repetitive jokes and writing loud (but pretty) songs that we almost forgot to play some shows and put the music out there.

DKFM: The “big fat slab of sunshine” question: are you all as happy and carefree as you come across on record? I’m sensing you’re pretty straightforward, as this album is properly polished and arrives fully-formed, but one would guess you spend at least 50 percent of your time just enjoying what you do. True, or well off the mark?



TR: It’s closer to 90 percent. You know those annoying people who are three weeks into a relationship and they try and feed you that “Oh, we never fight!” nonsense as if three weeks is actually a reasonable representation of a relationship’s demeanour? We’re those people, but two years into the relationship. There’s an unwritten rule in Sunshine that we can’t go 60 seconds without turning whatever we’re talking about into a big fucking joke. You’d think that would get frustrating, but we’re not smart enough to have that be an issue. We kind of have the attention spans of inbred puppies.

Gillian Damborg (keyboard, vocals): I’d say the music does sum it up – we are all pretty happy, forward people who would rather be laughing and getting silly than being all down and sad. Plus its harder to be angry and maybe we’re just kind of lazy. Plus we actually like each other.

Tyler Quarles (Bass, vocals): True, we do actually like each other. When we get together, the stresses that we carried earlier throughout the day seem to disappear into a mosh-pit of giggles. That being said, maybe we should get our rehearsal space checked for a gas leak?

DKFM: There are a number of influences that lightly infuse your music, but it isn’t derivative in any way. Hints of shoegaze, a pinch of grunge, and a 60’s garage sensibility can all be found here. What bands have you followed that colour your sound?



TR: I actually think we’re maybe the most derivative, but the funny thing is that the influences critics seem to think we have, are usually off the mark. Like, My Bloody Valentine pops up a lot in our reviews, but apart from maybe a few cuts off Ecstacy and Wine, and the fact that the first time I saw a girl’s private parts was while listening to Loveless, they’re not a big influence on me. I still haven’t listened to their new album, in fact. The following artists were either a loose or direct inspiration to this record: Frank Black, Giorgio Moroder, Rusty (the Canadian grunge act from the nineties), the Chantays, Jonathan Richman, The Dandy Warhols, and Weekend (NOT the Canadian trip-hop act The Weeknd. Please make sure that’s printed). (Ed.- done)

TQ: It would be hard to excuse my steady musical diet of New Order, The Stills, Raveonettes, and Siamese Dream – era Smashing Pumpkins. So I won’t.

DKFM: No doubt there’s a big demand on your time, your record release party was Wednesday night! Tour plans? Vancouver, the provinces, even further?

TR: Yeah we’d love to tour, we’re just trying to get all our tortoises in a row on that one. Can I admit that I have a fear of riding in cars? Well I just did, and I’m not just saying that to sound more like Marc Bolan. Either way, I should address that before we tour.

GD: Yeah we’d love to tour. I want to get into a van jammed with gear and four sweaty guys and spend every day for two weeks with them. It’s every girl’s dream!

TQ: I think we are all a little freaked out by how much land mass North America has and to feel we have to take it on all in one go. Possibly a few smaller tours localized to particular zones would be a good start. We’ll see, it’s all in the works!

DKFM: What’s been your most gratifying experience as a band thus far?



TR: Our song “Arnprior” is about my tiny little hometown, which I guess is a bit of a hokey subject, but I don’t have a lot of pain or heartbreak in my life and after penning two or three songs about getting wicked hosed with my girlfriend, I thought I should expand my content. Anyway, the newspaper in Arnprior (a town of 6000. Well, 7500 now) published a little blurb about the song. I mean, they did just copy the content from a feature we had in another magazine, and quoted me from a piece I did about five years ago before Sunshine even existed, but it was still satisfying; their just-use-Google journalistic style notwithstanding.

GD: I think our first show was one of my favorite experiences. Seeing all the people I love in one room is a cool thing, and kind of eerie because that generally only happens at funerals and weddings. Actually, I hope my wedding and funeral are EXACTLY like that!

TQ: We are all pretty busy people in various career and social commitments. To me (and it may sound lame) us taking on this as more then a side project over two years ago was a really gratifying experience. That moment of commitment was the best. We would never treat playing with each other or doing shows a “job” but getting to practice having eaten, on time, and every week, it helps to think of it as one so things get done and not pushed to the back burner – like every other thing I’ve tried to take on. It’s been easy to keep up any sort of positive momentum when you play with 4 other people you respect so immensely that you wouldn’t want to let them down by doing a half-assed job. See, there’s that word “job” again. Jeeze!

DKFM: Tell us about the promo photo we’re featuring. The whole crew is in bed, save for one member, fully dressed, examining the gatefold of Rush’s “2112” LP while the others look on in varying stages of bemusement and horror. What on earth is THAT about?

TR: That’s a subtle tribute to my favourite video of all time, “Sugarcube” by Yo La Tengo. There’s a scene when Bob Odenkirk is reading a Rush album as poetry to students in the quad of the “rock school” that they’re attending. I actually can’t stand Rush, even though they’re Canadian. In that photo I’m actually legitimately laughing at the lyrics I’m reading. Rush are agood example of why you shouldn’t let drummers write your lyrics.

DKFM: Anything you’d like to share with your current and future fans?

TR: Sorry that we’re so hard to search for on the internet. I know that “Sunshine” isn’t a Google-friendly term, and there’s that Czech band with the same name that Hype Machine and iTunes has us listed as, and Grooveshark thinks we’re the S Club 7 album Sunshine and all the other work you’d potentially need to put in just to lend us your ear. So if you see any of us in person, we’ll buy you a drink or look after your cat as a sign of appreciation.

GD: I love cats.

TQ: #sunshinesucks (and thank you for having us, cheers!)

Find Sunshine on Facebook

Follow them on Twitter

Most importantly, find their self-titled release at Bandcamp