“We want an album from our generation to make it big and change the world”
5 Questions with Sunflower Bean
In conversation with Katie Hawthorne
Sunflower Bean’s moniker disguises a band that’s fonder of eye-rolling reverb and moody, brooding choruses than they are of brightly coloured foliage. The Brooklyn three piece – Julia Cumming, Nick Kivlen and Jacob Faber – cut their teeth playing hundreds of DIY shows in their local borough, but a couple of EPs and a signing to Fat Possum later see the New York band pack up sticks for a huge European tour, in support of their debut album.
Before their van rolls into Edinburgh, Julia gave us a briefing on their history and their mission statement.
First things first: Could you give us a quick intro to Sunflower Bean, in both name and spirit?
Nick came up with the name, he just said it to himself one day and it kinda stuck. Band names are hard, you know? If something feels right, you gotta stay with it. He was also obsessed with sunflower seeds and Jacob was obsessed with coffee (beans). So there it is. We’ve been playing together for about 2.5 years, we were all in small local bands in NYC before, and when we finally came together, the stars aligned and we just decided to go for it.
Your debut record Human Ceremony is out on Feb 5th. How long has it been in the making? It’s been called a ‘coming of age’ record – is that true?
Some of the songs on this record are very early songs we revisited for the record. We felt they represented some parts of us we wanted to have on the album. There was also a lot of new stuff we wrote just in the months leading up to recording the album. We stopped playing shows in NYC so we could focus on writing.
It’s up to the listeners to decide!!!
You’ve said that you’re bored of American indie being dominated by old stadium rock bands (cough, hi Dave Grohl). Is 2016 the year you give them all a run for their money?
It doesn’t have to be us!!! I would just love to see rock and roll make a big come back in the American mainstream. Billie Joe Armstrong tweeted during the 2015 VMA’s something along the line of “damn, not one guitar band on the show under 40”, and I think he hit the nail on the head. We want an album from our generation to make it big and change the world, I would love to see another “Nevermind” come along and blow rock music up again, bands like Twin Peaks, The Districts, Sheer Mag, any of them! I believe in our generation!
Sunflower Bean have supported a ton of great bands so far, from Best Coast to Wolf Alice – but is this your first UK headline tour? What have you got in store for us?
It’s been great so far and all the shows so far have sold out!! We couldn’t be more happy. We have been playing songs from all of our discography and one new one that we wrote in the past month or so, super excited about that one.
Sunflower Bean play Sneaky Pete’s on Monday 15th February – tickets available here.