TALKING ABOUT ROCK AND ROLL
Canadian band, Suuns mix psychedelic charm with modern relevance
by Maria Raposo
Just when everyone was mourning the death of guitar music, the Canadian band Suuns resurrected rock and roll. Teaming Ben Shemie’s breathy, instrumental vocals with dark currents of surging, reverberating synths, Suuns’ music mimics the effortless psychedelic sixties while remaining relevant to a modern day audience. The adrenalin inducing guitar injects an urgency back into music and with the band’s live shows complete with on-stage stagger, the foursome communicate genuine feeling. Kids Of Dada had a chat with Suuns and found out more about the men behind the music:
KOD: With electronic music booming, it feels like rock has taken a back seat lately. Are you here to bring it back?
Liam O’Neil: We're here to bring it back, but this time it's wearing a shirt that says "My son went to the techno club and all I got was this lousy tee-shirt".
KOD: Your tracks have an effortlessly cool, old school quality but remain relevant to a modern audience. How do you achieve this?
Liam O’Neil: We listen primarily to old music, but we still have YouTube parties and stuff. Also, we smoke cigarettes like it ain't no thing - that might account for the "effortlessly cool" thing.
KOD: Do your lyrics ever react to current events or are they purely personal?
Liam O’Neil: Well, to a certain extent current events are so environmental it’s hard to avoid them influencing your lyrics. Mostly they are personal though. Powers of Ten [from 2013 album, Images du Futur] has some really oblique references to the student protests in Montreal last spring.
KOD: You've played at several festivals this year, including Glastonbury and Dour. Do you get much time to enjoy yourselves at these events or are you always busy?
Liam O’Neil: Usually it's a get in/get out scenario. I mean, you're still working, right? That said, our lives are basically just huge vacations. Leaning tower of Pisa? Sure. We'll check that out on the way out of town after coffee. We did get to hang at Glastonbury for a day, which just an amazing display of humanity and organization.
KOD: What has been the best 10 minutes of your career, so far?
Liam O’Neil: The recurring ten minute period in which you realize the potential of a new song you're working on.
KOD: And the best live show you've played?
Liam O’Neil: Oh. We really like playing live, so there are a lot. But one time we played after Warpaint at the Haldern Pop festival in Germany, in this beautiful wood and stained glass gazebo, and I remember that show being very special.
KOD: Do you sing in the shower?
Liam O’Neil: But of course
KOD: Would you say your music reflects your personalities?
Liam O’Neil: As a sum of their parts, yes. I'm actually beginning to realize that more and more and it's comforting. It's like if we're good with each other, we'll keep making good music.
KOD: I read that your video Pie IX was influenced by Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void. Do films influence your music in other ways?
Liam O’Neil: Sure, insofar as our music is linear and, we think, visually evocative.
KOD: Both your videos and your music are quite psychedelic. Would you agree?
Liam O’Neil: Love that word. Psychedelic. You can put it anywhere and it works. Like "cool".
KOD: What do you do when you’re not making music?
Liam O’Neil: Ah. Cleaning the house, reading books, bike trips, exercise, some films, a schvitz here and there, worrying about your whole life, making love, drinking and smokin' fat batts.