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A Chat with Sunflower Bean’s Julia Cumming

SUNFLOWER BEAN are an American indie rock band from NYC; they’re currently three shows into their UK tour, having had released their second album, Twentytwo in Blue, earlier this year. I caught up with Julia Cumming from the band, ahead of their Glasgow date, next Monday (26th November).

 

It’s been a good few months now, but congratulations on the sophomore album release! Where did the title “Twentytwo in Blue” come from?
Thank you! We actually came up with the name on tour in the U.K. I remember we were sitting in the van, thinking about the music and the images that were defining it, and I sort of just let it out. We let us sit there for a minute and felt it, and what it meant for the record. It was kind of classic, sad yet hopeful, and very defining. It was perfect.

How long was the album in production? 
The album was in production for about a year. Half of that was writing and compiling, and the other half was recording.

What was the writing process? Did you lock yourselves in a room until it was done, or let yourselves have a bit of freedom with it?
We did this record differently than our first, especially because I was bringing in ideas on guitar as well as nick. I was a guitarist before I was a bassist, and it was powerful to bring that to the band setting. That being said, Nick really led us into a new chapter with his guitar playing, which was really classic and absent of the chorus pedal which had defined our first record.


You’ve obviously got many influences, but what made you come together as a band in the first place, and decide that this is what you want to do?

It was very natural for us. We were kind of like the weird kids at a school, who eventually find each other. We were the ones crazy enough to do it, and we were the youngest out of anyone in the music scene.  It was only a matter of time.

What makes anyone with passions come together? Drive.

You’re from New York & Brooklyn, but you’ve played all around the world. Do you have a particular favourite country or venue to play in?
We really love to play in the UK! It’s been a wonderful second home for us. And Asia is incredible, so delicious and culturally different.

And NYC of course!

What do you think your biggest achievement is so far?
I think our record Twentytwo in Blue was our biggest creative undertaking and really rewarding. But our new EP might be my favorite yet!

Your UK tour starts next week too; are there any places you’re hitting that you’ve never played before? Or parts of the country you’re excited to adventure in?

Cardiff, Leicester, Oxford, GLASGOW! My grandmother was from Glasgow and I never feel like I’ve been there enough to understand her life there.I think because we are on a bus this time we have more time to see the cities.

What are the best and worst things about being on tour?
The best thing is learning and experiencing other cultures and audiences. The worst I think is missing your family and friends, and your whole world back home. It’s a nomadic, beautiful life on tour, but it’s definitely a particular life.

How would you describe your live show to someone who had never seen you play before?

Exciting, loud, open to improvisation, and different every night.

What can we expect from Sunflower Bean after the tour?
We are going to be working on getting the EP out there, and making sure we do that justice. We will be collecting ourselves after lots of touring and getting ready for a NEW CHAPTER!

Sunflower Bean are playing in Glasgow on Monday 26th November at the Art School with support from Miya Folick and Jesse Jo Stark.

 

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