Brought together by a love of pop and all things alternative Andy McDonnell and Michael Tyrrell aka SUNS formed two years ago as the sun rose above a rooftop after-party. Written and recorded in their Dalston studio, Suns debut EP explores the themes of our complex human fragility and what it means to be an individual among many. Both are talented writers/producers in their own right, between them they have previously worked with likes of Crystal Fighters, Mount Kimbie and Scott Walker to name a few.
The track ‘Bells’ is a powerful statement of intent; layered synths swirl and rise over a pulsing beat punctuated by powerful lyrics. Clever use of delays and vocal harmonies then build into a dream-like finale conjuring up images of the late night city environment they were created in, giving you a hypnotising experience with the visuals created by Stuart Sinclair.
Volt Café: Let’s start from the beginning! How did you meet and decide to make music together?
Andy McDonnell: Well, we’d both been doing music separately; we’d been in different bands and written a lot. We basically came across each other very, very late at a party. We started talking and had a pretty strong connection straight away. It was quite weird, I have been working on my own for years and straight away we felt that we’d like to work together.
It was about two years ago. We have written a lot of music since then. We have easily two albums full of material already. We just mainly wanted to write a lot and then decide what we’re going to do with it.
VC: Have you released anything together before?
Michael Tyrrell: No, this is like the day one.
AM: It feels weird because we have been making music together for a while by now.
VC: When is your first EP released?
MT: November 18th, there’s going to be six tracks and two videos.
VC: How would you describe yourselves as artists?
MT: We’re making music the way we see it: interesting music with pop sensibility that is influenced by our favourite sounds.
AM: Pop music is everything nowadays, you switch on a radio and you have different stuff but they still have the core element. We want to keep the core and add the textures and cultural elements that we like and see how far we can go with it.
VC: Where does the name come from?
AM: The name comes from the idea of singularity and plurality.
MT: I think that very often the common thread in our lyrics is questions of humanity, what it means to be an individual amongst many people, what it means to cope with your everyday life. The name Suns just stood out to us, if you start with a religion you look at sun watching as an early paganism ritual, for us it’s the development of your humanity and becoming more aware, complex and intellectual.
Is that really deep? It sounds deep.
AM: It’s quite heavy.
It also gives you openness, we don’t want to define ourselves, it is a worldly thing, we can approach these kinds of topics. We don’t want people to be able to define us too much.
VC: Who sings the vocals?
AM: 90% of the time Michael does the vocals. For this song it’s kind of 50/50. I don’t do much singing but for this track I felt like I wanted to.
VC: Tell us about the process of the video “Bells”, who made it?
AM: It is a friend of Michael’s actually.
MT: We sent him the track and he loved it straight away.
AM: He’s a really talented animator, he’s called Stuart Sinclair. It was quite fun way to do it because he listened to it and he saw what he wanted to in it. He went deep, all the stuff in the video is actual NASA scans from the telescope. We were blown away! There were just few things we wanted to be in there but otherwise it was all him.
VC: Like what?
MT: It was more about the feel of it over all, the colouring.
AM: We are very visual based the way we write as well, we saw what he was doing and it was amazing but we just gave few suggestions like keep all the colouring at the end of the video. So it starts with dark black and white and gets more colourful at the end. There is a story through it, even though you might not realise it straight away.
MT: It’s quite important for us that the songs are opened for an interpretation. So you could experience it your own way. Giving the track to Stuart and see what he comes up with it was a really exciting experience.
VC: What’s going to happen next?
MT: We are already thinking about the next EP.
AM: We’re recording it already actually.
MT: We have so much material so it’s more about the question: what should we publish next? This EP is really an introduction of what we do and now we have to decide where to take it further. We are considering a live performance but before we want to make sure that we get the staging, imagery and instrumentation perfect. We’re working on it at the moment.
AM: I think there will be something next year, ideally it will be another EP and some kind of a performance early in the new year. We’re thinking of doing a series of videos that involve collaborations with some photographers. We don’t want to show up at 6pm before other bands, it’s not that kind of a project. It’s more about really connecting with people, if we have to do it online for a while, we’ll do that and if we get a good show, we would do it straight away.
MT: We’re really happy to have friends to collaborate with who keep on surprising us how talented they are.
AM: Collaboration is definitely the key for what we are doing. There will be more people involved.
Words by Regina Sepp
TagsAndy McDonnell, Michael Tyrrell, Regina Sepp, Stuart Sinclair, Suns,