Sunflower Bean Loves When You Buy Vinyl
There’s a common belief that youth is wasted on the young. While this is generally true (let’s face it, kids are dumb), there are noteworthy exceptions, such as Nick Kevlin, Jacob Farber, and Julia Cumming and their burgeoning band Sunflower Bean. Barely out of high school, the Brooklyn-based three-piece has already toured with the likes of DIIV and Best Coast, having performed over one hundred times in a single year. That’s an inordinate amount of shows for a band that’s so young, both in its formation and actual members.
The group’s brand of gentle psychedelics and sweet guitar riffs is partially inspired by the likes of Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Velvets. You can hear it in their recently released debut album Human Ceremony, available for streaming here. We chatted with the trio about meeting in their early teens, the end of the world, and what it feels like to be one of rock music’s fastest growing acts.
How did the three of you meet?
Julia: We met through the music scene…all of us had been playing in bands since we were like 13 or 14, and our old bands had played together. We stayed in touch, and eventually the boys asked me if I wanted to play bass for them. The stars aligned!
What were your respective musical backgrounds before meeting?
Nick: Jacob and I had been playing in a DIY band called Turnip King for a few years around NYC, and Julia had also been involved in various musical projects. We have all been playing music since we were very young and have parents that encouraged us to play.
Are there any particular themes or notions that you find yourselves singing about frequently?
Nick: Loneliness, technology, and the end of the world.
You just released your debut album. What was the recording process like?
Nick: We spent our entire summer in the basement practicing, refining, and planning for the recording of the album. It only took us 7 days to record the album and another couple of weeks to get the mixing and mastering completed. We worked pretty nonstop and single-mindedly to make it the best album we could possibly make.
What would it take for you to feel like this debut album is a “success?” What is success to you?
Nick: That is really hard to tell. I hope that as many people listen to it as possible and as many people enjoy or find meaning in it.
What type of person do you think is connecting with your music? Who do you see when you look out into the crowd?
Nick: I love our demographic and fans because they are very special music lovers that still buy vinyl and follow rock music, and underground music. They are more submerged in listening and finding interesting new things no matter what the rest of the world is listening to.
What are some of the less obvious differences between playing a song in a studio and playing it on stage?
Julia: When we made Human Ceremony, it was our first time going into a really professional studio and working with a producer. In the studio, the possibilities are kind of endless. You can work with as many instruments and sounds as you want. We really enjoyed learning more about the studio process and I can’t wait to start experimenting for the second record! But there is something really special about a live performance too. The improvisational aspect is really cool, and the fact that the whole thing could fall apart at any moment makes it really exciting. And sometimes the jamming you do live wouldn’t really make sense on the record, etc.
Can you describe life on the road a bit?
Julia: Most days are similar, when we are driving across the US, it can take like 10 hours a day to get anywhere. So we look out the window, read, listen to music, eat, sleep…it’s very nomadic. You can’t really think about anything on tour besides actually being on tour. You just have to kind of live in the moment.