Sure Sure Talk Pianos, L.A., and Independence

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Sure Sure Is an Indie pop Band from Los Angeles. They Released their Self-titled Debut LP In January 2018. Music In Minnesota’s Aaron Williams talked with the band ahead of their gig opening for local favorite Hippo Campus in the green room of the Palace Theater on Saturday, February 17.

MIM: You guys use the piano about as much and as effectively as any band, especially any young band, that I’ve heard in quite awhile. How do you guys think that fits into your sound? 

Chris Beachy (keyboard, vocals): I’m the piano man. We were really inspired by Andy Schauf’s Album The Party, and we have this old upright in our house that’s more old-timey sounding. It’s a pristine Steinway, and Mike our producer has managed to capture it really well, and really vibily. Sometimes we put it through guitar amps or mic it in strange places, or put a contact mic on it to get that deep resonant piano sound. And then I always try to play pretty simple, straightforward piano lines that cut through the song, nothing too flowery, although sometimes I do like to play flowery things, but for a song it’s nice to have a hook that cuts through like a guitar.

MIM: I think it meshes really well with the rest of what you guys do, be it the synths, the guitars, or whatever else is going on. The Next thing I want to ask you about is one of the songs on the album, the cover of “This Must Be the Place” by the Talking Heads. It’s one of my personal favorite songs, and I thought you guys made it your own on the record. What do you guys like about the original, and what inspired you to include the cover on the album?

Charlie Glick (guitar, vocals): When we started to record the song two years ago, we were watching a lot of Stop Making Sense. The live performance is amazing, I think even better than the recording. At the time we were living with one of our good buddies Scott Zimmerman, and he had a Prophet 08 synthesizer that we have since bought off of him and we programmed that bass line that’s in the song, into the synth, and suddenly, a week later we’d recorded the song. Honestly, I don’t really remember planning much about it. It just kind of happened. We programmed that sequence, which we still play live.

MIM: You guys definitely repurpose it to make it your own.

Charlie: I feel like that song is a great love song, and it’s about being in a whirlwind and not really knowing what’s happening, and that’s kind of how we recorded the song.

Mike Coleman (producer): The Funny thing about it for me was that I knew the song, but had never listened to it meaningfully, I’d never analyzed it and broken it down, so the whole time we were recording it, it was really fresh to me. I remember intentionally trying not to listen to it as much as possible. The most honest and organic way to make it our own instead of trying to do things differently was to just not know what I was doing.

MIM: You’re never going to Out-Talking Heads the Talking heads. You Guys are an independent band, with no record label support, and having self-released all of your music. I want to ask what that means to you and what advantages that confers you as a band.

Mike: It allows us to be really flexible. I know in the early days when we were releasing stuff, It allowed us to really feel out where people are at, as opposed to the more rigid label structure. You can’t really react like you can when you’re independent, and also it affords us a huge amount of creative control, and we don’t owe anybody huge amounts of money.

MIM: It allows you a lot of flexibility for sure

Kevin Farzad (percussion): We want to do this long-term as our careers, and it would be very ideal to be in control of this, making real money, where everything we’re making is our own rather than having to pay back a record label forever.

MIM: A lot of bands fight for creative control their entire careers and after. On labels, it’s not a given.

Kevin: Mike is our producer and engineer, and we’re all very tech savvy and recording savvy, and we make everything in our house ourselves. Traditionally, a record label gives you money to make a record and then they own part of the record, which is fair. But if we’re making the whole thing, we might as well control it. And we like making records that way. It’s fun to stay in control.

Mike: To Kevin’s point, everybody in this group is also a producer and also an engineer in some capacity. And that’s something that’s great about our workflow and our process, it allows us to write and finish as much as we have. I can be setting up microphones, Kevin can be working, Charlie and Chris can be writing something, and its really fluid, and everybody’s doing something always.

MIM: It shows through on your record, The recording is very clean. Some independent bands don’t sound as great as you guys. It sounds really crisp.

Kevin: Every song on that record saw each one of us making 100 decisions on each of the songs.

Sure Sure: One time we were hanging out in L.A., and we were at our buddy’s’ place, and he was playing it. We were visibly uncomfortable, and people were like “Why Can’t you just enjoy it?” and we were like “We made 1000 decisions, We can’t just sit here and listen to it.” You’re literally sitting there re-living every decision.

Mike: I love space, if I make something, I don’t like to listen to it for at least a year

MIM: I feel like at a certain point you just want it out of your hair for a little bit.

Sure Sure: Actually I feel like the less decisions you make before getting to the final product, the more you can listen to it immediately after you made it. That happened with “Giants,” and now that it’s been sitting out I’ve been thinking about it more. I was able to enjoy it more immediately after recording it.

Sure sure: With “New Biome” we made a gazillion decisions, and after we were talking about how long we would naturally be sick of it, but it turned out to be a really popular song and we enjoying it, and we like listening to it.

MIM: You guys are from L.A. Which is a cultural hotbed. What do you guys get out of living there and do you guys consider yourself an L.A. band?

Charlie: L.A. is an interesting scene because there are so many bands, which makes it hard to feel like you’re part of any sort of community. I feel like we’re more of an island. We do have friends that play music, but it’s less of a community that a smaller city might be.

Kevin: I just like living in L.A. Its very pleasant to live there, and we can afford to rent a place and make music there. I like the food, and I like going for hikes.

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