Sunflower Bean on ‘Headful of Sugar’ and headlining Webster Hall – The Aquarian

Next week has a lot to look forward to, like The Black Keys’ new album abandonment boogie (May 13) and Twilight Zone Day (May 11), but nothing is more exciting than knowing that a gripping, psychedelic, high-energy rock spectacle is coming to New York City (May 12). The excitement is so high for this latest event, we suggest you prepare for it by attending their album release show at the Stone Pony (May 6).

Despite their grungy past, New York rock trio Sunflower Bean put all their energy into a A head of sugar, the band’s third album, which is set to become a pop rock classic. Since their debut in 2016 with human ceremonythe rock band experimented with every type of hard-hitting and experimental sound that exemplified growth throughout each album.

human ceremony saw Sunflower Bean vocalist and bassist Julia Cumming, guitarist/vocalist Nick Kivlen and drummer Olive Faber explode onto the scene in 2016. headlining Webster Hall. Their sound may also have shifted and evolved into a brighter space, especially on this upcoming third effort, but the consistency remains the same. “I feel like this new album is made in a really different way than any of our previous albums since it was made over a lot more time during the pandemic. So we went through a lot of different musical phases,” says singer Cumming. “The record has a lot of different inspiration. I’ve been looking to write The Cure-style pop songs for a very long time. We’ve always loved The Cure, though. It’s just represented in a new way on this album.

Songs “Who pushed you to do this?,” “Baby don’t cry”, “Roll the dice,” and “I don’t have control sometimes” have already been released, representing such an incredible assortment of edgy sounds. “It feels like a mixtape,” adds Cumming. “There are a lot of songs that aim to hit different parts of your taste. My dream is that the rock fan finds the more pop elements of the album to be liked and the pop fan finds the heavier rock side. I hope there is a taste of cross pollination. This record is meant to live in the present.

The writing and recording process for Sunflower Bean first peaked during the Sugar sessions. They found themselves at their most relaxed and creative at the time. “For the first time, we had a lot of time to write and record due to the pandemic. There was a lot less pressure to record the album because I felt like the record wouldn’t come out,” says Kivlen, “Working from an instinctive place, having fun and letting things flow naturally is liberating. There really isn’t a formula when it comes to songwriting. Sometimes Julia writes a whole song and then we work together. Sometimes it’s a collaborative lyrical process and we work together on every line in a song.

Cumming adds that drummer Olive Faber (not present for the interview) was able to design this album because it was happening in real time, while explaining that they used production as a songwriting tool.

Then the band are set to headline the coveted main stage at Webster Hall, but the sudden onslaught of fame has yet to hit them. “I was in high school when the first album came out. It was brick by brick. We kind of operate like a family business,” the singer tells us.

“Our lives are so normal, and it’s been so gradual. I’d be happy to play a house show now too,” Kivlen admits of the band’s success so far.

The trio recently released their single and video for “I Don’t Have Control Sometimes” and it’s definitely a cult piece of comedy that reminds us that we’re all human. “When this song was ready to be released, I think it was important to have a visual to enhance the song by being serious and lighthearted. The director, Charlotte Ercoli, wanted a band t-shirt to take control of someone’s life and chaotic things ensue. She made this fun video to voice the song,” Cumming explains.

At the end of our interview, the band said that rock music still has a chance. “I think we’re going to do a heavier album than Turnstile. It’s the upper echelon of music coming from Machine Gun Kelly and Yungblud that will reverberate. The rock scene is a little soft now, but now that the pandemic is over, I think people will want to rock again,” concludes Kivlen.


Rachel J. Bradford