An Interview with SunSquabi
Photo by Sage Thomas
Festival Squad: Hey guys, it’s great to meet you! I’m a huge fan. I caught you guys at Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL last year at the late night Campfire stage and you guys threw down! What do you have in-store for your set at Enchanted Forest Gathering?
Kevin Donohue, Guitarist/Producer: Thanks, we love coming out to Northern California. It always reminds us a little bit of home here, and we like to get really loose in the mountains. We’ll be playing some brand new music, as well as tunes from our Odyssey and new Deluxe EPs. We try to change our set up and improvise every show that we play, so you never really know what you’re going to get.
FS: Multiple publications have referred to you guys as “One of Colorado’s most demanded up-and-coming acts in the electronic music scene.” How have your lives changed over the course of the last few years?
KD: Our lives have changed a lot in certain ways, not a lot in others. If anything, we have all become more focused on creating music and pushing this band to the next level. It’s like, for so many years we have worked so hard to get to the point where we are now – traveling the country, putting out records, receiving good feedback from fans all over the world. But it is this point that has motivated us to really dig in and push this band as far as we can take it! We’ve reached a lot of our goals that we made starting out as a band, so we are constructing new and bigger goals to achieve in the coming years. Life is great.
FS: Speaking of big changes- 2016 was a HUGE year for you guys. You performed at big festivals such as Electric Forest, High Sierra, Camp Bisco, Hulaween, and many more. What was that experience like? Any major highlights or favorite festival/venues?
KD: It’s so difficult to pick just one favorite place that we’ve been able to perform, some weekends we get to experience a lot of different places all at once. For example, last year we got to perform at Hulaween at Suwanee in Florida, then got in a car and drove to Atlanta to perform at the historic Tabernacle with Big Gigantic the next night. Every place that we get to go has its own character and things you remember about it. Performing at Electric Forest was probably my favorite festival from last year. The band or myself were involved in 5 different sets over the weekend, all with friends and people we’ve been playing music with and growing together with for years.
FS: Let’s look into this year- 2017. You guys released your second EP- Deluxe- in April and it’s even funkier than the first! What were some of the major musical influences that helped shape this EP versus Odyssey?
KD: I think that Odyssey is still a point in which we were figuring out our sound, and Deluxe is more of a mature point in the development of our sound. Obviously, our influences change all of the time, and this EP was heavily shaped by old school funk like Herbie Hancock, Chuck Brown, Jeff Beck, even more of a Steely Dan influence. It’s really about the grooves and the feel within the rhythms of the songs, as opposed to flashy solos or piercing melodies.
FS: On both Odyssey and Deluxe, you guys collaborate with some insane musical talent such as Big Gigantic, Russ Liquid, and GRiZ himself. What’s the collaborative process like?
KD: The process is different with anyone that you will ever work with, and I would say that the best comparison is like having a conversation with someone. It’s a dialogue, not a speech. Like on both sides you are finding out what the other person likes about the tune and trying to create a space where they can be themselves within your work. Every person comes to you with a different persona and a unique way that they fit into the music, just like we all have a unique voice and unique opinions in conversation and in life. The most fun thing you can do in this life is making music with your friends!
FS: If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would you want to work with and why?
KD: This is always a tough question. I would say if there was anyone I could work with in the studio it would be Sir George Martin, the producer and ‘5th Member’ of the Beatles. It would be an incredible experience to see how his vision worked in creating an entire world of sounds and telling stories, especially using the studio gear of the late 60’s and early 70’s (we didn’t even have Multi-Track until the early 70’s). The albums this man created are all classics, every single one. So that would be amazing to learn his perspective, but if I could play on stage with anybody – it would have to be Jeff Beck.
FS: I’m pretty excited to say that I’ll be catching quite a bit of your performances this summer- I will be attending High Sierra, North Coast, and (finger crossed) Dominican Holidaze. What are you most excited for this touring season and what more do you have in store for your listeners for the rest of 2017?
KD: We can’t wait for High Sierra, it’s one of our favorite festivals to go to and the area around Quincy, CA is so incredible that time of year. We have a huge festival set in CO for Arise Festival August 4th-6th, and we will be announcing our biggest headlining show yet after that performance. The big show is scheduled for November, I can’t tell you where yet. We have a fall tour in the works with one of our favorite bands of all time, and we are working on the first stages of a brand new record which we hope to start sharing by November this year. Coming sooner this summer though is North Coast festival, Night Lights in NY, Shangri La in MN, and a few remixes that we’ve created for our friends! Always new music on the horizon.
Check out Sunsquabi’s music below and make sure to catch them on tour this summer!