Sunless ’97 are elusive people, to say the least – a gig here, a single there – but in the short time they’ve been going, they’ve played Bestival to made amazing Lana Del Rey remixes, showing enough promise and taste to demonstrate they’re here for the long haul. We talk to the euphoric dream-pop trio.
How did you start out as a band?
We (Alice and Ed) have known each other since we were 16 and have always worked together on ideas and had little projects on the go, but usually more visual/film stuff. Making music came pretty naturally as Ed had made music for a while and we live together. We listened to and talked about music for a long time so I guess Sunless was a product of that! We met Matt through a friend early on in S97, and it fell into place.
Sunless ’97 is a million miles away from Ed’s previous projects like Larrikin Love and Pan I Am – how deliberate was that for Ed?
Change is good and progressive, it’s the only way to move forwards…so I wouldn’t say it’s deliberate, but more just human nature to me to embrace that. It’s nice to have an output that has space to progress within it and that can be constantly developing.
There’s a massive electronic music resurgence right now – how do you think Sunless ’97 stands out?
Our new recordings have live elements too, we enjoy that line between organic and electronic music, playing with the balance. We do talk about how we want our music to sound, but like many things, it often fails the original idea and takes on a different life…. Then we follow and enhance that thread. We try not to set up any boundaries for ourselves, but then, we are particular when it comes to recording about what we want individual components to sound like. There isn’t one overall sound we strive to replicate or anything. Sometimes electronic music artists get too ‘genre’ specific. There are many masters of their craft, that we respect massively, but for ourselves we just want to keep it open and keep ourselves excited by what we are doing.
Who are your favourite new artists right now?
The UK has so many great new artists, A few people with amazing releases this year are Bullion, Brey, Lone, Kwes, Hello Skinny, our brother Palmistry&Triad God and also love all the amazing pop songs that Dev Hynes is writing and producing for other people!
Where does the name Sunless ’97 come from, especially the ’97 bit?
The filmmaker Chris Marker (who died a few months ago) made an amazing film called Sans Soleil in 1983. The themes of the film resonated with us and felt relevant , the way it communicates extremes, the malleable nature of memory, the feeling of something “other”. We thought all of our songs would be about this feeling to start, we have loosened up abit thematically now though!. The 97 bit holds a number of meanings, many insignificant….
How would you describe your music in a sentence?
Explorative, open minded, moving, groovy, inclusive/anti-exclusive, with catchy moments.
How do you guys find playing live? Is it something you look forward to?
Taking our music into the live setting was always going to be a challenge. We are still learning every show we do, constructively criticising ourselves and each other, but the live show is slowly progressing into something with a seperate identity to the recordings, which is really exciting for us. We want to go on tour to hone our craft.
Any unusual inspirations or influences?
Nothing too unusual – just music from all over, people, films, communicating, travelling, running, collaborating, eating and drinking, walking home at dawn etc
What can we expect from you guys in the future?
More music, we just want to keep making music, and releasing and sharing it.
Follow facebook.com/Sunless97 for more updates.
Words: Zing Tsjeng