New Albums, New Directions: The Sunshine Underground in Interview
Rory Carroll caught up with the Leeds three-piece at Volvo Snowbombing to discuss the new material - and the freakishly hot Alpine weather…
“Tell you what, I am sizzling here! Black t-shirt… what was I thinking?!”
Mayrhofen in the spring will make you ask those questions. One minute it’s all snow and mountains, the next you’re blindsided by a 26 degree day that threatens to melt you inside your own clothes – as Stuart Jones, guitarist for The Sunshine Underground, discovered midway though our interview at Volvo Snowbombing 2011.
Later that night, the band took the stage on the same bill as DJ Yoda, Dan le Sac and the mighty 2manydjs. Daunting? Not for TSU – but when your first ever DJing experience was opening for the Belgian duo, being back behind your instruments probably seems like a cinch.
They also have the ultimate comfort blanket, the TSU Army, who travel incredibly well and make sure every show feels like a hometown show. The chants of “LEEDS! LEEDS! LEEDS!” echoing around The Racket Club later proved as much. Is that reassuring? ”Yeah, because they know what the gig’s about; these are our people…” laughs Craig [Wellington, vocals/guitar].
But devout fans also have burning questions; questions about new material and whether there will be another four-year gap until the next LP.
“I was very conscious of doing that,” says Craig, referring to the band’s attempts to allay fans’ fears on Twitter. “The whole touring of album two [last year] felt like it was old [to us] when it was new to everyone else, so now we try to be a bit more immediate: put the demos out almost as soon as they’re written and get the record out this year.”
“It keeps people excited as well,” adds Stuart. “People feel like they’re in the loop if you’re putting it out as soon as you’ve done it; they feel like what they’re hearing is current.”
So what of the new material? More indie-disco shenanigans? “It’s written completely differently,” begins Craig. “On the first two records, the songs came about through us being in a room around a drum kit together – a typical rock band format, I suppose,” adds Stuart. “This time a lot of the ideas have started on the computers and we’re filling in the gaps to those songs with the instruments.”
“It’s a lot of synths instead of guitars, basically,” concludes Craig. “The last track we made was trying to be a more rocked-up version of our first record. And then it was just… maybe try and step away from the guitars completely.”
It’s a bold step, but the demo of ‘The Same Old Ghosts’ on Soundcloud suggests that they haven’t forgotten their indie-disco roots. There may be a few extra synths in tow, but the TSU Army is still marching on.