Sure Sure Talks Inspiration Behind New Album, “What’s It Like?”

sure sure album cover.jpg
Image via suresuremusic.com

This foursome released their sophomore album What’s It Like and immediately filled the music scene with the retro/hip void. Bouncy piano chords, falsetto verses, and cheeky lyrics hoist Sure Sure to the top of my summer playlist. Each track feels vintage and yet timeless at the same time. I’ll enjoy this album at 25 and 50 with no concept of when the songs were actually released – that’s the beauty of music, right?

After listening to the album on repeat for several days, I knew I had to talk to these guys and get their insights on the album. I saw they posted their phone number on their social media accounts, I thought “well I might as well send a text and see if they answer.” THEY DID. I sent some questions over about this superb album and they answered that day. Everything about Sure Sure is fun and just plain honest.

How would you describe this new album “What’s It Like?”

What’s It Like is like time traveling back to the 90s, when you were growing up, except you go back in your current adult form; there’s a pool party, and everyone is invited. The party starts in the afternoon, and it’s hot, but it goes late, and the mood softens when the sun goes down and the fireflies come out. At one point, once most of your friends have gone home, and it’s just the core crew sprawled out in the grass, you get a little sad. You reflect on what you’ve lost and how you have changed (or not). And then it’s time to sleep. You wake up and it’s 2019 again and it’s time to get to work.”

I hear a lot of retro sounds and musical compositions on this album. Who are you inspired by while creating this music?

“We made this record over a period of about a year, so we were listening to so many different artists during that time. Prince was a big influence on the title track; Lou Reed inspired the vibe for ‘Might Might Not,’ D’Angelo was big for ‘Sedona,’ and we wrote ‘Good Thing’ in the Elton John//Frank Ocean tradition, i.e. ‘Benny and the Jets’ and ‘Super Rich Kids.'”

What song are you most excited to perform off the new album and why?

“I think we’re most excited to perform ‘Good Thing.’ We’re about to make a live video for it this week. We’ve only played it at a couple shows so far, but you can feel the whole crowd bumping to the slow groove, and it feels great.”

What are the main themes of this album and why were they important to you?

“Probably the biggest theme on the record is love and relationships—’What’s It Like?’ is about how easily you can fall in love with a stranger, ‘Warm Animal’ explores the exhilarating feeling of a new relationship, ‘Out of My Element’ is about feeling too down on yourself to even ask your crush out for ice cream. We also wrote some of the tunes about what it’s like to be in a band (see ‘Good Thing’ and ‘Sedona’). I think we all gained a huge appreciation for being home and relaxing once we started touring. I mean, we love touring, but it’s kinda like when you move away from the place you grew up, and you realize how much you loved that place… That’s what ‘Sedona’ is about. For ‘Good Thing’ we took some of our own experiences, like when Kevin was sick for a while in 2015, or when we hit a deer in the Cascade Mountains, and we created a song about the trials and tribulations of a semi-fictional band.”

Giving out a number to fans. Who decided to do that and why? Also, how has it been to have a direct line to fans?

“Well, back in 2017, we realized we were paying for a landline in our cable bill, so Mike and Charlie went to Staples one day and bought a telephone. And that was that. Sometimes people call expecting it to be fake, and when we answer ‘Hi, Sure Sure here,’ they get freaked out and hang up immediately. Lots of times we just have a casual chat with a random fan, maybe they’re studying for finals, or procrastinating studying for finals. One time we got invited to a birthday party in Eagle Rock; turned out to be the birthday party of the prop master for that show Nathan For You. He told us a great story about the chili-dispensing suit he had to build for Nathan on the Chili Man episode. In short, the landline phone has been well worth the $10 per month.”

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Who You Need: FINNEAS

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Image via summerfest.com

WHO: FINNEAS

WHERE: Los Angeles, CA

GENRE: Pop

TOP SONG: “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night”

While searching for “FINNEAS” on Spotify, you might find his artist page and feel inclined to read his “about” where he honestly writes “Bios are boring”. Not only is this a testament to FINNEAS’ overall view on the music industry but also deconstructs the notion that listeners should just care about the music and nothing else.

On his latest single, “Angel” a gentle piano guides the song into a lovely ode to his girlfriend, Claudia. He dedicated another song to her appropriately titled “Claudia” earlier this year. There’s no doubt love is on the brain, but FINNEAS also took the time to write a song about losing a best friend on “I Lost A Friend“. He opened up in regards to this change of pace saying, “I’ve made a lot of music covering romantic relationships and a lot covering family but I’d never been able to articulate what it feels like to lose a friend until now.” The song is a raw look into a meaningful friendship and how sad it is when it’s gone. “I’ll be fine without him, but all I do is write about him,” FINNEAS achingly sings throughout the powerful track.

Oh…did I mention he’s on tour with Billie Eilish? Playing guitar and opening her shows… because he’s her BROTHER. Somehow, amidst the fame chaos, he remains “low key” in his musical endeavors, not trying too hard to be seen. FINNEAS seems to genuinely be happy with making music – no matter the success. Grounded and mature are two words to describe the singer, songwriter, producer after watching a recent interview he did with his sister and Zane Lowe.

With a slew of impeccably produced singles under his belt, I can only hope FINNEAS is working on an album to be released sometime in the near future.

 

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ROZES Talks Mental Health, Writing Music, And Her Passion For Women’s Rights

If you’ve never heard of ROZES, think again… because I guarantee you have. In 2015, an EDM duo called The Chainsmokers released a song that broke down pop barriers and pushed EDM to the forefront of the radio waves. “Roses” became an instant hit and fan favorite, garnering over 6 million plays on Spotify. The song was written by Elizabeth Mencel (ROZES) and The Chainsmokers and continues to amp up fans whenever it’s played live. But do you know who ROZES really is?

This Philadelphia native has made a name for herself since her radio hit with The Chainsmokers and continues to keep her voice and music as personal and real as possible. This year alone, ROZES has released three songs, all incredibly beautiful and meaningful to the singer. As a mental health advocate and woman in the music business, ROZES has a lot to say and she says it well.

I asked some questions about her latest single “Call Me“, her time at Alicia Keys’ writing camp, and what the rest of 2019 looks like for her music career:

Have you always been passionate about social and mental health issues? When did you feel comfortable including those themes into your music? (“Call Me” “Halfway There”)

“I have always had the fight for social and mental health issues inside of me. I grew up bullied and started struggling with mental health from an early age because of it. As I grew older and felt more comfortable in my skin, I started using music to speak out about the things I was feeling and what I believed in. I was never going to fit in, so I decided to stand out.

My music always has a deeper meaning to it than what is shown (or heard) on the surface, a lot of my earlier songs are about my struggles with love. But I think I started getting frustrated with writing about the same thing as everyone else, when the world is  struggling with much deeper things beyond that. I started to recognize that my words had weight to them, and the things I believe in, and the people I love, need to be supported, too. I guess I’m trying to be the hero I never had. ‘Halfway There‘ and ‘Call Me’ are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m refusing to write about anything ‘easy,’ now is the time to speak out, so I’m going to.”

Explain being a part of the “She Is The Music” writing camp? How did you get involved? How was the experience?

“I was invited to the join the writing camp by someone who was setting it up, and I’m so thankful. This experience was so empowering and inspiring. We got to sit down with Alicia Keys and discuss music and our favorite artists that have inspired us as music makers. Being a part of this camp made me realize that we have to be the change we want to see. It starts with us. As an artist, it is my responsibility to be inviting females into the studio to create- we have to help each other. I worked with some of the best writers and producers and wrote some of my favorite music, including my latest single ‘Call Me’.”

Do most of your songs start on the piano? What does your writing process look like?

“I think it’s pretty evenly split between piano and guitar. I typically have a concept that I want to write about. I have a running list of words and concepts in my phone that I write down when I feel inspired by something and depending on who I am writing with or if I’m writing by myself, I’ll  pick a specific concept. Then I settle on some chords and the melodies and lyrics follow! My process does change, but that is the typical skeleton.”

What’s inspiring you these days?

“I am truly inspired by the world around me and the struggles each human must face in their lives. I am very strong in my beliefs, and that plays a huge factor in my writing. I’m inspired by my fight as a woman be to seen and treated equally,  by the LGBTQ+ community and their fight to love freely, by my honest and true struggles with mental health and the determination to channel it into something healthy (music), by the heartbreak and injustice that modern day racism is still causing in our country, and so much more that daily life shows me.”

What does the rest of 2019 look like for ROZES?

“I’ve got lots of music and collaborations I’m really excited about! I hope to be playing shows and getting on a tour for fall!”

 

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