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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Q&A with Sure Sure!

 

SureSure - ZachBell[Friends]
Image via frontrunnermagazine.com

Sure Sure’s self-titled album is nothing short of cool. Each song somehow makes you feel content and inspired. Taking vintage sounds and making them modern suit these California natives quite well. Start to finish, an album that will surely be on repeat in my house for quite a while. Here’s what the band had to say about the album, inspiration, and future plans!

1.) Opening song, “Giants” is such a fun and relatable tune. What inspired the lyrics?

 “This song burst into existence during a Dungeons and Dragons session in which we were fighting a lot of giants (we are still on the same quest actually…). Mike started playing these really basic chords on a children’s acoustic guitar, and Chris started singing an off-the-cuff melody, and suddenly we were singing ‘Don’t let the water burn you baby…‘ together with our friends Scott and Chase and Hank. The lyrics sort of fell into place after that, taking the form of tongue-in-cheek yet sincere life advice. But the lyrics were also inspired by the feeling of being overwhelmed by the insanity of the world, and the reciprocal feeling of wanting to experience something simple and warm, like the sunlight on your skin or the touch of another human being.

 2.) How would you describe your sound on this album?

 “Warm and crackling and a bit breezy. End of summer/early fall. Sunny Radiohead”  

3.) The vocal unity throughout the album reminds me of the band Chicago. What other artists/bands do you look up to for inspiration? 

 “Nick Drake is a huge inspiration… Tame Impala, Radiohead, Feist, Steely Dan, Anderson .Paak, Talk Talk, Big Thief, George Harrison (and the Beatles of course), Andy Shauf.”

 

 

4.) Piano seems to be coming back in pop, alternative, and even rock music. What’s your opinion on keeping that “band” sound in music?

 “We just got really into capturing organic, acoustic sounds on this record.  This also probably had to do with the fact that we were listening to a lot of folk (Andy Shauf) and old Beatles (Help! / Hard Day’s Night) at the time. We still love synthesizers and modern crisp production, and you can actually hear a somewhat different production style on some of the older tunes on the album like ‘New Biome’ and ‘This Must Be The Place.’  But the bulk of the songs (‘Info Machine’, ‘Foreign Room’, ‘lowlife’, ‘K-Town’, ‘Friends’, ‘Giants’) were written and recorded quickly – each song took about two days – and we captured them in more of that traditional band style with layered acoustic guitars, upright piano, organ, and ukelele.”

5.) What song are you most excited to perform live and why?

“Oh boy… ‘Hands Up Head Down’ has quickly become our favorite on tour with Hippo Campus because we teach everyone the dance move and suddenly a thousand people are dancing like zombies while we play. It positively pops off.

6.) What does 2018 look like?

“Tour! On tour now until end of Feb with Hippo Campus, and then we have our own national headline tour in April/May. Meanwhile we will be recording new material whenever we are home in LA, as well as making live videos in our house. Gonna be a wild year.”

 

For more information on Sure Sure, visit their website!