Multinational surreal pop group Sunny Day Sets Fire announces limited U.S. dates surrounding premiere of Paramount Pictures documentary American Teen featuring songs from the band’s forthcoming debut.
Sunny Day Sets Fire has announced a very limited stateside engagement in late June, when the band of musicians from many lands and backgrounds will perform a handful of shows surrounding the premiere party for American Teen, a documentary on seniors in an Indiana high school and their various cliques. The Paramount Pictures release features songs by Sunny Day Sets Fire, which the band will perform at a private launch party as well as select venues and radio appearances around Los Angeles. See complete show details below. These will be the band’s only U.S. dates until the fall 2008 CMJ New Music Festival.
Ostensibly a band founded in London, Sunny Day Sets Fire is a group with many homelands, many talents and many sounds. The quintet’s unique brand of hummable surreal pop is a perfect soundtrack to summertime that could perhaps best be compared to artists like Blonde Redhead, The Flaming Lips, Architecture in Helsinki and Band Of Horses. The mid-summer release of its IAmSound full length debut Summer Palace will certainly establish Sunny Day Sets Fire as a reference point unto itself.
In a swirling event of coincidence and musical attraction, band founders Onyee and Mauro found each other between paychecks and popcorn. Both were ushers at their local repertoire Chelsea cinema in London when they realized their similar palates for bands, artists and sounds exacted a nice beginning for some collaborative efforts. Ideas occurred and the two recruited friends to fulfill orchestral duties. An act was born. Sunny Day Sets Fire dug their toes into the ground, and got pumped for the future comings of their psych-pop band life.
It is a landscape that is both rich and broad. Any band can drown themselves in old vinyl for some choice inspiration, but the Sunny Day worldly influence and background provoke a top spirit and caliber to their topsy-turvy psychedelic stack-up. Collectively, the band hails from Hong Kong, Italy, Sardinia, Canada, and of course, London. The result is something of a pop hybrid where 60’s beach rock collides with new patents. Catchy melodies spill into astral instrumentation and kaleidoscopic guitar tangents. These tunes are very much alive and optical.
Lead guitarist Max, deriving from Sardinia, says it best: “Our music is the result of the clash of five different backgrounds that in most cases, come out in a very unconscious way. Any input coming out from anyone of us triggers something from the musical and visual imagery of the rest of the band members. [This] adds to initial ideas of the songs and in a way that often transform them into something a bit different.”
Mauro, originally from Italy, is the lead vocalist, 12-string guitarist and occasional drummer of Sunny Day Sets Fire. He cites director Harmony Korine, black metal bands and Surrealism as personal influences, and acts as the band’s main songwriter and composer. When his rounded and endearing chorals flirt with the whimsical electronics, the result is snappy and fun. The rest follows as effortlessly as a picnic.
After Onyee (a Hong King native) and Mauro found each other at that fateful cinema, the two performed as a duo for a handful of exhibition openings and artist video projects. Onyee contributed her appreciation for Velvet Underground, 60’s Motown girl groups, and Leonard Cohen, as well as the “pure memories and emotions you get from watching gigs, [and] from looking at a work of art or performances.”
Evolution knows how to ignite. When Mauro whipped up a set of songs with a mint-fresh direction, Onyee (sporting her talents with back-up vocals, drums, synth and glockenspiel) got motivated and pulled Max from shaking cocktails to play lead guitar. Now things were rolling, now music was being made, gigs were being played, and bands like Sunny Day Sets Fire were really covering ground. A year and a half later, Ed joined on the bass, the band’s only London native.
So, Ed, what influences you? “Touring and the exposure to new sounds, attitudes and altitudes. Fearless freaks. Michel Gondry… James Jamerson… Paul McCartney and The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers… Salvador Dali.” Ed’s addition adds another layer of novelty and complexity.
But that wasn’t enough. “We needed a Timpani player! So thanks the almighty we found Matthew,” Mauro says. “We started playing as a four-piece and after having some fun, guess what? We wanted to have much more fun.”
In addition to his percussion roles, Matt the Canadian toils in synth and backing vocals. He notes favorites in Sonic Youth, Television, Stereolab, Chuck Berry and more. Daydream Nation “taught me about what a band should be.” Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs “taught me that music could be like a book” and Television’s Marquee Moon “taught me about musicianship and striving for excellence.” Surely, he nested into the forward-thinking Sunny Day Sets Fire just fine.
In the summer of 2006, the band signed to American indie label IAMSOUND Records with the four-song Brainless EP released later in the year. On February 26th, 2008, IAMSOUND issued a remix EP featuring CSS and XXXChange from Spank Rock, The Cool Kids and Mad Decent/Diplo. The EP has been wrangling in excitement for Summer Palace, the Sunny Day full-length set for July 8th, 2008. One can only begin to envision the sorts of cakewalks Sunny Day Sets Fire crafted for these upcoming 14 tracks. It’s the kind of project you can easily get stoked on.
Yet, no one is as excited as Sunny Day Sets Fire. Like Mauro says, “Here we are now. The fantastic five looking for adventures in the sublime jungle of frequencies.”
Sunny Day Sets Fire Live:
06/22 – Los Angeles, CA The Roxy (w/ Oxford Collapse and Frightened Rabbit)
06/24 – Los Angeles CA Spaceland
06/25 – Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theater
Summer Palace Tracklisting:
Release Date: July 8th, 2008
03. Teenagers Talking
04. End of the Road
05. All Our Songs
06. Smallest Heart on Earth
09. I Dream Along
12. Brainless (MP3)
13. Map of the World
14. Lack of View