Suuns’ music is intense. But, it turns out they’re perfectly lovely, mild-mannered gentlemen. We spoke to them about their new record ‘Images De Futur.’
Suuns are intense. Well, Suuns’ music is intense. It’s actually hard to write about it without coming off like you’re parodying a sexually frustrated Daily Mirror hack. Throbbing and all sorts of silly, coitus-linked words are thrust (whoa there) at you. It’s revenge-fuck soundtrack music. Angry and penetrative. There. Done. So I was pretty curious to see what they were like in real life. Turns out they’re perfectly lovely, mild-mannered gentlemen. Go figure. I recently spoke to Ben Shermie and Joe Yarmush from the band about their new record, Images De Futur, which dropped last week on Secretly Canadian.
Noisey: So, you guys have just curated a festival in Berlin right?
Joe: Yeah, it was amazing. Crazy experience.
Joe: It was full, yeah.
Ben: It was one of the festival organizers favorite editions. No drama.
Are you getting used to having slightly more exciting opportunities now?
Ben: Yeah, it’s not just opening shows in St. Louis.
You recorded your debut album in two weeks and this one in two different phases over a year. Did the timescale make the creative process very different?
Ben: It’s not a different process, but you don’t have that luxury of just casually playing shows, then going into the studio and being like look at these songs that we know back and forth. These new songs started taking shape at the end of the last tour. We had the better part of the year to put it all together.
Sounds pretty chilled?
Ben: Yeah, it was fun.
Joe: We didn’t do anything difficult all year really.
Was there an overall ideal sound you were trying to head toward with this record?
Joe: We try not to over think it too much. If something’s not feeling right we can all tell pretty quickly, so we don’t try to force things to happen that don’t feel right.
You stayed in Montreal to make this album too?
It seems that artists have a lot more freedom to experiment over there. Do you think you could have been the same band in any other city?
Ben: I don’t think so. It’s an inexpensive city. There’s a community that supports it. If nothing else you don’t feel like an outcast doing this. It is an ideal place for an artist.
Joe: If you’re surrounded by a lot of bands or musicians didn’t do something that was maybe different, or more real in a way, you’d be called out. Socially it would be impossible to do that. Some bands try to become mainstream, however that works.
Ben: The mainstream music that happens there is usually French and that’s its own thing. There isn’t an industry for it.
Joe: It’s super lame too. It would be destroyed.
Ben: You’re just in the wrong town for it.
I read that you were influenced a little by the student protests in Montreal?
Joe: Yeah, we were there when that was going on. It was a really powerful thing and something that I’ve never experienced before. It was good to see young people really standing up for something they believe in. Really inspiring.
Did it lead to any actual change over there?
Joe: Oh yeah.
Ben: Yeah. They basically threw out the government. They had to call an election.
Ben: A provincial one. It filtered down to Montreal. Now, It’s so fucked.
Joe: All the mayors are getting thrown out. It’s a very corrupt city.
Really? I thought as all the big money left a while ago that would mean there wouldn’t be as much corruption.
Joe: All the legal money left.
Joe: They’re still unearthing a lot of shit right now. It’s depressing.
It’s not that much better here.
Joe: No. I’m sure.
Ben: Every town’s probably the same.
Do you feel there’s a lot more change to come? How do you feel about the future?
Joe: We’re in London sitting here doing an interview, so I feel pretty good about the future.
What images of the future do you have then?
Ben: I try to be an optimist.
Joe: I think the record might come across darker than it really is. The album title isn’t trying to speak to a bleak future. I wouldn’t want that kind of message.
Ben: The album title specifically comes from an exposition that happened in Montreal in the mid 80s and 90s called Images De Futur. It was all about new technology. Holograms and computer graphic stuff that now seems really primitive.
Joe: I mean you’re always thinking about the future. I think that consumes us. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s just what happens. It’s pretty much the theme of our band.
One of the things I really loved about Zeroes QC is how visceral and dark it is. You get an immediate physical reaction, which I feel is still there on the new one, just a little more obscured.
Ben: We’ve come a long way.
Joe: It’s more crafted.
So, still dark, but now it’s camouflaged danger.
Joe: I like that. Camouflaged danger.
Ben: Yeah, it’s weird because at first our forays into recording were more inline with our new album than our last one. It was more structured. Not as crazy. Then that album happened and I don’t really know why. I’m not sure why the reaction happened that way on this one not on the new one. In a way these songs are more crazy than the last one.
You're right, the tracks sound fuller and warmer this time.
Ben: We put more time into the recording of it. The fact that we did it so quickly last time is the rawness you’re speaking about. Which is the shit in my opinion, it’s like the best stuff, and it is almost impossible to capture.
It has to just happen?
Joe: It has to happen, but it’s nice to move on a little bit and think about stuff. Hopefully it shows in a good way.
So was it quite hard to let go and stop as you had more time?
Ben: Yeah, I think we’re pretty perfectionist. We can get into the minutiae. We can get right down to the molecules.
You’re very much on top of your own visuals too, I hear?
Ben: Joe does all the artwork.
Joe: Yeah, I collaborated, but usually we’re very hands on. Ben does a lot of the video stuff.
Ben: We don’t really have a budget. So if we don’t do it then...
Joe: It’s really hard to find people who are on the same wavelength, especially with videos.
At least no one’s going to misinterpret anything if you do it yourselves.
Do you think your audiences are going to change at all this time round?
Ben: Yeah, I think so. I think some people could get turned off from what you were saying earlier, but maybe will reel some people in. It seems to change from place to place.
What are London people like for you?
Joe: Pretty good. There’s always been a lot of people who come out for shows.
Your Corsica show was heaving and had a really great, intense atmosphere.
Ben: It’s a crazy city to be in, so that gives you some energy as it’s buzzing.
Is that something you’re really attracted to coming from Montreal?
Ben: It’s definitely very different.
Joe: Montreal is a very happening city for North American standards, but you can’t compare any city to London. It’s impossible. Everyone looks amazing.
Ben: Certain cities you feed off of when you arrive. You know there’s potential for something to happen. Our shows have all gone pretty awesome here.
Is that different from back home?
Ben: In North America? There are loads of drunk people just yelling stupid shit.
What are you like at shows?
Joe: Drunk and yelling.
Ben: I’m usually pretty passive. I’m not going to mosh necessarily. Though it will happen.
Who are the best bands from Montreal at the moment as far as you’re concerned.
Joe: There’s a lot of really diverse stuff. The Constellation records stuff is always super interesting. Although not all of it’s from Montreal. That band Each Other is pretty good. Valleys is another awesome band.
Yeah, I saw Valleys at Pop Montreal when I was trying not to pass out from jetlag. They're a bit too quiet for me, but they make really lovely music.
Joe: Yeah, they wont keep you awake. I don’t get out as much as I want. There’s a lot of good bands, it’s crazy. I’d feel bad not naming some of them if I started naming bands.
Very diplomatic. Thanks Suuns.