Sun Club are a band of contradictions, one which makes you scratch your head and ask ‘What the fuck was that?’.
Their songs are shambolic and sloppy, but in a calculated way. Live, they’re heavy as hell, veering from atonal post-punk to abrasive, hardcore-style screaming to white noise soundscapes, yet on record – at least on their debut album, released just a few weeks ago – they conjure up some of the best and most catchy (anti-)pop moments of 2015. It’s a bit (and also nothing) like PiL crossed with At The Drive-In crossed with Cloud Nothings – which is precisely how they don’t want to be described.
“We want to be able to expand into being more than just a typical band,” says guitarist Shane McCord. “I don’t think we’re a super-typical band at all, but it’d definitely be cool if it got to the point where people say ‘We should do that thing - like Sun Club.’ We want to be one of the staples. But that’s an end term goal – that’s 15 years in the future!”
Started in Baltimore in around 2010 by McCord and his brother Devin, who plays drums, the band are also goofy as hell. Rounded out by Kory Johnson (keyboards), Mikey Powers (guitar and vocals) and Adam Shane (bass), the set that follows this interview starts with a friend of theirs running onstage to an ‘80s power ballad in nothing but a pair of speedos. Not to mention the fact that their debut record is called _The Dongo Durango.
“It’s a phrase that can mean anything,” chuckles Shane, “but basically, one of the members of the band slept in the same bed as a girl. We do that sometimes, just because it’s a bed and they let us share it. We woke up and we were in the car, and I like messing with this particular member of the band a lot, so I said ‘Hey! Did you give her the old dongo durango?’ I didn’t really mean anything by it – my brain just latched onto a bunch of different words. But then we just started using it – like, ‘What are you doing today?’ ‘Oh, I’m just doing the old dongo durango!’”
“I’m psyched we named our album that,” says McCord, “but I’m kind of bummed to go home because now when I throw it into sentences, people are going to call me out on it, like, ‘Stop saying the name of your album!’”
While that goofy, playful side is indicative of a general attitude, it doesn’t mean that what they make is one-dimensional. Even though The Dongo Durango has just been released, they’ve already written around half the songs for the next album, which they want to put out next year. And while they aren’t going to be turning into Joy Division any time soon, they are insistent that they don’t want to be pigeonholed as being entirely irreverent.
“Not all of our songs are necessarily happy,” says McCord, “but a lot of the vibe from being in the band so far is just really fun. I honestly love and respect bands who can tastefully make an album that’s not particularly happy, and actually pretty depressing, but there’s so many bands that are just whiney and annoying and it’s just like ‘I don’t give a shit.’ Our future stuff doesn’t sound as outgoingly happy as stuff we’ve written in the past – and our new stuff sounds super different – but I honestly still think the best way to make a sad album is for it to sound like it’s not sad. And I think that’s how the band will continue to go.”
The Dongo Durango is out now. For more information on Sun Club, visit their official Facebook page.