Interview: Sundae

Sundae - Photo courtesy of Sundae

Sundae - Photo courtesy of Sundae

For a band without a full-length its name, Sundae, a four-piece shoegaze-y band from Sevilla, Spain, has built up a lot of buzz in the Internet world, something which guitarist Cris Romero said was interestingly unconnected from any kind of active pursuit to be noticed.

“We actually don’t know why, [but] we ended up getting a lot of [write-ups from blogs],” he said, explaining how the end of 2010 brought with it a somewhat puzzling and unexpected wave of attention for a release that came out in 2009.

Alongside the demo from 2009, the band – which also consists of singer David Rodríguez, guitarist Jose Rodríguez and percussionist María Barrero – has a handful of other releases and pending releases to its name – demos, singles and tracks on compilations – all of which are on varying labels, both domestic and international. Beko, Happy Prince, Dufflecoat and Foehn are a few of the names Romero mentioned. The band will also be releasing two EPs close together, on Susy Records and Little Treasure respectively, and has plans for a full-length next year, on yet another (currently undisclosed) label.

“We’ve spent a lot of time writing the songs but couldn’t really record them until this year,” Romero said, explaining why there will be a sudden influx of music, which encompasses recording the LP beginning next month.

Regarding songwriting, Romero explained that there are a couple of ways it typically occurs.

“Either it’s Davis bringing a demo that I use as a base for programming the definitive backing track…or it’s me bringing a chord sequence [in],” he said.

Regardless though, he said that the band does its best writing as a group, without question, due largely in part to the dynamic between the four of them.

“We definitely prefer to work together, as each of us sort of knows the strong and weak points of the rest of the band,” Romero said. “We get a lot of balance from that.”

That working together is evident in the clean recorded sound of the band, and Romero shared that the members of Sundae consider themselves to be more of a studio-centric band anyway. As a result, one of the bigger payoffs for the members is when a recorded version turns out just as, or better, than expected.

“The most rewarding part can be listening to a song you’ve been working on for ages, and then realizing it’s a song you’d like to hear all the time if it wasn’t yours,” he said.

There is one interestingly possible point of contention for bands like Sundae: the fact that their lyrics are in Spanish and not English is a decision that was discussed by the members in the beginning.

“I guess we just felt it to be more natural for us,” Romero said. “Each of us has actually a different opinion regarding this matter, but we agreed that Spanish was the best option for us.”

He noted, however, that there is a curious phenomenon in Spain of bands singing in either language.

“The funny thing is, most bands singing in English in Spain don’t really try to be known outside Spain, whereas most Spanish bands that are more or less well-known abroad sing in Spanish,” he shared.

As for Sundae’s own aspirations of fame, Romero said that while the band enjoys what it does, none of them have illusions of becoming rock stars, especially considering the time commitment being in a band requires.

“We all have day jobs and don’t think of quitting them, and being in a band becomes another job, even if you really enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t know if I’d like to do it full-time really, but it is really difficult to find the time it needs.”

In particular, he noted that as musicians, it’s important to continue working at improving one’s own musicianship.

“It’s essential to try to get better as a musician all the time,” Romero said. “Of course, I’m not talking about doing those infinite metal solos and so on, but [of the need] to try and sound cleaner and better.”

He explained that working toward improving his own approach to music facilitates better understanding, which means he is able to figure out how or why the music works in a particular way, and improve upon the sound if it’s still lacking.

“It’s not even to sound better, but to make things easier for you and avoid feeling frustrated if things don’t sound like you’d like them to,” he said.

Sundae plays Sunday at Wasserturm Kreuzberg in Berlin, as part of the weekend-long Indie Pop Days. The show begins at 15.00.

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