The Sun are a pack of five college buddies (Chris Burney, Sam Brown, Bryan Ardnet, Brad Fossblom, Brad Caulkins) from Ohio who have spent the past three years crafting a collection of addictive pop songs that will catapult them into the next point of uncertainty. Their latest release, Blame It On the Youth (Warner Bros.), is a complete DVD version of the conventional cd album, and follows EPs Did Your Mother Tell You? (2004) and Love & Death (2003). I met up with lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Burney after their show at Bowery last week, where they rocked out their brassy, post-pop garage to a glazed handful of admirers as the openers for The Essex Green and the Shout Out Louds. Within minutes of meeting Burney, initial conversation led him to mention how important he felt it was for people to step outside the comforts of their hometowns.
Tripwire: You’ve been touring the Midwest. How is that going?
CB: It’s going very well. The coasts are better.
Tripwire: How do you feel about being in New York?
CB: I feel good about it. There’s a lot of energy. It smells wonderful. I like the smell of the city. Good pizza and then trash and then urine and then good pizza again.
Tripwire: In your interview with the Suicide Girls it seems like you have these indie ideals that clash with commercialism. How do you reconcile that? You’re with a major label now.
CB: Indie ideals – I don’t know yet. I haven’t made up my mind. I was idealistic when I was younger but it’s been a few years since I can get it into my system again – having kids, having girlfriends…having wives, families. People want different things. Contradictions are kind of fun. You gotta play into contradictions...I’m still learning about my convictions. I’m a late bloomer with convictions. I thought I had a lot of it when I was younger, but it didn’t work.
Tripwire: Tell me about your earlier years. What were you like?
CB: I’m still very young. The late bloomer as far as…in a youthful society to where if you haven’t accomplished your shit by the age of 27 it’s like, “Oh, you’re old, you’re about to be 30.” Most people don’t believe that too well but...you meet a lot of later 20s people who are like, “I’m so old” but I’m like, “No, you’re not old at all”. You have to live a little before.
Tripwire: How old are you now?
Tripwire: What made you sign with Warner originally?
CB: It was really funny. I was living in LA and it was kind of a joke….I had just finished a tour.
We played for about three hours once we got back to LA and we played a couple shows, and someone from the label came down and then called some other dude at another label. There was this bidding war for a band-that-really-wasn’t-a-band-yet, you know. We were like, “We’re going to get some beer, and some money, and it’s going to be cool.”
Tripwire: What is the next step for you?
CB: We’re going to make another record. We recorded a bunch of new songs over the past three years …we just put out two other records on the internet. We’re trying to find someone else to put those out. The label said “We’re not going to put them out, put them out as you wish." (The Sun) “Really, you’re going to sign off on that?" They’re like, "yeah”.
Hopefully someone else will put those out. We’ll have four or five records out by the end of the year that we’ve been sitting on for three years.
Tripwire: What is your song-writing process like?
CB: I spend a lot of time playing bass. I’ve been on the road since I was 15 playing upright bass …. I’m not a good song-writer yet. I don’t think I’ve written anything very good. I haven’t learned about the story songs yet. I know the basics. I played under a lot of really good song-writers, people who I really admire. I hope to write some great songs. I don’t think I’m there yet. I think I’ve got it in me but I’m still figuring things out.
Tripwire: What’s the story behind your band?
CB: We’re all old friends from college. I lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Went to college. Didn’t like it, dropped out, then met these guys from another band. Started recording.
Those were the people that came back and they’re like, hey you want to come out to LA? We were really naïve and star struck.
Tripwire: About your videos. “Romantic Death” (which depicts rapid cuts of various facial expressions from the shoulders up of people climaxing while masturbating.) What inspired that?
CB: I like that one. It was dirty. Nothing too exciting. A kid from a website sent us this thing that he had made. This guy who really liked the song put it all together.
Tripwire: Is there a lead view? Or do you all share the same views on this band’s situation?
CB: No, this is the most we’ve ever had each other’s backs. We’re really together as friends. We’re really excited because no matter what happens we’re going to make fresh good tunes together.
Towards the end of our conversation, I asked Burney if he had ever considered moving back to LA since he has warm memories of being on the West Coast. Instead, he mentioned that he’d like to explore elsewhere – possibly Cuba...