Hot off the heels of their highly-anticipated sophomore album, Image du Futur, Montreal rock troupe Suuns falls between no-wave New York, a little bit of grunge, and lilting jazz mastery. You could say they’ve rounded the bases through just about every decade of the twentieth century.
Max Henry, bassist and keyboardist from Suuns, phoned BeatRoute from his home in Montreal upon his return from Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) to talk about no wave, the future and hot sauce.
Drawing comparisons to Sonic Youth—whose front man, Thurston Moore, was spotted at one of Suuns’ SXSW shows—Suuns are marked by their succinctly no-wave sound, particularly present on several of the tracks on Images du Futur.
The collage of genres on Image du Futur move between math-rock in “Powers of Ten” to indie-folk-pop in their most popular “Edie’s Dream”.
The musical range on the album may be attributed to their formal training, but listening to Henry makes it clear that they are really just fascinated by their medium, particularly in its most raw and experimental forms. “There’s an amazing phenomenon where someone will just throw their hand on their guitar with this shape and come up with this chord that sounds amazing and they have no idea what [it is]… when you don’t understand what you’re doing you still get a visceral reaction from it, and you’re still controlling it, but in this very unscientific way and it’s almost a kind of prayer.”
Image du Futur is a mixed-melody, pop, post-punk album making it more accessible to a wider audience, but Henry still sees the craft as an outlet for experimentation. “I think if you’re gonna really make a go of it as a musician, any kind of musician, no one’s kidding anyone, no one’s making money, so if you’re out there all the time touring, the only real currency that stays is creative ambition,” he says.
“I wish I could tell you we were mainlining heroin, or something,” Henry says with a laugh when asked how the band spent their time offstage in Austin. “If we weren’t playing a show or loading in, we were at the hotel, there was a pool, it was nice. I got a bit of reading done – we all did. We were just enjoying the weather.” Pausing for a moment, he adds, “I went on a crusade to find hot sauce for my roommates… and it all got taken away at the airport because I put it in my carry-on. But yeah, we like to read, we like to listen to music in the car, occasionally we’ll talk about some nice things. Pretty chill.” Not to suggest that they’re purely negative, but for bands festivals can sometimes feel like, as Henry puts it: “the musical equivalent of sitting under a heat lamp and rotating slowly.” Currently on their first leg, or the mini-tour, the band embarks on a larger international tour in late April.
Suuns play the Media Club in Vancouver on May 23. As well, they’re also on the Sled Island roster in Calgary.
By Jessica ToddAB, Alberta, BC, British Columbia