[Behind the Beat] SunSquabi Talks New EP, Spring Tour, and One Super Cool Dog
If you love electro-funk the way I do, you’re probably already obsessed with SunSquabi. This Boulder, CO band is comprised of Chris Anderson, Josh Fairman and Kevin Donohue, and is a part of All Good Records. Their new EP, “Deluxe,” comes out tomorrow, April 7th, and they recently set out on a not-to-be-missed spring tour. If you’re in New York like me, catch ’em at American Beauty on April 29th (tickets here!). Otherwise, scroll down to check out the full list of tour dates. Kevin was nice enough to answer a few questions for us, so read on to learn more about what we can look forward to with “Deluxe,” fun times with the other All Good artists, and more.
Let’s start at the beginning – where does the name SunSquabi come from?
SunSquabi was just a word that we would throw around when we were kids. It literally means nothing else other than our identity. So when we started producing music and got a computer, that was the computer password so we used it to title the project. Having a unique identity helps us keep an open mind as far as what direction this project can go
Josh is a relatively new addition to the band – was it easy for the 3 of you to find your groove together?
Most definitely! Josh is a great bass player, as well as an amazing producer and recording engineer. We have a lot in common and we’ve all known each other for about 4 or 5 years. He has a lot of experience in playing in the funk realm with his other band (Analog Son), and he was the engineer on the ‘Odyssey’ and ‘Deluxe’ sessions, so we feel like he really gets the vibe of what Chris and I are doing. We are really focusing on building our sets and writing new music, as well as taking our improvisation to other places and trying to expand more there.
You’re at the beginning of a Spring tour right now – what are you looking forward to most about the next few months? I’m pumped for your NYC stop with Maddy O’Neal!
This tour coming up is going to be crazy, we are bringing a brand new light show, new tunes…we just put an A/C in our van so I’m excited about that. We’re hitting a lot of spots that we haven’t had the chance to play very much in (NY, Boston, Vermont, Alabama..), a few spots that we’ve been before with old friends (ATL, Austin, Milwaukee, Detroit). After all of that we get to come home and play Red Rocks on May 6th!!! There’s a lot to be excited for…that show in NYC you’re talking about on April 29th at American Beauty is going to be RIDICULOUS. I met Maddy and Alex (Late Night Radio) at a yoga studio in Niwot, CO about 5 years ago. A friend and I were the only ones that bought tickets, and I think the power went out twice mid performance (It was in someone’s garage at a yoga studio). Afterwards we hung out and talked about playing Red Rocks someday and how pretty much anything is possible….So it is pretty incredible to be playing a show with your best friends in New York City 5 years later!
You recently released a single, “Dexter,” as a preview for your new EP, “Deluxe,” which comes out soon. What do you want to tell fans about this track?
“Dexter” was so much fun to create. It was pretty much all recorded in one day, aside from the saxophone that Nick Gerlach (Michal Menert band) added in a day later. It was one of the smoothest songs I’ve ever seen come together from scratch to finished idea. Nick’s sax line really tied the song together, but most of it was written by Josh’s dog Dexter that hangs at the studio with us.
I would actually love to know more about the cover art for “Dexter.” You’ve got this green cartoon dog with sunglasses and a jet pack presumably shooting off into outer space. Is the dog Dexter? What’s his deal? He seems like a cool dude.
Dexter is the COOLEST dude. It’s pretty much a scene that we feel represents what our music makes you feel. We want you to have a good time.
The title track ‘Deluxe’ is about seven minutes long and is one of the more epic tunes we’ve recorded. A very great friend of mine and former bandmate, Leah Druzinsky, is featured on the last single ‘Daydream,’ which is a really kind of Steely Dan-esque groove. The whole EP is really about the pocket and the feel of the groove.
I was at your Webster Hall show with The Floozies last year. I remember that GRiZ was in town and it was such a treat when he came out to jam with you guys on “Odyssey,” the song you have together. Who else would you love to have sit in with you on stage one day?
First of all thank you for being there, that was awesome! Grant is always super fun to play with. This is a really great question, I would say Derek Trucks on some interdimensional slide guitar over a drum and bass groove. Roger Troutman on the talkbox/synth….and for one more I’ll say Victor Wooten because…Victor.
Everyone on the All Good Records roster is incredibly talented, but it also just seems like a really fun, goofy group. Do you have any favorite All Good stories to share with us?
It’s really hard to pick just one…we have had so many great experiences with each other. I’ll pick a few times over the last year or so..
Watching GRiZ at SnowBall 2014 in Denver with Manic Focus….and then going back to the studio and writing the beginnings of Get Down until 4am…he was at our first show ever in Chicago and the most recent sold out one.
Getting a pass to play with GRiZ at Summer Camp 2015…then losing it on the first day…but being forgiven and having the chance to play songs we’d written together in front of thousands of happy people in the rain.
Having Russ Liquid invite all three of us to play the last 20 minutes of his set for his last show on tour with The Floozies last year, super funky space jams from space ensued and now we’re great friends.
And finally just getting to see the look on Matt’s (The Floozies) face whenever we play on stage together, priceless.
What music are you listening to right now?
Vulfpeck has been a pretty constant theme, Pomrad is a new one, the Avalanches, Jeff Beck, Boards of Canada
What do you do for fun when you’re not working on your music?
I’m really into video games, but not really any of the new ones. When we’re not working on music though I’d say we’re usually going to shows or just playing music for fun. Or talking about music.
What are your post-tour plans? Taking any well-deserved down time or do you already have another project in the works for the second half of 2017?
We’re trying to get right back into the studio when we get back in May and start working on a new LP for next year, we’ve got some really big shows planned throughout the rest of the year, but I can’t quite tell you where yet! So lots of new music and lots of big big shows, Squabtrain keeps on rollin.
Tell us a SunSquabi fun fact!
I was in an episode of South Park once. You can find it. The one about facebook. I become friends with Stan’s Grandma.
Thanks for answering a few questions for Mix 247 EDM!
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Photo courtesy of Sunsquabi