Finding Sweet Peace with Sunny and Gabe
Sunny and Gabe haven’t released a full length in five years, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy. Gabe Niles has been working with legendary producer Rick Rubin off-and-on in LA on secret project with big names. Sunny’s been jamming on side projects such as the jazzy dapzam and collaborations with Opal (which has been featured on a couple TV shows now), and solo stuff kept under wraps for now.
They blessed us with a few bites recently, with Vacay and Hadouken, the single off their new record. Now they’re serving up several slices with “Peace of Cake,” released this week. The first Time Traveler’s Ball last fall spun a few tracks in the DJ setlist, but now they’re performing entirely pre-enjoyed jams live at Origami this Saturday for round 2. Popscure caught up with them before the show to talk about where they started, their travels, and what inspired the long-awaited album.
Tell us a little bit about your origins - how did y'all get together to start making tunes?
Sunny - He ripped my song off of SoundCloud and remixed it. Soon thereafter, I recorded on the coolest beat I’d ever heard. We started e-mailing back and forth and had an album’s worth of music within a couple of months.
What music, art, or otherwise do you pull inspiration from generally?
Sunny - I just let it come through me. I’ve always played with word association and letting my mind go wherever it wants. Kind of like stream of consciousness. Whatever feels right is right. I’m mostly inspired by this and how it mixes with my own state and emotions, and how it can fit into whatever instrument or instrumental I’m faced with at the moment. I love so much music that I have no idea what is influencing me. Love weird shit and honest shit.
Gabe - Colorful things. Chaotic themes. Sci fi. High energy, jazzy moments.
What did you want to do differently with this record?
Sunny - Make it sound a little less dusty. I love Free Candy and the way it sounds but we wanted to clean this stuff up enough to be presentable and ingestible to a wider audience.
Gabe - This record we actually took our time lol. Not really, but the sense of it. Actually just made more songs and chose from a bigger pool of records…so we could be patient and hold on to some classic songs for the next rather than overload.
What scene do you hope to set with this album?
Sunny - Oh man, just a big run through time and space.
Gabe - Space casino latin bar called LNS-19 is pretty much the vibe. LNS-19 stands for Latin Nights Sector-19. Def kinda futuristic. 5th element/Cowboy bebop vibes
I know long-term partner D.r.a.m. is on this record. What are some Other exciting collaborations you worked in?
Sunny - I’ve mostly collabed with my own dark emotions.
Gabe - Oh ye, gotta dream team. Gary Donna from our band touches a lot, he is one of my main collaborators. Dude is crazy. Roget Chahayed on the keys for a couple records. He is a walking platinum plaque. Despo aka Los Hendrix, craaazy guitar player from Yonkers based in LA. He produces for Brent Fiyahz, one of the first musicians I met in LA. Pip, amazing composer. He arranged and played a lot of the strings you hear throughout the record. He produces as well, very well rounded. PaperDiamond mastered it, dude is a genius. Justin Battle and Mike Mizzle came in on “Sistermoon.”
You all are time travelers, what time periods influenced the music on the new record (past or future since you have seen it all)?
Sunny - A mix of everything at once. A lot of 70s I think. A lot of smoky jazz clubs as well. LNS-19 is a smoky jazz club in the future. It’s just whatever you feel; it’s right.
Gabe - Mesoteric Era meets Jetsons meets 2003
As for the present day, how do you feel about tunes coming out lately, for better or worse? What's exciting you and what's disappointing (if anything)?
Sunny - There’s a lot of the same shit that’s getting a whole lot of attention right now. There’s also a lot of GREAT shit going on. I’m a little disconnected and only occasionally find/am introduced to something I’m reallllly feeling. When I saw King Krule come out with a big ass buzz it was probably the most motivating thing I’ve ever seen.
Gabe - It's a lot of good shit that comes out that just gets kinda pushed to the side occasionally. It's kinda mundane when you hear a lot of the songs that sound exactly the same, but you also gotta understand the culture. It's a great canvas tho, since it’s kinda flat lines. So it's still as exciting as it is boring.
From when Sunny and Gabe began roughly 5 years ago to now, how has the industry changed?
Sunny - I have no idea what the industry even is because I’m afraid of it, but it seems like everything is about some playlist or something. I miss albums. I really miss like, guitar music. I don’t really use weird genre names to describe what I like but I miss GUITAR MUSIC. Some hard ass shit. There’s so much smooth shit. I get really tired of stuff that just sounds really good, smooth singers, smooth beats, just FUCK I wanna feel something. My bad, I’m like an old school person who likes shit nobody has ever heard of. But there’s a lot of good shit, again, don’t get me wrong.
Gabe - *Clears throat* it hasn't. The only things that changed forreal are the gates and the gatekeepers. Play ball.
What does the future hold for music, and what are your efforts to push it in that direction?
Sunny - I want to help inspire others to be different. Straight up. I’ll fight until I’m dead if it’s going to help someone else do what they want instead of try to follow a trend.
Gabe - See above.
Seems like you all have been holding onto these tracks for quite some time... why is now the right time for release?
Sunny - We are SLOW AS FUCK. The tracks got too clean and had to get dirty again. We made SisterMoon last month. There's so many reasons. We have no boss so for two creatives it’s a nightmare trying to get to a point where we call something “finished” Now is the right time because it just happened to happen. No idea.
Gabe - They forced their way out after holding us at gun point.