New Orleans-based Sun Hotel came up on the indie blogosphere a few years back with their free self-released EP Team Spirit. Since then they have proven themselves as an extraordinarily talented rock band that can pump out epic and emotionally charged tracks seemingly with ease. They are now signed to Chinquapin Records and are set to release a new EP. Their music consists of four part harmonies that will make you cry and guitars lathered so thickly in glorious swampy reverb you’ll snap your neck banging your head.
I recently had the chance to catch up with guitarist and vocalist Tyler Scurlock of the band and get some details on their exciting, soon to be released EP Gifts. Check it out below.
MJ: Do you have a favorite moment of your career so far?
Tyler: I thought I was going to explode at our release show for our first album “Coast”. It was the perfect venue, perfect line up, and the crowd was as much if not more inebriated than we were, making for a very exciting interaction when we got on stage. On the other hand, the time off stage while touring is always my favorite to remember. Spending four days wandering Manhattan during the summer, showing in waterfalls, and marveling at all the different landscapes across America are the kind of moments i’m incredibly grateful Sun Hotel has allowed us to have.
MJ: You’ve been known to play house parties and have made quite a few quality free releases. Is this part of your band’s personal philosophy? Are these things you will have to eventually say goodbye to as Sun Hotel inevitably gets bigger?
Tyler: if anything, i’d like to see Sun Hotel’s releases in the future get free-er! and maybe we can move from house parties to backyards or pubic parks for shows… Our philosophy is basically that there’s nothing less alienating from a crowd than playing on the floor instead of on a stage, and maybe with a little creativity, and just little bit of love, we won’t ever have to give up that kind of connection.
MJ: What inspires or fuels you on a daily basis? What do you write songs about?
Tyler: I am completely fueled and completely inspired by people. I try to write about experiences and feelings, hopefully universal ones, big and small, like living in a house, getting along with someone, or Panopticism.
MJ: From your free glo-fi version of your album Coast, it seems like Sun Hotel is a band that can do a lot with a little. Do you think so? Are you guys gear nerds at all? Are there any pieces of gear that are essential to your sound in recording or playing live?
Tyler: We love minimalism, but we also love walls and walls of sound. I think between the four of us we have something like fourteen delays pedals, whatever it is, the ratio of delay to people is often times frightening. I’d have to do some serious soul-searching if I ever parted ways with my Roland RE-20 Space Echo pedal, sometimes I’ll find myself leaving it on for the whole set without noticing, it puts a little space in our set.
MJ: Sun Hotel seems to be a fairly prolific band. Walk me through the process of creating a Sun Hotel song.
Tyler: Typically, I’ll begin by writing a skeleton of what that song is going to involve, usually a few minutes long. I’ll record a cassette demo for the band, who get their hands on it and turn into something you could hardly recognize. Once we have all the music worked out, we go home and work on harmonies in the living room and then we begin playing it live. Then while we tour and play new songs over and over they change the most, until we get home and record the finished product.
MJ: Tell me about your new EP. Do you see it as a departure from your sound in Coast or Team Spirit at all?
Tyler: We all subconsciously recorded in ways that is making Gifts sound gigantic. Alex had the impulse to record all his guitar tracks through three terrifying amplifiers, I went ahead and doubled tracked all of mine and John played what sounded more like a violin than a bass by the time his tones made it through his great wall of pedals.
MJ: Once the EP is released do you guys have any big tour plans? Will the west coast finally be able to get down to Sun Hotel live?
Tyler: We will be going on weekend tours during the fall since we are all going to be back in school when the album comes out, but we will make it out as far as Austin to the west and Tallahassee to the east, then hopefully we’ll do a longer US tour during the holiday season. We are certainly anxious too blaze the Western trail, and we will be making plans to head out the next sizable break we get.
MJ: New Orleans has produced quite a few good indie rock bands. How is the New Orleans indie rock scene unique? How do you think it shaped your sound or what you write about?
Tyler: New Orleans is so uniquely cultivating for bands. I’ve never been to a place where music is so expected and that has produced so many venues that are willing to not only give local bands a show, but pay them! The sense of community in the New Orleans music scene is something everyone at our label, Chinquapin, and at our best friend’s appropriately named label, Community, try to encapsulate in everything we do. Unfortunately, there have been a few break-in’s and thefts this year leaving New Orleans bands without instruments, but the community we have here has quickly helped them bounce back with numerous benefits, compilations, and teamsmanship.
MJ: What are 5 New Orleans bands Metrojolt needs to know about?
Thanks again to Sun Hotel for their time. Make sure to support Sun Hotel by purchasing their music and pre-ordering their soon to be released EP Gifts. Enjoy these other gifts from the band below.