Indie + Alternative culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within their respective genres. We constantly feature notable indie and alternative artists on the verge of success. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview.
Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: The German based trio known as The Sunjays:
For me (Johnny) there were many albums but the following were the most inspiring ones. Prince: Sign of the Times, Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentleman We are Floating in Space and most recent: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away.
I (Mr. Hinz) really can't name two or three precise albums which got me into music, it was more like a fade in with lots of artists and bands which inspired me.
What are your fondest musical memories?
Pete: Maybe not the greatest story ever, but a really nice memory with The Sunjays: We had a show this summer close to the sea and after the gig, we drove to the coast to camp up at the shore line. We had to ride about 20 miles to get there. Chris, a good friend of ours and also our sound guy, was driving the old VW camper van and Johnny was sitting shotgun and put on some really good tunes on the stereo. Mr. Hinz and I were in the back of the van, dancing and drinking some nice long drinks. We lit a candle and the whole van was drenched in a hazy mixture of warm candle light, a bouquet of booze and fuzzy tunes. Quite a romantic trip to the ocean.
Johnny: I have two. They're not that musical but my most fondest! 1. Hearing Pete slurring that he´s too drunk to remember any picking pattern when we were entering the stage and 2. Seeing Mr. Hinz throwing his drumstick and picking up the new one within a millisecond with the same hand. Straightfaced!
Mr. Hinz: Back in the days when I was collecting CD's, I loved to rip off the cellophane sleeves and to check the lyrics while listening to the CD simultaneously. I was the maddest person on earth when I couldn't find any lyrics in the booklet.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
Pete: I love guitar music , especially 60's beat, psychedelic, sunshine pop and a lot of 90's indie bands.
Johnny: I like the last century because of its many musical and technological inventions. The sixties are great, but so are the seventies and eighties. But I also like listening to Schubert or Scarlatti or to roaring rivers.
Mr. Hinz: I basically dig hip hop the most.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
Johnny: I don´t dream of any collaborations. I had collaborations with my socalled dream acts and it turned out to be a nightmare. Sometimes it is better not to look behind the curtain. You need to match. Collaborate with friends! The reason for a collab should never be that you´re are a big fan of XYZ. You don´t know these guys.
Pete: I totally agree with Johnny on this. However this question is so tempting I can't resist thinking about my dream collaboration. I'm sitting at the desk with Phil Spector (before he went nuts) and Brian Wilson and we listen to our demo tapes. Phil says: "Yeah guys, this really has its moments. Let's add some horns here, some strings there and backing vocals to the chorus. Brian will do the harmonies with you later." Meanwhile The Wrecking Crew is getting ready to record the first takes in the echo chamber. Oh sorry,did I say takes? I mean the first and only take, we're talking about The Wrecking Crew here. After the recording is done, Rick Rubin and George Martin joining in for mixing and mastering. Too humble?
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process?
Its hard to say, there isn't really a protocol. It just happens while shredding along some chords and when it feels good then everybody knows we've got a new song. A spirit appears out of the aether into our heads. Here are some signs, that it's just happening now: 1. Johnny starts jumping around and screaming in very high tunes, like an opera singer. 2. Mr. Hinz looks confused , happy though and keeps playing the drums like nothing happened. 3. Johnny again is jumping more ambitious , now making weird faces.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
Sharing is always a good idea. But mostly it is not sharing. It is taking. When you listen to spotify, pandora, youtube you get music for free. You invest some minutes in listening to advertising. But technically you only pay your phone bills. Not for music. The most annoying thing: It is all low quality. People become attuned to low quality sound! Anyway. We think playing gigs with a solid record on the merch table is even more essential. A friend of ours (Digger Barnes) is almost invisible on FB etc. But he is making a living by playing great gigs and selling copies outside the social network radar. You don´t rise spending your time in front of your computer selecting the best profile picture. You rise in your rehearsal room and then mainly on stage. It's about making new fans and friends out in the clubs and at festivals. Social media might be an add on to stay in touch with your people.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
There is always a lot to do and our whole label-band-studio-company never sleeps. Especially the label needs a lot of attention. Right now we are working on new songs and booking shows.
Thanks once again to the guys from The Sunjays for talking with us. You can keep up to date with them via the following social links.