Suuns tickets

Suuns Tickets

From the beginning, Suuns (you pronounce it "soons", and it translates as "zeroes" in Thai) have sought to do things differently. They formed in Montreal 2007, when singer/guitarist Ben Shemie and guitarist Joe Yarmush got together to work on some demos, soon to be joined by Liam, Ben's old schoolfriend, on drums and Max Henry on synth. Their group's first two records, 2010's Zeroes QC and 2012's Polaris Prize-nominated Images Du Futur - both released on Secretly Canadian - were immediate critical hits, and Suuns soon found themselves part of a late '00s musical renaissance in the city, alongside fellow groups like The Besnard Lakes, Islands and Land Of Talk. Still, at the same time, Suuns feel remote from the big, baroque ensembles and apocalyptic orchestras that typify the Montreal scene. "We write quite minimal music," thinks Ben. "They're not traditional song forms, sometimes they don't really go anywhere - but they have their own kind of logic." Or as Joe puts it: "It's pop music, but sitting in this evil space."
Hold/Still is undoubtedly Suuns' most focused album to date, the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting a guitar music that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets. With almost two years having passed since their latest album release, who knows what 2018 holds for Suuns...
Finally returning to London since their 2016 show at Rich Mix, join Suuns at Scala for their biggest London headline!

Artist Bio

Those of you who are familiar with films like The Wizard Of Oz and The Prestige might relate: the mechanics behind the magic can be just as compelling as the smoke and mirrors themselves.

Just ask Montreal outfit
SUUNS. As a band who have been around for thirteen years and toured all corners of the world, there comes a point where the veil needs to be fully lifted. Up till now, the experimental rockers have revelled in mystery like a silhouette disappearing into the mist, putting out albums that rest comfortably in ambiguity, detachment and innuendo. But lately,
SUUNS appear to be more comfortable coming clean with their own inner workings.
“This is a very geeky thing,”
singer/guitarist Ben Shemie delineates.

“But we never really commit to a certain kind of tonality. Whether it’d be major or minor, there's always a certain kind of evading of what your own expectation is.”

Nevertheless, SUUNS’ fifth full-length album The Witness -their first for Joyful Noise
Recordings - once again marks a shrewdly offbeat left turn. The tried-and-true narrative for a
band of this nature is always to ‘move to the deep end’ or ‘out of the comfort zone’. In some ways that rings true on The Witness, though one could say these eight movements
actually show SUUNS in their
most comfortable, candid state.

Self-recorded and self-produced over the majority of 2020-a year of strife, solitude and reflection, The Witness
finds the band holding a
magnifying glass over their own default state of playing and performing. It’s a swift departure from previous album Felt, which exults in harvesting haphazard ideas in their embryonic, demoed versions, as if letting loose a glorious fireworks display into the heavens.

The Witness, meanwhile, pours SUUNS’ music into a more intricate mold, compelling Shemie to unravel himself lyrically in a much more pronounced fashion.

“There’s something interesting
about the idea of a collective witness, being a witness to the time we’re living in now,” he reflects.

“And the connectedness of what we all have in common. But also, literally: bearing
witness to all sorts of things and how that desensitizes you. There’s a recurring line that comes back on the record:
“I know that you’ve seen it too.”

A song like ‘Clarity’ is also about pulling the veil off and seeing things for what they really are. It kind of comes down to being true to
yourself and acknowledging what is and isn’t real.”

Opening cut ‘Third Stream’ experiments with jazzy brass and prowling piano flourishes a
kin to Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden, sounding like a band being profoundly present, being a witness to themselves in some respect.

“These songs are a little more expansive-sounding”, drummer/percussionist Liam O’ Neill comments, “And I can imagine that if we get to play them live, they’ll probably be even longer. But that was the general idea, to the extent that we never have an intentionality behind what kind of record SUUNS is going to make. After Max (Henry)
left, being ten years in the game, we felt a little bit exhausted by that endless album/tour cycle.

Night after night, we realized: ‘We’re really just playing a bunch of songs.’ With
The Witness, we tried to do something a little more immersive and longform. That’s the reason we always
loved playing ‘Edie’s Dream’, because it’s like a whole environment you step into. Or just incorporating drones we freely improvised. Those moments were always our favorite parts during live sets. It felt like both us and the audience were part of this whole wave that was

Perhaps unintentionally, SUUNS
have always been a strangely intimate band, and with The Witness, they themselves became aware of the extent of this.
More than ever, SUUNS keeps
those spontaneous moments in the album recordings.
“We just do that more improvised stuff so
naturally live,” Joe Yarmush adds.

“It’s kind of weird that it hasn’t been a big part of our
albums up till now.. We’re trying to embrace that side of the band for sure. That’s also part of SUUNS just being the three of us now.”

Though Max Henry had left the band in 2018, he still
contributed material to the album, most notably on ‘Witness Protection’. O’ Neill:
“Max is such a brilliant musician, but it became clear he wasn’t into the touring lifestyle anymore. He wanted
to go back to school; right now he’s studying music psychology. Which is much more of what
he’s supposed to do.”

With one member down and Shemie now living an ocean apart in Paris, a fresh challenge
manifested for the trio to find each other again, both socially and creatively. More than any other SUUNS record,

The Witness employs a jazz mentality of designing a continuous vibe over the
notion of separate chapters. There’s a level of relaxation, of accepting the band’s primal
instincts, and a concentrated attempt to maximize and revise said instincts. Yarmush:
”It was a conscious decision to make the album sound like one song. We wanted to calm down a bit, even during the mixing process: our notes were simply ‘you have to settle down’. I couldn’t technically explain
what I meant by that, but the songs needed to settle down. We were basically trying to hold back all the bombastic tendencies and make things sound very subtle.”

The ethereal ‘Timebender’, which materialized out of vastly disparate parts, still entertains the idea that you’re tapping directly into the band’s inner pulse. ‘Go To My Head’ captures SUUNS at its most outright gorgeous, albeit habitually elusive.

“Those guitars at the beginning are very much classic rock, definitely a Fleetwood Mac ‘Albatross’ kind of vibe,” Shemie comments.“ I
wanted to put that song out last, but I was voted out. It was difficult to put together, because we put a lot of material into this song. It wasn’t like learning three chords and a beat. There are a
lot of different parts. Ultimately, it came together beautifully. I’m very proud of that one.”

Though the world is becoming a more distorted, confusing place,The Witness extends a sonic lifeline to latch onto, one bolstered by years of friendship, chemistry and trust.

For a band known
for its cryptic magnetism, this album marks SUUNS’ most generous, stripped-down and
affecting work to date. Shemie:

“There’s always this restraint in SUUNS: the question of ‘how
long can we hold off?’. I think it's beautiful that way beca
use it always brings out something unexpected. But if you’re willing to stick with us
-at a show or through our music in general-it will pay off. It might take a while to get there, but we will drop a beat for you eventually. I love
that we’ve been able
to stick to the minimal side of things, and just let it breathe.”

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