Somewhere between psychedelic, moody folk and 60’s style soft harmonies, Sunfields blossoms like a field of poppies in a rainy English field. Perhaps poppies aren’t the best floral comparison. More like a shy plant, this band is slow to flower — sort of like that orchid I bought at at Ikea. The damned thing took 3 years before it decided to bloom again. Since releasing its first album in 2010, Sunfields teased its fans with the promise of a second one in mid-2013, then Christmas 2013, and now late winter/early Spring 2014. Must the impatient hoard wait longer? Okay, I’ll let you crotchety thumb-twiddlers in on a secret… the album is done. Mixed, mastered, and moving along the pipeline to your grubby little hands. Bassist Chris Roberts talked to us about the band’s history and current album in advance of their upcoming show.
“We put out our first record in 2010 and it was before I was in the group” Roberts explains. “Jason and Phil did that record with our old drummer Chris. I was away at the time, and when I came back, they needed a bass player.” Following that, they foursome toured independently in England and returned with the intent of recording a new album. But then, as often happens, life intervened.
“Just a bunch of other personal stuff,” Roberts says. “Things got delayed a little bit.” Among other things, both Roberts and the band’s lead singer and brainchild Jason Kent started playing in other bands. The drummer moved to Europe. “The new drummer is very different,” says Roberts. “He’s great and amazing. That’s the evolution of the band.”
During this entire period, even with the interruptions, Sunfields germinated. Friendship kept things going. “We’re quite close friends all of us,” says Roberts. “It’s almost as if you know what someone is going to do before they do it. That’s the relationship that the band has.”
The band continued to write and perform new songs with the intent of recording an album. A lot of the time the songs start with Jason. He’ll come up with a riff or an idea about something and he’ll record it at home and send it to us. Or we’ll show up at a practice and we’ll all put in our two cents and see where it goes. But, the inception is with him. Compared to the first album, the new songs are a lot more collaborative. Everyone has a part or an idea.”
However, the long time period between inception and recording transformed the song anyway. Playing the songs live has an effect. “It’s a little bit of everything that causes change,” says Roberts. “A lot of it is going out and playing the songs for so long and letting them be what they are. It’s organic the way things happen. There’s no grand convoluted idea. It happens.”
The recording of the new album began in Jason’s studio, and in 2011, they used Jace Lasek’s Breakglass Studio as well. A random encounter brought them into the orbit of Graeme Humphrey and Guy Hebert, who mixed and mastered the album respectively. “The songs are quite old to us,” says Roberts, “But they did great things with all the new songs.”
The band is very happy how things stand. “Once the record was finished being mastered, I listened to it, and I thought ‘If I wasn’t in the band, I would listen to this,'” says Roberts. “I was being completely objective. I’m in the band – and it might sound like a bit of bullshit, but I was mowing the lawn and I thought I would definitely listen to it. One song, Ghost, it just keeps moving. It keeps pushing and pushing and pushing.”
Sunfields plays with Lily Frost and Jose Miguel Contreras on Nov 28th at Casa del Popolo. 9 p.m. $11.