OK, full disclosure here, I’m afraid I have to apologize to Buffalo’s Ugly Sun.
You see, I came across ‘Little Sister‘ their earworm of a track, way back at the end of 2017 and connected with John from the band for a little Q&A. Well, John did his part, but I don’t know, this one slipped through the cracks for me. Here we are in 2019 and Ugly Sun has a brand new EP out, so I thought I would dig out the interview.
But first, let’s talk about the new self-titled EP.
What we have here is 6-tracks of sincere 90s anchored power pop, with a bit of late 70s pub rock thrown in for good measure. At first, it’s an unassuming listen – nothing as instantly catchy or anthemic as ‘Little Sister‘, although ”Little Fire‘ comes close, with its driving chorus and chunky riff.
But eventually, you’ll find yourself hankering to hear the Fastball power pop of ‘Bury My Soul in the Garden‘, the boogie-rock groove of ‘Doubt‘, the glam-rock strut of ‘Referee‘ or the slow build of “Embers‘. There is even the surprisingly tender, but very short Avett Brothers-like ballad called ‘Sweet Wine’.
That’s quite a potpourri of sounds, but ultimately these guys can write a song, and the EP is tightly constructed and full of hooks.
As for the interview, it might be a little dated, but it still works. I’m sure the bands’ playlist has changed and they might want to open for someone else now, but they are probably still drinking at Bar Bill Tavern.
Anyway, sorry Ugly Sun. I hope this makes up for everything.
You guys have all been in numerous other bands, can you give us the Ugly Sun family tree?
That is true, we have been in tons of bands that nobody has ever heard of. Are you ready for this trip? Me (John) and Trey were in a band together in high school called Evidence on Fire which is where we met, I then quit that band to join a band called Inferis. Trey then joined a band called Mandy K, which I joined after quitting Inferis. Then we both quit Mandy K, I started a band with Haddy called Arctic Death, Trey started a band called Nelson Type. Both of those projects ran their course, then we started Ugly Sun in the spring of 2016. There are like 20 more projects in there, but those are the major players. All three of us have been collaborating musically since like… 2005. Lots of history for sure.
What’s the music scene like in Buffalo since the Bills made the playoffs?
The music scene in Buffalo is better than I can ever remember. There are so many rad bands, everybody is working together and picking each other up. It has been getting cooler and cooler for years so the Bills finally breaking the curse is just the cherry on top. I also think this is just the beginning of Buffalo being a serious player in the arts as well as you know, dominating the NFL. Also on the topic of the Buffalo Bills, if anybody wants to come tailgate just email us or slide in the DMs. We go to every game, see you all at the boneyard.
(Update: Sadly, even though the Bills made the playoffs in 2017 after a 17-year drought, but lost the wild card game and missed the playoffs again this year.)
You’ve released two EPs and some singles – the newest track, the catchy as hell punk rager “Little Sister” sounds like you are swinging for the fences. How was this song formulated?
It was honestly super organic. We usually write everything together but during writing sessions we all bring song ideas, or frameworks or riffs or something to work off. But “Little Sister” was born from us just fucking around at practice not really trying to write at all. Trey started playing fast and we all joined in as a joke but it felt too good to not flesh out. We thought it was the perfect live song so we immediately added it to our set, then we tracked it because people at our shows started asking if it was on a record and it turned out awesome. It ended up setting the tone for the record we’re writing/recording now. We’re trying to make everything we write as relentless and big and fun as “Little Sister“.
If you could pick any time and place to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….?
This is super cliche for any punk band on the planet but i’d go to NYC in 1975, start working at a bar or something then chill there for every show The Ramones, Television, Dead Boys, Heartbreakers, and Blondie ever played, then I’d live there until like 1988 so I could be in the middle of hardcore happening, and The Replacements and REM making records and touring. We also love shit like Fleetwood Mac, Joe Walsh, T-Rex, ZZ Top, Van Halen, etc so I’d be stoked to be around while they were all putting out records and partying in NYC. Then I’d retire to the Adirondacks and probably kill myself at the same time as Kurt Cobain or something. Nobody should have lived past ’94 anyway.
If you could tour with any band/artist right now who would that be and why?
Oh man there are so many. The not-so-short list would probably be White Reaper, Twin Peaks, Potty Mouth, Beach Slang, Pkew Pkew Pkew, Ne-Hi. All those bands rip, and do a similar thing to us by meshing early 90’s indie, and punk rock, and 70’s cock rock and shit. Also we want to party and all those bands seem like they can hang for sure. We also love touring with Made Violent because they’re our best boys and don’t get upset when we eat too many edibles and can’t go see Star Wars.
Give us your 10 song playlist for the tour van?
Oh wow, it’s always changing but here’s what we’ve been listening to lately.
The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
Graceland – Paul Simon
The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
Samantha’s Song – Super American
Magic – Coldplay (always one for Haddy)
Tonya Harding – Sufjan Stevens
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – ZZ Top
Baby I Love You – Ryan Adams
Poem – U.S. Girls
Party Hard – Andrew W.K.
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
Belly up to the fucking bar at Bar Bill Tavern, 185 Main St. East Aurora, NY. Best wings on the planet, cold beers, what more could you want? You can find us at the bar hammered talking about songwriting and Joe Walsh riffs. Come say what’s up and we’ll buy the shots of Old Grand Dad.