After graduating from Stanford University, college classmates Chris Beachy (keyboardist, singer) and Charlie Glick (guitarist, singer) moved to L.A. where they teamed up with Kevin Farzad (drums, percussion) and Michael Coleman (producer) to form Sure Sure, an art pop band that is quickly gaining attention. Since 2014, Sure Sure has released an album and one EP’s worth of warm, psychedelic tracks that have gained millions of plays on Spotify. I had the opportunity to see and interview these boys on tour last week at Polaris Hall in Northeast Portland.
Tell me about your writing process. Does someone come up with a riff and then you all just build from there?
It totally depends. Sometimes it’s a riff, sometimes it’s a melody or lyric. Sometimes we all build it together from start to finish, other times Chris and Charlie will bring in a song that’s almost finished. We don’t really follow any formula, but usually the best ones are written and recorded in a matter of days. Usually the songs are informed by whatever we are doing or consuming at the time. Like we were playing way too much Minecraft when we came up with “New Biome.”
I want to ask you guys about your music videos and online presence. I really love how well your music videos match the mood and energy of the songs. I could be way off, but the video for your cover of “This Must Be The Place” seems to be shot and edited in a very self-aware and ironic way (capturing the humor of Talking Heads). On your YouTube page, you guys have made some hilarious vines. How does the internet and internet culture influence Sure Sure?
Regarding the music videos matching the mood and energy, thank you! In the “Koreatown” video for example, we literally drove around Koreatown in Kevin’s now-totaled car, blasting the song and singing and playing along. Regarding the Talking Heads video, we worked with what we had — one camera and a wide lens. We packed in tightly around the piano and just had fun performing the song live. Then, while editing, we learned it was very funny to zoom in on each of our pixelated faces. Regarding the internet, we just like making silly videos and jokes. I think the internet has affected us, like everyone else, in that we are extremely online and all of our brains are now broken.
Many of my classmates here at Reed are aspiring musicians. As a band that started making music in college, do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Yes. Learn how to record/produce your own music ASAP so you don’t have to pay crazy amounts of money to record a couple songs. Once you graduate, get a part time job that pays well enough to cover your rent. That way you can dedicate as much time as possible to making music. SAT tutoring is a good one. And then you can convert all your students into fans.
This question is for Charlie, who stated Nick Drake’s Pink Moon as a favorite album. As a fellow Nick Drake fan, I was wondering if you had a favorite song from him.
My current fave is “Place to Be.” I love how the lyrics are very self reflective, all about being “darker than the deepest sea,” etc. until the very last line: “now I’m weaker than the palest blue, oh so weak in this need for you.” Like, who is this “you” who suddenly appears at the end? This one word is like this subtle shift in the weather that changes the meaning of the song. So cool. Actually that lyrical turn is what inspired the sudden appearance of a “you” in the last line of the last verse of “New Biome,” “flooded the floors, tore the pictures off the wall, smashed in the door, I could not convince you to come.” Honorable mention [Nick Drake] song: “River Man.”
Given the success of your cover of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place,” can you see yourselves making any more covers of classic songs?
Yes, I can definitely see us doing that. It’s just hard because with the Talking Heads cover, it happened so spontaneously. We either barely knew the song or, in Mike’s case, didn’t know it at all. We’ve thrown around the idea of covering Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy” or doing a slow version of the Beatles’ “I’m Looking Through You.” But we know those songs pretty well, so I think the best strategy will be to wait until a song comes to us instead of choosing one deliberately.
Overall, how has the tour been going? Any crazy stories?
The tour has been so good. Crazy stories … Let’s see. We haven’t done any drugs or gotten drunk or anything like that, BUT Chris did say “fuck” on the radio. We were performing “Giants” on KUTX and he forgot to say “futz” instead of “fuck” in the third verse. It was very rock and roll.