INTERVIEW: Sundials [July 2015]

By Maryam Hassan

We’re having a sit down with Sundials on a side street in Brixton around the corner from Red Veg. Finger skateboards and two cans of questionable brand cider (one K and one Scrumpy Jacks) are being consumed. Currently on Hulu they are playing ad after ad for the brand Woodchuck Cider, the worst cider in the whole world but the only cider you can ever find in America. It’s nice to see Sundials have got off on the right foot as they embark on their UK/European tour.

PT: You’ve clearly immersed yourself right here in English Culture what with your two kinds of cider. Which one is better?

Chris: Scrumpy Jack!

PT: Are you going to do a thing when you go on tour to see how many different kinds of ciders you can drink?

Chris: That’s not actually a terrible idea!
Harris: That’s actually the first one I’ve had
Carl: Do they have cider journals at the Moleskin shop?
Harris: Right next to the Batman ones..

PT: Have you guys been over before?

Harris: Yeah, we toured the UK and played 17 shows, 16 of which were in England and one of which was in Wales.

PT: You played 16 shows in England?!

Harris: Yeah that’s the reaction most people have!

PT: Why did you do that?

Carl + Harris: Because Dave Brent from Caves!
Carl: It’s amazing how many people ask that question!

PT: But you would have just gone around like three times!

Harris: I think more bands should do 16 shows in England.
Cory: It was great.
Harris: We had like an hour drive everyday and we didn’t do any of the driving because we can’t drive here. It was great! We just hung out and played shows and it was all good.

PT: You’ve probably seen more of the UK than me! Where was the best place to play on your Mega Tour of England?

Carl: London was great!
Cory: The first show in London yeah, it was really really good.
Harris: We played this night called Everything Sucks which was like this dance party after the show. That was a sight! I’ve never seen anything like that, people were just dancing and hollering to like Fest pop punk bands.

PT: It’s not a thing in America right? I miss it when I’m in Chicago, why do you think it’s not taken off there?

Harris: I think people who like to go to punk shows don’t like to dance.

PT: That’s the best part of going to a punk show!

Harris: I know it’s a little bit of a… A lot of people like to go to show with their arms crossed you know? Or like looking at their phones! Those are the two stances of punk show.
Cory: It’s weird!

PT: How would we go about encouraging people to dance at your shows? Because you’re EP to me is something I’d want to dance to!

Harris: The metal bands can do that sort of thing, we can’t do that. Like we can’t start circle pits at our shows!

PT: You can do a circle pit to anything. I did one at an acoustic show. You just find one person to run around! So we’ve established that you’ve seen far too much of the UK, how about Mainland Europe? Have you been there before? What are you looking forward to?

Sundials: Nope, not been to mainland Europe before.
Harris: I’m just looking forward to seeing the sights. I’ve been to Amsterdam when I was like 15 and my grandfather used to live there, that’s the only time I’ve ever been.

PT: From what I hear touring mainland Europe is a much nicer experience than touring the UK, American bands always tell me the UK is more like touring America. You’ve had a pretty thorough experience touring the UK, what do you think about that?

Carl: It’s somewhere in between. We still get fed every show here and that doesn’t happen at all in America.
Harris: It happens in the cool spots, but it’s not standard or anything.
Carl: On the topic of 16 shows in England, we did get to see really cool places that I don’t think most bands get to see. Like we went to places like Pontefract and Leamington Spa.
Cory: We were talking earlier about how Pontefract may have been one of the coolest shows we played on that tour.

PT: I know the US you can go to places and then like only 10 people show up and it’ll be a weird night. Did you find that when you were touring here?

Harris: Since it was 17 shows I think that there were probably two or three that weren’t very good. I can’t remember where or anything specific. Not every show was amazing but we were having a blast because we just in England! We had only been a band for a year and a half. The reason we did the tour was because Spraynard did a tour when nobody knew who they were and we decided no-one knew us so we could do it too!

PT: Is that something you’d encourage an American band to do, just book it and come over?

Harris: In 2011 it was great! I’ll let them know after we’re done with this tour about now!
Carl: If you can find a Dave Brent equivalent.
Cory: We were also with Caves who are awesome.
Harris: I’m sure Muncie Girls and Great Cynics will be great tour partners too!

PT: You guys are playing Fest this year! What is your favourite thing about Fest?

Harris: Seeing friends! My advice to anybody who goes to Fest for the first time is to not try and watch bands the whole time. Which I know sounds kind of weird coming from a band but you are just gonna have a bad time. It’s better to hang out with your friends, go see the bands you really want to see and then like check out bands you’ve never heard of because that’s always cool too. You got to take breaks and chill.
Carl: Hit the hot dog stand in between venues, that’s the quickest snack you can get. Man hooks it up.

PT: In America you have massive drives between shows. What do you guys do in the van to entertain yourselves?

Carl: Last summer we made it to the West Coast for the first time and between Phoenix and Albuquerque, New Mexico driving through the desert we sang the entirety of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, which I’ve never heard of anyone making it all the way through.
Harris: There was a moment of silence and respect after we’d done that. It’s off the bucket list.
Chris: No-one said a word during it, I want that to be clear and on the record. It wasn’t like someone said “Oh we’re doing this” it was just a mutual understanding that all nine people in the van were just going to sing the whole thing. One of the proudest moments of my life.
Cory: You get to a point around 80 where you’re like “Okay! We’re still going!” and then you get to 60 and you think “Oh shit! We’re doing this!”

PT: Let’s end this with you telling us about some music you think our readers should check out. What Richmond bands would you recommend?

Harris: Chris who’s our new guitar player here he plays in some other great bands! One is called Cross Eyed and they are great. Everyone works at Dominos at Cross Eyed. There’s also The Spingtime, which is also good for fans of Lifetime. There are bands that we’re not in also! Teen Death for example.
Carl + Chris: Teen Death are a great band!
Chris: Cory’s other band Close Talker.
Cory: Smoke Break!
Chris: Smoke Break is up and coming.
Harris: There’s another new band from Richmond called Stay In who are really cool. Sea of Storms too.
Cory: We also have to talk about Lilac Daze who we just did a few days tour with.
Chris: They just recorded a full length that’s coming out soon.
Harris: I recommend that everyone checks out a semi-defunct Richmond band called Family Cat
Cory: Chris and I both played in that band! It’s more about the legend of Tyler Walker.
Harris: I tried to ignore that fact! You want to rep your city but everyone is friends with each other.

Sundials are ending their European tour tonight in France. You can check out details here:

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]