Sure Sure On Their Phone Calls, Corporate Music, And Their New EP (Interview)

Image: Matthew John Benton

How do you feel the process was different between the self titled record and this EP?


CHARLIE: Very different processes. The first album, we had recorded before we had ever toured⁠—we weren’t really a real band yet, we were just in our house in LA, incubating and making a bunch of songs,, [...] It feels like it’s quite a different process because then for the EP we recorded all those songs over the past year in between our tours, so the first tour we ever went on was 2018 in the winter, and subsequently we did three more tours. [...] The EP kind of was formulated during that time. We were road-testing some of the songs and whenever we were home and had a chance we would record, so it was a bit more piecemeal than the album process since we weren’t home as much.

Of the songs on the new EP, which did you feel like you started with the most solid idea?

KEVIN: Probably “What’s It Like?," that was the first song we tried to road-test. We would play it in front of an audience every night and see how it fared in front of people, so by the time we went to record it, we had already played it, like, a hundred times, and we rarely ever do that before we record a song.

Did you feel like you had a better idea of what you wanted for the EP than the album?

CHRIS: I think the EP was a lot of different songs that we came up with in between our tours, and for me it was a little less cohesive than the album. The album was like this big chunk of songs that we recorded all in the same stretch of time not all of them, but at least half of the album. We were all listening to the same kind of music, and we recorded it all at the same time, whereas the EP was more dispersed.

Since you guys record in a home studio - do you guys all live there?

CHARLIE: Three of us do, and then Chris leaves nearby.

Do you think that living together has helped your songwriting?

KEVIN: Yeah— this has been the living arrangement for a while, except I lived separately. I feel like living together makes it easier for us to record, come up with ideas, and write together. It definitely helps the process.

You guys met in college, right?

CHARLIE: Chris and I met in college first day of school— and started a college band. Then, after college, our drummer got a full time job and we were like, “we need someone who can drum more often,” but we were up in San Francisco. We had heard of Kevin. Chris had heard of him during college and was always like, “dude, we gotta get Kevin, he’s the best drummer ever,” and we hit Kevin up on Facebook. He’d fly up a couple times to San Francisco to record with us, and— somehow we had access to Sean Parker’s recording studio, the Napster guy so Kevin came up and recorded an EP with our college band. But then we broke up that band because it wasn’t right. Chris and I weren’t singing yet, we were just writing the tunes. Then there were other people involved, so we broke that band up and moved to LA, and started a new band with Kevin and Michael, and that was like four or five years ago.

Do you all feel like this has been your favorite project so far?

CHARLIE: Definitely- everything before this was just us getting our footing, you know, figuring out how to write songs, and then we just found each other. It’s hard to find a group of people who are all super dedicated and want to make music, because it takes a long time- we’ve been working at this for five years, so it’s just kind of hard, like... that’s why we broke up our old band, it just wasn’t working. you need everybody to be do or die, and we found that with this group and it’s been super sweet.

One thing I really like is that, since most bands now are pretty “corporate” with their social media and communications, I like how you guys just put your home phone number on all of your socials. How did that idea come about?

CHARLIE: Well, first of all, we’re actually trying to become more and more corporate. [laughter]

CHARLIE: Hopefully, you know, we just get more and more regulations, more red tape, and really just streamline everything. No more question marks! I can’t wait until Sure Sure becomes a Fortune 400 [sic]... is that what it’s even called?


Fortune 500?

CHARLIE: Yeah! A Fortune 500 company.

KEVIN: Isn’t that a NASCAR race?

CHARLIE: Anyway, we’d like to become a business-corporation-number thing, and ideally, like 10,000+ employees… Sorry, what was the question?

How did you guys decide to put your phone number out to the public?

CHARLIE: It was just kind of random; usually, when you’re paying for your cable bill, they try to do a package for you, and it ended up being cheaper to do internet, landline, and cable than it was to just do one of the three, for some reason. So we were paying for this landline and not using it a couple years ago, and me and Mike were out at Staples and were like, “hey let’s actually get a phone to hook up to the line and see what happens”, and then that was that. So now we have a phone line, and people call, and we talk to them if we’re around.

KEVIN: And we get voicemails— I’ll actually post some of the voicemails later today and you can also text it. It’s really fun, honestly. It’s such a fun way to communicate. And yeah, I don’t understand sterile communication, like it’s just more fun to be goofy or whatever.

What kind of calls do you get?

CHRIS: We field every type of call it doesn’t even have to be professional, or, you know you can ask us anything, and we’ll give you a candid response, you know? We let it all loose, and we let it all hang loose when you talk to us on the phone.

What’s the weirdest call you’ve gotten?


KEVIN: One time, we were living in our prior house, and we got this call-

CHARLIE: Yeah, I was actually hanging out with a few other friends, and I was hanging out with my friend Dan and he was like, “I can’t believe you guys posted your phone number, do you get calls?” and I was like, “yeah”, and then the phone started ringing. It was this guy at a party, and he was like “hey man, I’m listening to 'The Caller' at this birthday party in Eagle Rock, you guys should come!”, and we were living in Eagle Rock at the time, and we were like, “oh shit, we should go” [...] I called Kevin, because he wasn’t living with us, and he was in bed, and I was like, “dude, we gotta go to this party." So me, Mike, and Kevin went- we picked up a case of beer and went to this party in Eagle Rock.

KEVIN: I got out of my PJ’s and we went to this party, and I was kind of nervous, because I was like, “what’s gonna happen? Is it a murder party where we get murdered?” because that’s what you think, getting invited to a random party, but that was one of the best decisions I’ve made. That was a great night.

So after this, do you think you’re going to tour around more for this EP before your next release?

CHARLIE:
Hopefully! We are hitting the road in the fall with half•alive- we’re doing a national tour from September to October, starting and ending in LA, which is great. So it’s not a headlining tour, but it’ll be awesome. 2020 is pretty open right now; any number of things could happen, there’s the tour and then some recording and going to the studio with some producers to make our next record.

Was the EP written before you went on your last tour, or did you write any of it on the road?

CHRIS:
We toured three times last year, and a fourth time this past winter. We wrote it in between each tour; any time we have free time, or a little bit of solace from touring, we would write a few songs, and that ended up being the EP.

CHARLIE: I will say that when you’re a band our size, like when you’re a small business, not signed to a record label and there are four employees - Charlie, Kevin, Michael and Chris - like, we’re driving on the road, and we’re tour managing ourselves. Sometimes you have time to write on the road, but mostly, we’re pretty busy all the time. We’re trying to get from one place to another, we’re booking hotels, we’re playing the shows, and we look at bands, like Young the Giant and Hippo Campus, that we’ve toured with, and those guys have time to write on the road, they’re in a bus and they have time to be creative, but we’re just trying to survive.

-

Check out Sure Sure’s new EP, What’s It Like?, and catch them out on tour with half•alive this fall. Dates and cities at suresuremusic.com.

Comments

Instagram Feed