Relatively new on the music scene, Sun Hotel has been making waves in the indie music world.
They hail from New Orleans, and according to them, “We live in the south, we like it, we make music.”
Sun Hotel is listed as being a post-gospel, indie, swamp rock band. The name of that genre conjures up all sorts of thoughts in one’s head, but this band is firmly rooted in the regionalism of New Orleans and its influences.
They started as a duo with Tyler Scurlock, guitar and vocals, along with Alex Hertz, serving the same role. Over a summer they quickly became a larger group by adding John St. Cyr, bassist, Devin Hildebrand, drummer, and Ross Farbe, drums, keyboard and vocals. They then set off to pay their dues by playing the music club scene. Sun Hotel recorded two albums—one they made themselves in a home studio, the other in a professional studio.
As blogger Joe Vena from Stereo Killer, a music review website, says, “Whether the members of Sun Hotel are smashing jangly chords in an indie rock passion fit, or bending notes in a riff-driven bop, their versatility is displayed, and it rules.”
IN caught up with bassist John St. Cyr to discuss the band and find out more about them.
IN: What is the history of the band, such as founding members, where it all started, that sort of thing?
ST. CYR: Sun Hotel originally started in the spring of 2009 as Tyler and Alex’s acoustic dorm-room recordings. The whole thing really came together that fall when John and Devin were added and recorded “Halloween Mean,” and things really got moving when Ross joined and we did “Team Spirit.”
IN: What is the genre of music you play?
ST. CYR: We like to call it “Post-Gospel” or alternatively “Swamp Rock.”
IN: Describe what went into that choice.
ST. CYR: It’s a space somewhere between the folk and gospel songs we grew up on, the rock and roll we discovered, and the South we all live in.
IN: Who are your influences?
ST. CYR: Lately we’ve all been really into Deerhunter, The Beach Boys, Elliott Smith and “Trailer Park Boys” on Netflix.
IN: Tell us about your first recording, “Halloween Mean.”
ST. CYR: “Halloween Mean” was the first thing we ever did as a full band. We recorded the whole thing in Devin’s house with some borrowed microphones while his parents were out of town.
IN: Discuss the subsequent recordings, “Team Spirit” and “Coast?”
ST. CYR: “Team Spirit” and “Coast” were the first time we were really able to explore our sound in a studio environment. Especially with “Coast,” we really tried to create a unified atmosphere for the whole album.
IN: Are you touring at the moment? If so, what is that experience like for your band?
ST. CYR: We’re doing a short tour this week while we’re on Spring Break to visit our favorite beach towns and sandwich shops. We’ll be heading out for a month in May to explore the East Coast and Midwest.
IN: How about music festivals, are you playing any this year?
ST. CYR: We played Foburg Fest in New Orleans and did eight shows in three days at SXSW.
IN: Have you played in Pensacola before?
ST. CYR: This is actually our first time! Hopefully we can find some good sandwiches.
IN: What can show goers expect from a Sun Hotel show?
ST. CYR: We’re kind of loud, and we yell a lot, and sometimes we fall down. I think it works, though.
IN: What’s next for the band?
ST. CYR: We’re going to be releasing a new EP in October; we actually just finished recording the first track in our house this weekend. Hopefully you’ll be hearing about it soon.
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24
WHERE: Sluggo’s, 101 S. Jefferson St.