Sunscreem – Interview

Sunscreem have finally released a new album, and we just had to have a chat with them to find out how things were going. Check out how all this came about below!

By Jane Howkins

You have a new album out called Out of the Woods. What can you tell us about that?

Lucia: It was actually finished 21 years ago, but our record company at the time went broke and so we ended up with the recording and a huge bill. It’s taken until now for us to feel we could go back to it – fortunately when we listened to the tapes it still sounded very fresh.
Paul: Despite the difficult circumstances, we really enjoyed making the record and I think that comes through in the music.

Have you released any singles from the album or do you have any planned? If so, what can you tell us about them?

Paul: We haven’t got any singles planned, although Britannia might be appropriate given the current political situation!
Lucia: We released Catch when the album was first recorded and it reached #1 in the dance charts.

You’ve been going for quite a long time now. How have things changed for you in terms of writing, recording, and releasing your music over the years?

Paul: The process has changed a great deal, we started out with a four-track tape recorder, a drummer and some home-made electronics and now it can all be done on a computer. But we still use percussion, piano and cello because it’s what we’re used to. Releasing music is totally different because there are practically no records sold anymore and fewer nightclubs. I think the internet is a mixed blessing – musicians really aren’t rewarded properly for making music – however there’s a healthier live scene than before and so it’s easier for us to try out new things we’ve written.
Lucia: We’re no longer signed to a record label, so that means doing ‘normal jobs’ to pay for the recording and mixing, and of course artwork and CDs. So, we have to be quicker at writing and recording.

Your recorded output has slowed down somewhat since the 90s. Why is this, and what are you up to – or have you been up to – in that time?

Paul: We stopped playing for a while because we’d had children. Whenever our percussionist Nick arrived to join us on tour, the kids used to burst into tears because they knew that meant we were going away again! It was too difficult for us, so we took a break.

How do you feel about the way the music industry has changed over the years? Has it helped you for better or for worse?

Lucia: The industry has shrunk; small record labels have disappeared and publishers have merged. There’s no real support for alternative music and this has not helped us, but it is easier to do your own thing and be heard… so everything changes.
Paul: There’s lots of music being made now, although musicians and producers don’t record together in big studios like they used to. That’s a shame because some of the excitement that generated has been lost. On the other hand, making music is now so much more accessible to everyone – that’s a wonderful thing.

Do you have any live dates planned? If so, when and where? And what can people expect from a Sunscreem live show?

Lucia: We’re arranging festival dates for next year in the UK. People should expect a high energy show from the start! New and old songs with a few surprises.
Paul: We like large stages with a mixed crowd – a few years back we headlined a festival in Beijing and had 10,000 rock fans pogoing throughout the set! So please do expect to dance.

What influences you as musicians; and what have you been listening to recently?

Lucia: I love to listen to anything, old or new, that’s slightly ‘out there’ with an unusual vocal. Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins and Grace Jones are old favourites; more recently Anna Calvi, Self Esteem, Jon Hopkins, George Fitzgerald, Bicep, Churches, Christine and the Queens
Paul: Our influences are very varied, my favourite gigs this year have been Patti Smith, Redtenbachers Funkestra, and Stravinsky at the Festival Hall.

You’re from Essex; how is the music scene there, and how has it changed over the years? Do you still live there and are there any local artists you can recommend?

Lucia: We still live in mid Essex. The dance scene is not what it was – the clubs where we started out have both been bulldozed! Luckily more pubs are now having bands because the licensing laws have been relaxed.
Paul: We had a great young pop band called Indigo Face support us the other night, although they’re from London.

Why do you think people should pick up Out of the Woods if they haven’t heard it yet? And what would you say people can expect from it?

Lucia: The songs. It’s probably one of our best albums, sorry it’s a bit late.

Any last words for your fans?

Lucia: A big thank you, love and hugs for sticking with us.