INTERVIEW: We have a chat to Nick from Sunbeam Sound Machine

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Interview with Nick Sowersby, a.k.a. Sunbeam Sound Machine

By Matt Doria [@DEEninetysix]

‘Wonderer’ is the killer debut album from psychedelic pop outfit Sunbeam Sound Machine - a five-piece powerhouse onstage, but a one-man operation behind the curtains. To grab all the sweet deets on the new album, we had a chat to Nick Sowersby, the genius behind Sunbeam Sound Machine!

WickeddChildd (W): I’m really intrigued by the name Sunbeam Sound Machine… How did you come up with that?

Nick Sowersby (N): There’s no miraculous story behind it. It’s just kind of… Words, that I liked. I didn’t want [my band name] to imply that it was one person or several people or anything, so I just referred to it as a machine.

W: How did you get to where you are right now, having just put out your debut album?

N: I had been recording the songs from the first two years over the last two years, I think, and then when those [EPs] came out, I joined Remote Control Records. They said they were interested in putting an album out, and that’s when I got to work on this album, probably in January of 2014.

W: I was listening to the record earlier and I have to say, it’s fucking amazing. It’s so transcendental, I just wanted to close my eyes and fly away to some mystic dreamland. Is that sort of what you were aiming to create with this record?

N: Yeah. I want the songs to take you away and put you in a different headspace. If it does that, than that’s fantastic!

W: Your sound is very defined by that trippiness and that earthy sound. Have you ever come across a track and worried that it was too trippy, or not trippy enough?

N: I’ve sort of experienced both. I think it’s easy, when you put lots of effects on things, to get away from the actual song. I mean, there’s always a song in the middle of everything, and if I get too far away from that, I’ll dial things back a bit. But then there’s other ones where I just think something needs to sound a bit more atmospheric, so that’s when I’ll start adding more effects to it.

W: What was the process like bringing all of these pieces together in the studio to make the album?

N: It was a bit of a challenge, but it was a really fun challenge. Trying to get all of these songs to work together was kind of difficult, but just really fun. I guess that working all by myself means I can work on things whenever, and just take as long as I need to get things exactly right so they all work together.

W: When you’re not in the studio, Sunbeam Sound Machine becomes a five-person operation. How does the live band work, and how are all of those different elements tackled?

N: It’s two guitars, bass, drums, backing vocals and samples. It’s a bit tricky with some songs because they’re so heavily layered, but you give each song a bit of a new life when you start playing them with other people. You figure out which parts of the song are the most important ones to play live.

W: Not too long ago, you jumped onboard the indie label Remote Control Records. What’s it like being a part of that outlet, and how does your work with them differ from your independent work?

N: People hear it, that’s the main difference. They take everything and send it out into the world. They’ve been really supportive, and they just run a great label.

W: This is possibly the most cliché and overused question in the world, but I’m going to ask it anyway - where do you see Sunbeam Sound Machine going in five years time?

N: I’ll hopefully be a few more albums down the track. That’s just the main thing for me, getting more songs out there, more music out there. Hopefully we’ll be touring a bit more, and then we can take it overseas. That would be amazing.

W: Where across the world would you like to play the most?

N: I’d really love to play in Japan! I’ve been there a couple of times. For one, I think it would be a good excuse just to go back there. There’d be some pretty crazy crowds there as well, so that would be heaps of fun.

Wonderer is out now via Remote Control Records

Grab a copy for yourself here!