From Zeroes QC to heroes: the evolution of Suuns

Suuns play La Sala Rossa on Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Press photo

With a new album, Images Du Futur, released March 5, Suuns are back in their hometown of Montreal with new bold, dark and dream-like melodies.

The band chose to name its new record after a ‘80s Montreal exhibit where new avant-garde technologies were showcased. “Not

Suuns play La Sala Rossa on Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Press photo

necessarily that our music is futuristic, but it certainly is an attempt at creating something new,” explained Max Henry, the band’s bassist and keyboardist.

The new record represented an evident step in the band’s life. With more confidence and knowledge of their role, style and personality, the band explores greater depths and evolves into different styles. Throughout their work, they were able to understand and define themselves. “We approached it from a different perspective, we had a label, we were starting to know who we are,” said Henry.

With its robotic repetitions and electronic beats, the album conveys a certain alien feeling. In comparison to their first album, Zeroes QC, Henry explains that the band wanted to explore new musical territories. “The second record is maybe a little less fun than the first one, a bit more challenging. I think we’re exploring a lot more, maybe taking more chances,” he said.

Signed to the label Secretly Canadian, the band finds a new darkness in this album, with musical influences going from ‘60s german punk-rock, bands like Cans, Silver Apples and Clinic in particular, and classics like The Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

“Our music has become a bit more nuanced and I like the idea that even when we play it now, there’s still some of it I don’t entirely grasp,” said Henry. “It’s cool to put something out there with confidence and discover more about it every time we play it.”

Brought together in 2006, the band formed by Henry, Ben Shemie, a vocalist and guitarist, Liam O’Neill, the drummer, and Joseph Yarmush, a guitarist and bassist, wasn’t initially named Suuns. The band was first called Zeroes, but when they got to sign with the label they were encouraged to change their name — another band called Zeroes already existed so it could have become problematic for their career.

“It took a while for us to decide, but Suuns means zero in Thai,” said Henry. “We liked Zeroes in the first place because it had a darkness to it, a certain edge. Slightly dark but not depressing and definitely not emo.”

The band recorded Images du Futur during last year’s student protests. The turmoil stimulated and affected them as Quebecers but they didn’t want their music to be politically involved.

“We’ve always been very proud of being Quebecers and even more so during that time,” he said. “It really made me want to read more about the history of Quebec and Montreal. The protests were on all of our minds but in my opinion, it’s not music’s place to engage in it.”

In their relationship with art, the members of the band are very multi-faceted. Not only do all of them like to read, but Yarmush and Shemie are also interested in photography and movie-making: Yarmush is in charge of doing all the press photos and Shemie directed all of their music videos.

In certain songs like “2020,” the music video adds really cool effects to the music and perfectly conveys the psychedelic, subconscious atmosphere of their new approach. The epileptic shots of the broken black and white lines and other symbols tearing through the screen combined with the slow melting guitar notes and Shemie’s soft whisper-like voice transport the viewer into the realms of the unknown.

The members of the band are currently enjoying their free time in Montreal and rehearsing for their upcoming tour across Europe, Canada and the U.S. “Playing abroad is somewhat easier,” said Henry. “It’s very exciting to play in Montreal, but a bit nerve-wracking because it’s where all your friends are. We’re definitely looking forward to it!”


Suuns play La Sala Rossa on Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. 



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