Indie-pop start-ups Sun Club worry they’re not weird enough for Baltimore
Published: February 19, 2014
The boys of Sun Club have it made. They live in their childhood homes with their parents, are neglecting college, and most of them work shitty day jobs. All to be in a band.
“Our plan has been that we were all just going to drop out of school, which we did,” explains Devin McCord, drummer for Sun Club, who just released its debut EP on Goodnight Records. “The trick after that was to all get jobs that were lenient with us going on tour for long, extended amounts of time. So Kory just quit a job, Shane just quit a job. . . We’re trying to make our day jobs less and this more because that’s the whole point of having day jobs in the first place.”
But it’s not hard to see why they want to sacrifice comfort and convention for the band. The five longtime friends talk over each other, finishing each others sentences, joshing one another, and slipping in inside jokes. All except Kory Johnson, who they tease for being quiet.
“Kory doesn’t talk much, if you hadn’t notice,” vocalist and guitarist Mikey Powers says.
“He likes to be a mystery,” adds bassist Adam Shane.
“He talks but he forgets to open his mouth,” McCord says.
Once the hubbub dies down Johnson, who plays percussion, slide guitar, keys, and sings, responds, “You guys say everything, I don’t need to say a thing.” The group chuckles.
The band began with brothers Devin and Shane McCord jamming in Severna Park. “Ever since we learned how to pick up our instruments we’ve been playing music together,” Devin McCord says.
“Me and Shane are brothers, so from the beginning he was the guitarist and I was the drummer,” Devin McCord continues. “We’ve been playing music around 10 years. And then Mikey’s our neighbor, who became our best friend 10 years ago.”
Powers joined and gradually the band formed, changing names and adding members, but everyone agrees that it wasn’t until Adam Shane joined that Sun Club really started.
“We grew up and our music grew up with us. It’s a product of all five of us now,” Devin McCord says.
The band makes energetic pop music, influenced by Animal Collective and the Beach Boys. They make use of a wall of sound that can get quite epic, thanks to the five members, many of whom do double duty as multi-instrumentalists.
“We saw some bands use these different instruments, which kinda influenced us,” Shane McCord says. “In March we recorded two of the songs in my basement. We added a lot more stuff in there — not like parts or anything, just kinda layered guitar parts with midi piano, a lot of toys, and that built up the sound.”
“If we put it in the recording we always try to imitate it live,” Powers explains. “There’s a lot of stuff in the recording. To make up for it, Shane uses pedals for his guitar, a pitch shifter instead of this high-octave keyboard. Even though they sound different, it is this same kinda vibe, it’s not better or worse.”
While the band’s members all hail closer to Annapolis, they consider Baltimore their home base.
“We’re way more involved with the Baltimore scene,” Powers says.
“There’s not really a scene in Annapolis,” Shane McCord adds.
Yet they have some reservations about fitting into Baltimore’s rock music scene, where just about every band has some sort of wacky or experimental touch.
“I feel like we’re not weird enough for here,” Shane McCord says. “I feel like the scene here is really into cool stuff, but I feel like we don’t fully fit in. I want to fit in, I love all the music that’s coming out here. I feel like we’re a little poppier than a lot of it.”
“I feel like the people are accepting,” says Powers. “I just have this fear they’re not going to like it.”
So what’s next for these young road warriors, who tour every couple months? Shane McCord describes his ideal scenario for the band, with perhaps a bit of tongue in cheek.
“Get a call, lead singer of Green Day: stadium tour starts tomorrow.”
“I think we all have kind of different-ish ideas of what would be awesome,” Adam Shane quickly adds. “Me, what would be cool is if we could were able to do a tour in a different country, like Australia or Europe.”
“I just want to be able to do this as my living,” says Powers.
With their debut EP out now, buzz gathering from places like Paste magazine, and plans to release a full-length in a year or so, they may be able to quit more jobs down the road, and for good.
> Email Michael Shank