Written by Brodie Popple Photography by Robbie Atkin-Robertson
For a band that’s relatively new to the world you guys are kicking goals, but as I understand Sunscreen is a project you've been sitting on for a while Sarah? How did this all kind of manifest?
Ha, thank you. Sunscreen as a project has certainly been a long time coming. It started about two years when Alex, Hugo and myself started jamming in my old garage, in a share house I lived in at the time. At first we didn't have the intention of calling it a band or naming it anything - we were just having fun and seeing what we could come up with. We'd been friends for years but we didn't know it would be so easy to write song together.
We played our first gig exactly one year ago this week, at King St Crawl in Newtown. We were a 3-piece for a long time, but now we have Jett on bass, something we're so happy about. She is an angel sent from heaven to our band.
First ever Bigsound with Sunscreen, what are you hoping to get out of it and who are you excited to see?
Well, firstly - just to clarify for the sake of your magazine - we didn't get into Bigsound. But we decided to come up anyway, as we got offered to jump on all these incredible bills that start in the afternoon. Which seems to be where all the fun happens anyway. We came to unofficially play Bigsound so we can gain experience playing live and playing lots back to back in one week, a certain stamina building you don't usually get to practice. We just want to play in front of audiences we'd never get to play to otherwise. And also learn, and embrace the opportunity to see bands we usually wouldn't get to see.
I'm really excited to see RVG and Jade Imagine, two ladies from Melbourne who I've been listening to on repeat for weeks. I'm also very excited to see some of my best friends' projects in some of these killer afternoon showcases - Dinosaur City Records, from Sydney, is curating some a few lineups that feature incredible new bands like Babey, and Bored Shorts, a band who'll be playing their first gig, featuring members of Flowertruck. To me, Bigsound should always be about discovering and fostering new acts.
Like many happy little vegemites it’s a dream to one day see your face on RAGE, and you're lucky enough to have lived this dream out twice, with Flowertruck and now Sunscreen. How does that make you feel?
Very strange and excited! It's a nice feeling seeing the ABC logo down the bottom of your music video playing on national TV. Mainly because music videos, and obviously the songs behind them, are such huge, ongoing projects that sometimes feel endless and aimless when you're deep in the stage of creating. From writing the song all the way to editing the film clip and asking people to watch it, it's a long haul. You put a lot of effort into it. So it's satisfying to see when it's picked up by something like RAGE, a program I spent hours of my life watching.
Flowertruck clips have been played on RAGE before, but I have to say that the Sunscreen's Voices clip getting on RAGE rotation was something that was really special to me, because it's the first large project that I've been in control of. It's very close to my heart. We shot it where I grew up and learnt to swim at the Newcastle Ocean Baths, and all my life I've wanted to shoot a clip there. I made everyone come up to stay with my mum and wake up at 4am for the sunrise shot. The next day it was pouring rain. I can't believe we pulled off the colourscheme. It was a total fluke.
You're a member of the immaculate Flowertruck yourself, do Hugo, Alex and Jett play in other bands as well?
None of them play in bands at the moment, but they all three of them have solo projects they're chipping away at. And they're damn fantastic. Alex will be releasing his solo EP next year. Jett is a beautiful songwriter. And hugo has played in bands forever - a whole bunch of diverse stuff, but he's got a killer electronic project in the works... it's gonna be massive.
You guys only have two singles out and you've already gained such traction, how far off are we from a full EP from Sunscreen?
The Sunscreen EP is finished. Five tracks are mixed and mastered, sitting on my MacBook. We want to release it as soon as possible.
It says on your Facebook page that you were scared of sharing the name 'Sunscreen' with your peers? What frightens you about protecting oneself from UV rays?
Haha! Love seeing my mates get creative with those UV rays 'slip slip slap' jokes.... :/ I always knew it was a pretty silly name, but I'd been sitting on the name for a while and it just seemed to fit the vibe of what we were doing, and the memories we shared in common. I was frightened to share my own music with the world for a very long time. That is no-one's fault but mine. I could have started a band with anyone looking back. For some reason, Alex and hugo gave me a lot of confidence.
As a musician who's played in Sydney for a few years, have you seen any shifts in behaviour since lock outs were integrated?
Look, this question is more like an open talking point... Anyone from Sydney could go on for while about the opposing views about the lockouts. I will say this though. I haven't noticed a shift in behaviour, but I have noticed venues and clubs closing down and general morale dropping. Lockouts make people frustrated with Sydney, because people don't feel trusted to do the most basic thing, going and enjoying a night out. While lockouts haven't affected me personally, I'm against them because they achieve nothing.
Also - stopping violence starts with educating young males. Not closing the doors of the club at 1am. That's just going to make people annoyed, and make them want to move to Melbourne.
What do you think about the addition of the 'Banana Boat' jingle as a cover in your upcoming sets?
How much money do Banana Boat have? Are they willing to talk?
When you make peanut butter toast do you put butter on first or skip it all together?
Skip sadly. I'm not a butter person with peanut butter. However with Vegemite, I layer it on. The more the better.