Sunflower Bean on their new album Twentytwo in Blue

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Let’s start by talking about the new album Twentytwo in Blue, what inspired the album title?

Our first EP was green, then our first record had a maroon cover, so we had in mind that we wanted the second record to be a shade of blue, that’s the mood of the album. When you go to name an album, you have all these different songs that are thematically very different, despite being written around the same time. It can be hard to put them all together under the banner of one title.

My favourite track is Twentytwo, it’s so beautiful and feels so timeless… How did that song come about and what does it mean to you?

Julia wrote all the lyrics to that song and she first brought it into the studio as a chord progression, she already had all the lyrics written out. When we recorded it we hired somebody to write an arrangement for the strings on the song, she wrote the arrangement but her computer wasn’t able to send the file, so we didn’t actually get to hear what she had written until the day we were in the studio tracking it. But it was perfect, so it didn’t matter, we really trusted her. That was our first time ever having strings in our music.

This album is full of contrasts, with one of the boldest moments being ‘Crisis Fest’, which has a very revolutionary spirit – is that the consequence of the dark political times we’ve witnessed recently?

Absolutely, it was inspired by things that have been happening in the U.S and all over the world. Our last tour of 2016 was in the U.S in October and November, right in the lead-up to the U.S election. So it was interesting to hear all these different viewpoints and witness the dividedness of the nation. It was amazing to see all the young people that were coming to our shows and we identified with them, because we were in the same boat as them, feeling worried and anxious about our country.

Do you think artists have a duty to address social and political issues in their music?

I think if they’re worth tackling, then people will address them. Almost everything is affected by politics, you can’t make art inside a bubble without being affected by the society that you live in. Every artist is addressing those issues, whether they mean to or not.

How was the process of writing this album? It’s only been about 2 years since Human Ceremony so it feels like a pretty quick – did the songs come quite naturally to you?

Our debut album came out in February 2016 and we spent that entire year on the road, so when we finally stopped touring at the end of November and we got together in the practice space for the first time, it was sort of like turning on a faucet. All these songs started pouring out because they’d been building up for over a year, it was a really fruitful process.

You supported Wolf Alice late last year, how was that? How did you guys become friends?

That was probably one of our favourite tours we’ve ever done, it was so much fun. We first met Wolf Alice back in 2014, we supported them on a couple of shows when they first came over to America. We played with them at this place called The Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia, which is this really dingy bar, and there was about 50 people there. So to then be playing a sold out Alexandra Palace with them 3 years later was just a dream come true. I’m so proud of them.

Finally, how excited are you about your UK tour next month? I was impressed to see you playing in so many cities across the country since most bands tend to just do Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and London.

Super, super excited! We’re all really anticipating it. It’s our first headline tour in over a year and a half, so we’re really looking forward to it.


Twentytwo in Blue will be released on 23rd March, via Lucky Number.


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