ACL Interviews: Suckers
Today we focus on some of the lesser known bands of ACL with an interview spotlighting relatively new Brooklyn band Suckers. We spoke to the man simply known as Pan this week via phone to find out a little bit about this new project. I think you will all be glad to know that Pan is in full support of my Pearl Jam pick for ACL. So there. Follow the jump for full interview.
ATH: Everyone talks about how your band is associated with Yeasayer. How did that relationship develop, and how has it affected your group?
Pan: Well we met Yeasayer years ago when a mutual friend of ours was putting on a show and they wanted us to play and the Yeasayer guys came out and they really liked us. We became good friends after that and starting playing shows after that. Then they asked us to sing on their record and Austin (Fisher) and I sang on their record and I played trumpet on it. We just naturally became really good friends and we’ve been hanging out ever since. They also kind of put a record out before us so any kind of mistakes they made along they way they told us about and that helped us with the same decisions.
ATH: I read somewhere that some guys in the band once had a punk band, The Noise I think. Do they still have an affinity for punk rock, and do they fuse that with your current sound?
Pan: Yeah Quinn (Walker) and Austin were in a band called The Noise. They actually started with Quinn doing a bunch of solo stuff and then Austin and some of my friends from high school joined. Yeah they were sort of a punkish/indie-rock band. We absolutely draw from every genre of music because all of us are fans of any kind of music out there. Everything is an influence.
ATH: It’s no secret that loads of bands love being from Brooklyn. Do you think being part of a large scene like that has hindered or helped your progression as a group?
Pan: I mean it gets kind of annoying after awhile when people just sort of go “ohhhh you’re a Brooklyn band”. I think in the end it’s probably helped because their are lots of really awesome bands in Brooklyn. So when people hear where we are from they sort of assume you are pretty good. Like if we’re playing Arkansas tonight I’m sure when Brooklyn bands come around they are like “aw yeah cool!”.
ATH: What are you looking forward to on your visit to Austin, aside from the actual playing of your show during ACL?
Pan: Well we scheduled it so that we’re going to get there early and be able to go to the first couple days of shows. I’m looking forward to just seeing all the bands eating BBQ, kind of relaxing for a minute before we play and seeing you know Pearl Jam, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and lots of other amazing bands.
ATH: I’m glad you bring up Pearl Jam because a lot of people in this town are just too hip and too stuck up to think Pearl Jam is cool anymore and I am not one of those people.
Pan: I know right. I actually haven’t heard their new album but I’m really interested to see what they’re sounding like these days. Aren’t they almost like The Grateful Dead now? They have people like following them around tour?
ATH: Quinn’s cousin is also in the band. Is it easy to include family members in the group, or has that made it more challenging throughout the years to keep things from getting personal, or from forming alliances?
Pan: Not really. It’s all very equal these days. They’ve definitely known each other the longest but it’s not like any one person has more control or anything like that. It’s all very democratic.
ATH: I’ve never had the chance to see you guys play live, but the music, and the background info I have on the members, seems like it would be perfect for constant instrument switching. Do you guys do this or does everyone stick to their part for the whole set?
Pan: We used to do a lot of instrument switching but it got really hectic with doing it on every song we sort of stopped. At this point we all kind of have our own station of instruments. Like I have a drum pad, a trumpet, bass guitar and vocals. Everybody sort of has a sampler or a keyboard. We might have a keyboard switch here or there but not as much as we used to. Everybody does play a lot of different instruments though.
ATH: What has been your favorite album this year? A lot of bands keep telling us you touring artists have no time for this sort of thing.
Pan: My favorite album this year? Well the Girls album just came out and I’ve kind of been listening to that non stop. We’ve actually played a couple of shows with them and I think they are completely amazing. I definitely try to keep up as much as I can with the new music.
ATH: Awesome. Well what else besides just The Girls record?
Pan: I like the new Jay-Z record too and Kid Cudi’s album is pretty awesome to I think. I do like the Phoenix record, it’s not my favorite favorite, but I like it.
ATH: So a random question we stole from somewhere that we like…If you had to be any villain from a Rocky movie, who would you be and why?
Pan: The Russian guy! [Ivan Drago] Mostly because that movie has been stuck in my head since I saw it a million times as a kid. I like that he is all about using machines and Rocky is in the woods lifting trees and stuff like that. It’s like a man vs. machines type thing.
ATH: Plus Rocky ended the Cold War in that movie!
Pan: Yes it’s amazing. That’s my answer.
We enjoy your taste in movies and bands sir. Thanks again to you for making some time to speak with us. Looking forward to the ACL set.
You can see Suckers live bright and early at 11:45 on Sunday at the Xbox 360 stage.
Photo credit to Victoria Jacob.