The Sound-bending Sunsquabi Experience
By Julie McNally
On September 13, Sunsquabi, a three-piece band based out of Boulder, showed Steamboat Springs what they are made of. The trio rocked the house at Schmiggity's Live Music Dance Bar, blending genres across the board. The audience experienced a taste of it all that night: from intense wailing guitar loops & solos to moments of chilled out dub sounds. Although they create a predominantly electronic sound, each member of the trio plays one or more physical instruments. The members of Sunsquabi include Chris Anderson on drums, Andrew Clymer on bass & synthesizer, and Kevin Donohue on guitar & keyboard. Clymer and Donohue also control beats, samples and ambient sounds through their laptops while exploring the sounds of their string instruments, synths and keys live on stage.
Sunsquabi constructs a melting pot of constantly-evolving sound elements that layer together seamlessly. As each sound layer ravels and unravels with the passing moments, each member showcases their technical timing and multi-tasking skills individually and also as a group. What attracts Sunsquabi to create this type of music? “Blending so many different kinds of music…hip hop, rock, EDM (electronic dance music), jazz fusion, really all over the board. Taking the funk and all those little aspects and contributors and trying to create something that’s a little bit of each but also a new and unique style,” replied Clymer. “Being able to use the computer and use Ableton (music production software) lets you take all those things and hear them all at once, which is crazy, it’s great …it’s like having 2 or 3 (musicians) be able to do what 10 can do at once,” Donohue added.
The show in Steamboat consisted of original tunes, covers and also remixes of favorites including Gloria Estefan’s “Conga,” and “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. Donohue’s wailing guitar stood out in an impressive, metal infused cover of “Wika Chikana” by Sound Tribe Sector 9. With influences like Frank Zappa, Biggie Smalls, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, it is apparent that each member brings their own influence to the Sunsquabi sound. Game of Thrones fans were in for a treat when the group played their own remix of the show’s theme song; complete with their added signature harmonic metal guitar sounds that fall somewhere between the driving force of a Metallica riff and the hypnotic, ambient vibe of a Pink Floyd riff. Plain and simple: these guys blend it all and sound great doing it.
The members of Sunsquabi mentioned past visits to Steamboat when they were younger and even a recent visit to Strawberry Park Hot Springs this past spring. If you enjoy a unique twist on old favorite songs and original songs that you can’t stop repeating in your head, check out the band’s Soundcloud page. There, you can enjoy free downloads of their EP Fundamental Interaction, live recordings, and Sunsquabi remixes of your old favorites. Sunsquabi does not disappoint with their use of live instruments in electronic music; harmonizing frequencies of their beats, keys, synths and various samples with the vibrations of their string instruments for a unique musical experience. Keep an eye out for their new EP, Thunder, scheduled to release this October.