Suuns are Ben Shermie (vocals/guitar), Joe Yarnush (guitar/bass), Liam O’Neill (drums) and Max Henry (bass/keyboard). Their music makes me think of Clinic and there’s definitely some Suicide influences in there. We sent our Montréal writer Éric Morrissette to see Liam O’Neill and ask him about food. It hasn’t been announced but they’ll come to Gothenburg in May! Also Stockholm. My guess is that WWDIS will announce that booking shortly, Suuns are totally up their alley. But enough speculation, here’s Éric’s words!
Your name comes from the thai translation of Zeroes. Any background story on this?
We just used to be called Zeroes, but when we signed with Secretly Canadian there was a copyright issue, but we wanted to keep the old name so we tried it in a whole bunch of languages and Suuns was the one that sounded the coolest and looked the best. We got like 89 emails of name suggestions. Some of them were so bad…
What’s your favorite Thai dish?
I guess I’m a green curry guy. I recently started making my own green fish curry at home with coconut milk, chili peppers, cumin, garlic, ginger, green onions, fish sauce and tons of fresh coriander. You can use any kind of white fish you like. I use tilapia because it is cheap. I’ve also tried it with trout and that was really good!
Robin, the founder of Llama Lloyd, thinks that thai food sometimes tastes like piss. Do you agree?
Like piss? I guess that would be the fish sauce, eh? I can see what he’s talking about but I disagree. However, I will say that kidneys taste like piss for obvious reasons. I was dining at a French restaurant with Max, the keyboard player, who had kidneys. I asked him how the kidneys were. He said: ”good… [pauses] it tastes like pee”. That’s the only thing that I think tastes like pee. It smells like your first piss in the morning that’s kind of yellow and stinky. It’s like that. But you should try it!
Have you ever toured in Sweden?
No, we’re gonna go in May. I think we’re going to Göteborg and Stockholm. [Edit: Don’t look that way at their tour schedule unfortunately. :( :( ]
What do you know about Swedish food?
I guess I only know about meatballs. Could you enlighten me?
Gravlax and pickled herring are classics for instance.
How yeah! I love pickled herring. Pretty intense, but good!
Do you listen to any Swedish music?
Shit! When I was really young, my older brother had Ace of Base on tape, you know? I listened the shit out of that tape when I was a kid because whatever my older brother was listening to I thought was cool. I guess that’s the Swedish music I’ve listened the most to but I’ve listened to [The Knife’s] Silent Shout quite a lot too.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten while being on the road?
Hákarl [fermented Icelandic shark] is definitely the grossest thing I’ve ever had.
Éric: I almost vomited on the pavement when I had it.
I did! The weirdest thing I’ve ever had would actually be something from Tim Horton’s [Canada’s Seven Eleven]. Once on tour in Canada we stopped in the middle of the night at a Tim Horton’s drive-through and I ordered a chicken salad sandwich on a bagel. They didn’t think it was worth mentioning that they only had raisins and cinnamon bagels left. It was the first time I had food that made me laugh. I actually laughed out loud when I took a bite into it!
What do you miss the most from home when you’re touring? Poutine? Montréal’s bagels?
No, I don’t necessarly miss food from Montréal. I miss doing the dishes. I like to cook food for myself and clean up after myself. I find the process very therapeutic. I miss food from Lola Rosa, a vegetarian restaurant where I work.
Robin believed Pie IX to be a pie [it’s a street in Montréal named after a pope. In french, ”pie” means ”magpie”, not ”pie”]. Can you make his dream come true and think of a flavor for it?
Haha. It’d be a burned blood pudding pie. All black, like in the video.
Do you have one fetish item in the kitchen? Something you use religiously?
A small serrated knife that I use for everything. A good knife is indispensable.
What music do you like to listen to when you’re having breakfast?
It depends what kind of a day I feel like having. I’m a slow starter. I don’t listen to techno in the morning. I actually listen to CBC [Canada’s public radio] on my portable radio, but if I’m gonna listen to music I would rather listen to Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson trio or if it’s a cloudy day I like to listen to Neil Young’s Live at Massey Hall 1971.
What’s your favorite comfort food on a typical snowy day in Montréal?
Last year I had this day where a bunch of people at work went skating at Parc Lafontaine. I never go to work hangs, I was hungover but I decided that I should go, so I went and I was the only person who showed up! It was minus 22, really sunny and I skated around until I thought that my dick was gonna fall off. Then I went home and listened to Leonard Cohen and roasted a chicken and made ratatouille and risotto. That would be my go to winter meal with a salad and red wine. It heats the house as well!
Do you have a recipe for a great soup? Maybe something Canadian?
Canadian, eh? I don’t know if they even exist.
Pea soup for instance. But since it’s for Sweden, you can make up anything!
Haha, yeah they don’t know. My go to soup isn’t Canadian but I fry some garlic, onions, lots of ginger. Get them all translucent. You get some red lentils in there, water, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coconut milk, grated sweet potato and lots of spinach. It’s really fast and makes your bones feel warm. Very nice. I like food that you can eat every day. That’s what I miss about Lola Rosa’s food when I’m on tour: beans, sweet potatoes, tomato salsa, rice. Very simple food that you can eat everyday. I feel that way about music too. To me, listening to John Lennon is like eating rice and beans: everyday I find it nourishing. It’s not a specialty kind of thing. It’s basic and you can get lots of nourishment from it.
Any emerging band from the local scene you think we should check out?
The number one would be Valleys. We toured across Canada with them and they’re just an amazing band. They’re putting a record out sometime this year. Pat Jordache. I’m a big fan of his first record. I’ve heard the new stuff and it sounds really good. I don’t know when his record is gonna come out but it’s gonna be a big deal when that happens. Number three would be the new Constellation release: Jerusalem In My Heart. It’s Radwan Ghazi Moumneh’s arabic psychedelic project. He does performance art style concerts, usually really short. He sings, plays oud and droning synths with cool visuals.
Your new record is coming out in march. If Pie-IX is a blood pudding pie, what kind of pie would this record be?
Maybe like a spicy tourtière [French-Canadian meat pie]. It’s meaty but full of flavor. It’s a little bit more full and fleshed out. When we made the first album we had no plan to release it, we just wanted to make a record just for our own amusement. We got kind of caught off guard. This time, we knew that people were listening so we spent a little more time on it. We were a little bit more picky. We’ve definitely grown a lot and matured. There’s more singing, more spiritualized textures.
You mentioned Tourtière. Any French Canadian influence on it?
The record is called Images du Future which is the name of an expo that was happening I think at the science center in Montréal in the nineties. It was an expo about new technologies and computers. We thought that spoke well to the kind of atmosphere on the record. There’s a kind of retro-futurist sound going on.
The album is out on March 5th on Secretly Canadian.
Check out the video for Edie’s dream here.
Suuns on Spotify.