We caught up with Czech musician Sunnbrella to quiz him on music, identity and latest work of art ‘Lost and found’.
Singer/songwriter Sunnbrella released his latest work ‘Lost and found‘ to roaring applause receiving acclaim for not only his style, but a distinctive mood and atmosphere he designs for his musical canvas.
His style is reminiscent of many things but ultimately, his music carves paths of its own with a style of warmth propped up by a guitar and delivery deserving of attention.
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So let’s start with obvious. What, how and where did the name Sunnbrella come from?
I was at a festival in Prague with my Czech friends and I couldn’t remember what the English word for ‘parasol’ was, so I asked one of my friends in Czech and he replied “I don’t know, sunbrella?” in English. I thought it would be a funny name for a band. I added the second N when I found out that there’s a parasol company called Sunbrella and they took all the social media handles already.
There is an element of ‘90s indie/rock in your work, is that fair to say and who are your influences?
That’s definitely fair to say. All the big shoegaze bands are a big influence – My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive etc. – bands like Weezer and Dinosaur Jr. but also stuff like The Chemical Brothers and Moby (only up to Play of course). There’s a ton of modern artists that I love and take inspiration from but I could go on forever about that.
You said of your latest work ‘Lost And Found’ that it’s left open to interpretation. What does the song mean to you personally?
I personally like when lyrics are vague enough for people to have room for interpretation but I think the general sentiment of the song is being unable to find a real human connection when the people around you are all content with fleeting joys.
What was the process like writing it?
The song came together fairly quickly, we sort of just jammed the demo out with my friend Sam Shepherd who used to play guitar in the live band. We were just messing around with ideas, drinking, hanging out and somehow we came out with the core of the song by the end of the night. Then it was just a matter of getting the lyrics down. It was one of the easier songs to write because we didn’t know we were writing it, so there was no pressure.
What is the driving force behind your work and what aspect of your life motivates you to create?
I just want to make music that I’d want to listen to. Something that would still sound good to me if it played right after one of my favourite albums. My dad is a musician so I grew up around music and I don’t really know what else I would do with my life. Creating is sort of the default.
You’re from Czech Republic, how did you find your way to London?
My dad is half English, his mother’s side of the family was from Muswell Hill in London, so I always had a pretty Anglo-centric upbringing to some extent, especially the music that I was listening to at home. When it came time to decide what I wanted to do after graduation, going to uni in London seemed like the obvious choice, mainly because of the music scene here. That being said, if you ever get a chance to go to Prague, you should definitely do it. It’s a beautiful and fun city.
What impacts has Brexit had on your work? Has the shrivelling of rights for musicians created a difficulty for performances?
I think it’s hard to quantify how much damage Brexit is going to inflict upon the music industry. We haven’t really seen it properly yet because all the tours got cancelled but worrying about visas and declaring all the bits of equipment in your van when crossing borders is bound to be a nightmare.
If you could tell us a word that would not only describe your work, but you as a person what would it be?
Which of your songs has a lot of meaning and purpose to you?
All the most meaningful ones are still unreleased but from the songs that are out, I’d have to say ‘Outta Focus‘. It’s not reflective of the kind of music I aim to make nowadays but the content of it is very personal and I think the lyrics capture this feeling of inadequacy and wasted potential that you can get consumed by sometimes.
We’ve been told you studied cinema. How has that influenced your work?
I’m very conscious of the narrative I’m creating. I care a lot about the way an EP or an album or even just a playlist flows. I like being taken on a journey so I try to do that with my music as well. I also like to take inspiration from films for lyrics sometimes. It’s a good way to get out of a writer’s block. Whenever I feel like I don’t have anything to say, I turn to films and books to get inspired. It can be really freeing telling a story that’s not necessarily personal, as long as it resonates with you
What can fans of Sunnbrella look forward to in the future?
Hopefully, a more fully realised version of the project. The goal is to embrace all the different sounds that I’m influenced by and bring them together in a cohesive way. I’m sitting on a lot of finished songs now that I’m itching to release.