Music delivers tension in its own particular way, and that's always been an element of music that we've tried to exploit as much as possible.

Max Henry of Suuns

Hi Max and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Musicology.

Firstly congratulations on Felt, your new record. Off the album Watching You, Watch Me is an exquisite track with its crystalline composition and genre busting sound. Does this track speak for the entire record?

It’s hard to peg a single track that speaks for the whole record, at least aesthetically. What I can say is we took a chance on WYWM, to make a kind of maximal sound. In a way, it’s like the electronic version of some of our earlier guitar jams. So what speaks for the record I suppose is that sense of adventure and experimentation, as far as the sound of the band goes.

The lead single Watch You, Watch Me is not only an amazing track but it also features a mind bending video clip directed by Russ Murphy. Did you have a strong storyboard for this idea or was it something that was allowed to organically develop?

Russ has his thing, which is very cool. I don’t want to speak for him, but as I understand it this was a particular iteration of his style, the rotoscoping, that allowed for a certain exposing of the process -- hence all the screenshots of photoshop and mouse cursors tucked in there. It’s a kind of decomposition, I guess, and the strobing, stuttery vibe is a good complement to the track itself, I’d say.

Felt was recorded over a much longer period than your previous records, did this extended timeframe indirectly influence the looser feel to the record or was it more conducive to the bands preferred style of recording?

Yes, it was a totally different vibe. When we started the process, it was really with the aim to put together a few demos; to flesh out some ideas. We brought a really relaxed, anything goes attitude into the studio that first session. But in the end, we were so pleased with the results that we figured it wouldn’t be necessary to re-record -- that we could find the whole record that way.

In what ways did you want to push the sonic boundaries from your earlier releases Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur to what we hear on Felt?

We weren’t aiming for anything in particular -- but I think you’ll find a wider variety of textures than on our previous records: at times more of an organic sound, at times quite spare, at times pretty dense.

You worked alongside producer John Congleton on this record, what did John bring to the table that really shines through on this LP?

John didn’t produce this record, not like the last album (Hold Still) -- he flew up from L.A. after all the tracking was done to work his magic on the mix. John is already a brilliant producer, but he’s a brilliant mixing engineer as well.

You each bring your own strengths to the collective with your work encompassing all aspects of the band. Do you feel that the triangle between the music, videography and artwork is an equilateral one when considering Suuns work as a whole?

It definitely has been traditionally, although things have shifted a bit this time -- e.g. we worked with Russ who did the WYWM video. Videography used to be all in-house in the old days. We got Joe (Yarmush, our guitarist) back on the photos this time around, though -- his eye has always produced the best visual aesthetic for the band.

In particular the album cover art, you have described it as a type of dichotomy between pressure and resistance which is an intriguing conceptual premise. How did you transform this polarised notion into a musical piece and do you believe the abstract expression of this divide is best delivered through the musical medium to convey such intangible qualities?

Yeah, I guess the argument could be made that music is all about tension. But all art seems to be about tension -- I mean, in music that tension exists in time. In the cover photo, well, photography isn’t a medium that exists in time like music does -- and yet there’s still tension there. I guess you could say that music delivers tension in its own particular way, and that’s always been an element of music that we’ve tried to exploit as much as possible.

It’s no secret that you hail from one of the most liberal thinking areas in Quebec, how much of this geopolitical environment influences your music and for that matter the subject material that you draw from?

I used to think that our city had very little to do with the music that we make. But Montreal is a very special place, and to be a Montreal of a certain age, it’s really a special experience that you get to share with everyone else in the city. Quebec itself exists in a sort of state of cultural and political tension, which is part of what makes it so beautiful… questions of identity and policy are constantly vibrating here.

Having meet so many interesting characters and musicians throughout the years, were there any defining moments or conversations that really resonated with you and altered the way you approach your craft?

Only that the more closely you inspect something, the more quotidian it seems -- all the musical heros that I’ve met are just working joes like you or me, and their processes are just as stochastic and inelegant. Reverence comes from distance, both physical and temporal. As a record sinks into the past, it becomes easier and easier to idealize it, you know, to call it a classic. When you work on your own creative material here and now you see all its pockmarks and scars; for them it was no different. It’s nice to remember that.

What is on the cards for Suuns for the rest of 2018?

Lots of touring. Stay tuned.