Funny/strange the way clerks sometimes question what you buy. I was at a quickie-mart buying a Powerbar. Clerk said, “Wow, healthy snack! Same as yesterday!” I was kinda creeped out.
Next girl bought a 12-pack. Clerk said, “You gonna put that all away tonight?” Girl turned red.
It was nonstop. Out of the damn dark, sometimes people do or say or play unexpected shit that shakes you up. And so it is with local trio The Never Setting Suns.
The Suns and I are laughing about super-invasive clerks while hanging out at this same quickie-mart. See, we’re here ‘cause some hippie was jamming his butt off at the coffeeshop where we were supposed to meet. Weird new ambiance, but it’s worth it, just for the people show.
From Cincinnati, The Never Setting Suns have rocked out together since 2008. Their songs might have a structured backbone to begin, but then eight bars of chaos sneak in. They’ll start with a melody, tear it up and then destroy it, as in the tricky, dynamic “Spheres.”
Slick Diesel sneakers on his feet, Corey Larrison (vocals, guitar) has a striking smile that often slips into an evil grin. In seventh grade, Larrison found a nasty, half-charred, beat-up bass underneath the stairs at home, so he headed out for Funk bass lessons with Freakbass’ Chris Sherman.
Later, Larrison switched to bleeding on his guitar. Literally. He rolls up his sleeve, revealing scars. For fun, Larrison hangs out with “realistic brokenness” and a “strange, but very comfortable feeling of hopelessness,” the dark and the deep.
After training camp (high school), Larrison hooked up with Chris Courts (bass) and Tyler Griffin (drums). Griffin and Larrison worked out some Noise Rock in the basement. Larrison laughs.
“We had the cops called on us a lot,” he says.
Yeah, their neighbors always hated them.
Courts sports a thick beard and Pumas, and his MySpace bio video is hilarious with ingenious timing. He calls this project “a Noise band with a bassist.”
Griffin isn’t hanging with us at junk food central, but they say that when he hits skins he’s an intense animal. Larrison says, “I look back at Tyler and he has this gnarled face, smashing things, going crazy.”
They describe him as Larrison’s twin with Lego-man black hair.
The band’s new CD, And Now We’re Not Alone, was recorded at Ultrasuede Studio with Chad Wahlbrink. Dave Davis mastered.
On the NSS sound (inspired early on by Modest Mouse), Larrison says, “I’m just taking what I’ve loved from musicians like Isaac Brock and Jeff Tweedy, seeing the things they did, reciprocating that and recognizing that I’m continuing it.”
Introspective with a touch of “bad,” the songs hold a consistent vibe, but they’re far from direct shooters.
Rather than playing straight-up, Larrison says they push moods.
“I love Fugazi’s Red Medicine. Toward the end of their career, they got really experimental and would do these weird songs with all these strange noises,” he says. “I wasn’t into Sonic Youth at the time, but that’s where the Noise Rock came out of, and now we’re into harnessing all of those elements.”
Larrison also gives a shout to Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
“They did it with the mindset of writing all the songs out and then they deconstructed them," he says. "That stuck with us a lot.”
The Suns aren’t cookie cutter. “Into Your Hands” is a whopping 11 minutes long.
“In the middle of the song, we stop playing, and it goes into dissonance," Larrison says. "In a live performance, I’ll just scream into the pickups or scratch it with my fingers, do things like that to get any kind of strange sound I can out of it.”
Body movement, effects pedals and weird sounds are as much a part of the show as the instruments and vocals.
“Our drummer destroys his cymbals, shredding sticks everywhere," Courts says. "There are many moments where it’s high intensity, high energy and we bring it back down to an actual jam or a melody.”
Whether shocking the audience or drawing them in, Larrison explains, “There’s a thing that I have to get outta me. It’s a release. The performance, the energy, all of that stuff is much more important to me than even our album. In my mind, my dream is for (the audience) to just go crazy, to experience something that’s collectively ours.”
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