Sundress Funeral is a band from that formed in Boston. Steve was from Steve Atlanta GA, aplace that has a very large Trap scene when it comes to music. “ I’ve very seriously considered working with artists involved in trap and hip-hop. I have friends in a collective based in Chicago called SOULTRA, and I really believe these folks are working on some very innovative music.” That being said Steve is very focused as of late on creating new and fresh ideas in which he tends to pull from many different genres, others being 90’s alternative, trap, pop, old punk, and jazz influences. In his spare time Steve is very into video games and memes when he’s not making music. “Twitch and YouTube are a couple of my go to websites for entertainment.” We then have Italy-born Steven, a guy that before he came to the United States was very centered into Italy’s pop fusion background. “Back in my town, that is the most popular genre (no metal AT ALL).” So when he entered the states, Metal was something he really got into, falling in love with the diverse and heavy rhythm sections that could support a catchy melody. So how exactly did these two very different individuals come to meet and create some very amazing music. Read on to find out. Sundress Funeral’s Music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, SoundCloud, and YouTube! Keep up with them on their Facebook page, Instagram (@sundressfuneral), and our SoundCloud. Happy Listening!
So what can you tell us about the name of your band, it’s pretty interesting.
We are Sundress Funeral. The band’s name came from the idea of paradoxical irony. The concept of something so cheery like a sundress but also painful like a funeral called to us and felt relatable and important to the themes in our lyrics.
Very cool , I dig it ! Want to tell my readers a little bit about yourselves?
We formed after meeting at college in Boston! I (Steve) came from Georgia and Steven Viol from Italy. We bonded over our love of hardcore music and decided to start making some.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
We categorize ourselves as Alternative Metalcore, but we’re honestly choosing new ideas and sounds every time we’re in a room together. Major influences would be Issues, Killswitch Engage, Rise Against, Slipknot, Incubus, The Story So Far, Bring Me The Horizon, among others.
Ah yes. Incubus is one of my favorites, among the others as well. Very cool influences. What or who would you say your music sounds like, just to give a rough idea to our readers here?
I would say our music sounds like a strange mix of The Amity Affliction, Rise Against, and Issues. However, listeners have told us that it reminds them of lots of other bands that we didn’t even think about haha.
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Steven and I met during our first year at Berklee in September 2016. We both then met Sage, our fantastic producer.
Awesome stuff. When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
We formed the band in May 2017 with Steven and I. We recorded the Shape of You cover and decided to continue working together. We both live for music; it exists in our every day lives. When we discovered this about each other, we knew we needed to make this happen.
Do you have a record label or in talks with any to speak?
We are completely independent as it stands currently.
That’s cool. It’s always good to make an established and unique sound before going into that kind of thing. So this is always my favorite question as most of my readers already know.What can you tell me about your instruments? What made you choose the instruments you have now?
Steve: I take a lot of care in choosing the right tool for the job. My mains for Sundress are a PRS 277 baritone for low rhythm guitar (with those THICC Ernie Ball Beefy strings) and my semi hollow ’72 Thinline Telecaster for melodic stuff and clean tones.
Nice ! Telecasters are insane in terms of build and sound. So Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?
We’ve been playing local shows around Boston at various places. We really enjoyed playing O’Briens Pub. We haven’t played any horrible venues so I can’t really say we have a least favorite.
Not bad, So when you do have a show which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
As we are a new band, our set is pretty standard. We are in the process of writing more material to add to it. We play our Shape Of You cover at every show; people really seem to enjoy it and as long as that is true, we’ll keep playing it every time. The other songs are all originals that we’re in the process of recording! Cinderella is another song that shows up in every show. That’s really the ‘come together’ moment at every show.
Cinderella is definitely one of those great songs that can bring a crowd together, cool choices. So I want to jump into the song writing aspects of your songs. Who writes them? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
I would say we definitely both have a part in the songwriting. Usually I’ll come in with a frame and lyrics, and with that we’ll shop it out and make something we’re proud of. Most of our lyrics focus on self care and playing the hand you’re dealt. Life throws curveballs and hardships, but it’s the way we get through them that truly defines who we are. Self-empowerment is so important to me, because how can you take care of anyone else if you can’t take care of yourself first?
Amen to that , so aside from the writing aspect of things, talk to me about your music-making process?
Our process usually starts with me bringing in a skeleton of a song and some rough lyrics to go along with it. Steven brings the rhythm and provides insight to the form of the songs, so usually after we’ve had time to sort it out, lyrics will change resulting in something we’re both proud of. I think that’s the main key in all of it; we never want to release anything we’re not 100% proud of.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
We try to stick with a general practice schedule, however more often than not, schedules change and we have to adapt. We try to stay very versatile with going to school and maintaining a band at the same time.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together? Can we talk about your latest music you have out now?
The music definitely has evolved as we both have gotten more comfortable with each other. “The Shape Of You” cover was strongly arranged and formulated by me, but since then we’ve made it a point to really include BOTH of our inspirations and influences to create music we both have a hand in.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Definitely our biggest challenge has been finding musicians that are like-minded in relation to Steven and I. We worked with Reese Morin and Tyler Martinez, two incredible musicians, while we played shows around Boston. However, creative differences got in the way of us truly bonding. I feel as though a strong bond is important in creating music and we just weren’t finding that in each other. No bad blood there, but I would say that has certainly been our biggest challenge as of yet. I’m sure there are more to come haha.
I totally understand that. A music vision cant really be full-filled if creative differences are much too alien to get a specific vision across. Doesn't have to be any bad blood per say if musicians part ways , it’s all about keeping it professional and moving forward. Which I think you guys have done so thats great. What's your ultimate direction for your band? What would you want people to take away from your new music?
Currently, we’re really focusing on getting out of college with degrees; however, that doesn’t stop us from playing shows and putting out music. Our end goal is to put out music people can relate to and give listeners a medium to express their happiness, sorrow, anger, or any other internal struggles they may be facing. We want anyone who may be struggling to know that they are not alone, and our shows are a place for all of those people to come together and have a good time knowing those around them are supportive and empathetic.
That’s a great message for the fans and very admirable. So onto a fun question that I always love to ask musicians , If you had the chance to work with another band or artist, who would that be and why?
Some of these bands, we have worked with, but there are a few others we haven’t gotten a chance with yet, but we hope to see them very soon!: Cutting Ties, Dividing Skies, In Elysium, Seven Spires, and Zoume come to mind first. These bands are so good at connecting with their audience and creating unique sounds. I feel like we could definitely learn from them, and I hope they feel the same about us. Josh Garner from Cutting Ties and Dividing Skies is a very good friend of mine, and we’ve talked about working together. Who knows what 2018 could bring!
Sounds like 2018 could be a good year for collabs haha. That’s exciting. So I know a lot of funny or amazing stuff can happen when a band is together, Any band stories you feel like sharing with our readers?
I will never forget the day Steven texted me and said (I’m paraphrasing), “Hey! I can’t make practice this weekend L I have to go to an audition.” And I say, “Oh dude that’s no problem, who’s the audition for?” I have absolutely no issue with country music, but when “Steven the Metalcore Drummer” told me he was going to audition for Jimmy Connor, I about died laughing. What I think made it even better is that he was actually accepted to be his drummer haha, Steven has clout that’s for sure lol . He still plays BIG shows with Jimmy every now and then.
Oh wow that’s insane haha, good for him! Where do you guys see yourselves in the next six months?
The next 6 months I hope holds a lot of playing out as well as the release of our EP. We have no date for it yet, but it should actually be very soon…
Exciting, exciting. Well I will definitely keep my eye on that. What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
I would say start now. Get a way to support that band, and make it happen. You’ll have every day to say “tomorrow”, but get with those folks that love the same style as you and start talking it out. Even if they don’t play, that doesn’t mean they won’t have a huge impact on your band in the future. I’m most certainly not a professional, but I know what has worked for us so far.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Our music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, SoundCloud, and YouTube! The best way to keep up with us would be our Facebook page, Instagram (@sundressfuneral), and our SoundCloud!
Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering support over the years as you continue with on with your success as a band?
I want to give a huge thanks to our manager, Cyrina Salas. Without her continued discipline, we wouldn’t even be close to where we are now. Tyler Martinez and Reese Morin provided tons of assistance with live shows and knowledge as well before their departure. Sage Mitchell, our producer, had a TON of influence on our studio sound; she gave us ideas we never would have thought of when working in the DAW’s (digital audio workshop). Josh Garner gives me constant support that I can’t possibly return, but I do my best. I’m hoping both our bands can play the big stages together at some point. On a personal note, I want to thank my grandmother; without her support and love, I would not be alive today, so I do feel it very necessary to include that. Lastly, mine and Steven’s families and friends who push us to do everything we do, and we do our absolute best to return that favor; doing our best is all they ask, so we’ll keep giving it everything we have.
Any last words for your fans before we conclude this interview?
I personally just want to thank every person who has ever given our sound a try, regardless if you’re a fan or not. You definitely give us every bit of fuel we need to keep going and give you new stuff to listen to. You’re everything to us, and I could not stress that enough. I hope we get a chance to meet every single one of you at some point, but until then, we’ll see you soon. Much love y’all <3