Montreal’s Suuns have recently released their first full length album called Zeroes QC. The 10 track EP was recorded at Breakglass Studios with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes who co-produced and engineered the album alongside the band. In support of the new LP, Suuns have been on the road nonstop. The band has toured with Crystal Castles, performed at SXSW and just wrapped up serving as openers for The Black Angels.  FAULT caught up with front man Ben Shemie.


FAULT: Ben, yourself and Joseph started the group, how did you two originally meet?

Ben: I met Joe pretty typically through friends in the music scene in Montreal.

FAULT: When did you decide to expand the band to include Liam and Max?

Ben: I don’t really know. When we started it was Joe and I with some laptop beats and guitars and a few tunes. Once we had a couple of songs written it was time to try and get a proper group together. I had known Liam for a while and knew I’d like to play with him.  It all just kind of came together pretty casually. We jammed together and it was cool and easy.  Max came into the picture as the missing link and the group hasn’t changed. I knew we had a special group of guys, and all that’s happened since is beyond any of our expectations.

FAULT: How has your sound developed over the years?

Ben: Suuns has always been a live band. There has always been a focus on our live show. I always believed that you were nothing unless you could play a killer show.  So, since we started, the idea of recording an album was never a priority.  Getting really tight as a band and being able to have a strong musical identity has always been our M-O. The sound has gotten a lot subtler over the years. Everyone’s input of the songs gets more and more refined, from the live show to composition.

FAULT: What were some sources of inspiration for the tracks found on Zeroes QC?

Ben: A lot of the inspiration comes from the classic rock stylings of the 60s and 70s.  Led Zeppelin etc…  But also there is a real interest in minimal electronic music à la Plastikman.  It’s a tightrope balancing act that we are engaged in. We are definitely a rock band but try to mix it up with the other aspects of music that we love.  We get compared to Clinic a lot too, and some Krautrock bands. I love these bands and they have definitely inspired me to want to make music and act as fuel for other bands.

FAULT: Does the band write songs as a collective whole?

Ben: On this record, I wrote the broad strokes. As a band we filled in the holes and developed a sound together. I come from a compositional background and feel comfortable writing specific parts that I would like  to hear in these songs, but the magic in the music is a collective band dynamic.

FAULT: Ben, your vocals on some of the tracks i.e. Arena and Pie IX sound like part of the instrumentation, was that a conscious effort on your part?

Ben: Some of our songs don’t really follow a narrative.  Songs like Pie IX and Arena are great examples of songs that, to me, are like little pictures, scenes, or colours if you like. They are evocative numbers that try and deliver on an emotion, or vibe. The vocal really floats in the middle rather than a ‘lead’ role.

FAULT: How important to you as an artist are the visuals that correspond with your music?

Ben: We try to keep everything simple and like things in black and white. But it is important that whatever visuals we put out there ourselves fit our musical taste. We lean towards things that are obscured, and like our music, hard to pin down.

FAULT: How did you find the experience of both starring in and directing the video?

Ben: Easy. The video is mostly clever visual things. It wasn’t like I had to actually act at all.

FAULT: What artist/musicians inspire you?

Ben: David Lynch, The Black Angels, Marina Abramovic.

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Ben: It’s my entire fault.

Interview by Leah Blewitt