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Bonnaroo Q&A: Nashville-based Sun Seeker talks DIY scene, Cardi B and breakfast

As a four-piece rock band based out of Nashville, Sun Seeker has made waves in the local DIY scene and built up a fan base in cities around the U.S.. On Sunday, the band will take the Bonnaroo stage for the first time ever. Alex, Asher, Ben and Rodrigo sat down with the Vision to talk about Nashville’s music scene, advice for aspiring musicians and what it feels like to be playing their first Bonnaroo.

What’s it like being, do you call yourselves a rock band?

Alex: For the sake of ease, we always just say rock.

Ben: Chill rock

Alex: But sometimes rockin’ rock! I mean, we’re never like arena rock. Well, maybe, who knows?

Ben: Varying levels of rock.

I love that. So what’s it like being a rock band in Nashville?I know that scene has grown a lot, but to a lot of people it’s still very much a singer-songwriter town. What has your experience been like?

Ben: We’ve always been pretty in touch with the DIY scene in Nashville, which is pretty bustling. There’s a venue called Dark Matter that hosts a lot of shows that are probably in the same vein as us. There’s a scene that is pretty far removed from things like the Americana, singer-songwriter thing, which is super, too. But we always try to stay close to the DIY, where we started.

Rodrigo: We came out of that for sure, but these days we also make connections with bands all over the country, we tour a lot.

Ben: Yeah, we don’t play in Nashville a lot.

Asher: It’s a little strange for us, because a lot of the DIY scene is bands that we don’t really fit with, like punk bands and stuff. So we kind of have to carve out our own space, you know. But we still identify with that scene.

Did you start in Nashville?

Asher: Yeah, we’re all from here.

And when did you guys form the band?

Alex: In 2013. So we kind of formed it in January of 2013, but I think that our first show wasn’t until December of 2013.

Ben: Yeah, it was kind of the core of me, Asher and Alex, and then Rodrigo joined us about two years ago.

So what’s that like now that you’ve been together for a while? I’m sure you’re all like pretty close, but what’s kept you together as you’ve evolved as a band?

Alex: I think all four of us kind of give each other space and let each other do what they want to do. But also, we’ve known each other for so long, and so touring is just easier that way.

Asher: And we were all good friends even before we were in a band together. So it kind of makes it pretty easy for us to get along.

Alex: Yeah, we keep each other in check and aren’t offended by it. You know, we mess around. We’re crazy, wild boys.

Ben: We’ve been playing for so long. I feel like creatively, it’s really easy, we pick up on each other’s instincts. I feel like we’re really good about collaborating with each other. And Asher and I have known each other since we were in like fifth grade, so it’s almost like we’re siblings.

That’s awesome. So thinking about Bonnaroo specifically, what does it feel like sharing the stage with so many iconic people?

Alex: It’s awesome.

Ben: We’re honored.

Rodrigo: It’s a big Tennessee point of pride.

Who are you most excited to see while you’re here?

Alex: Cardi B for me. That’s my big one.

Ben: Solange and Beach House

Asher: Kacey Musgraves, John Prine…

Rodrigo: The Nashville staples.

So many good ones.

Alex: I just want to reiterate Cardi B.

Ben: She’s from Murfreesboro! Haven’t you heard?

I don’t think that’s right…

Alex: She’s not a Nashville staple, but she’s an international icon.

I think she’s just an experience.

Alex: Yeah. Exactly.

So for people who are either just getting into your music or don’t know a lot about you, what should people know about you to get you as a band?

Alex: We’re kind of just four regular, old dudes. I don’t know if this is like publicity suicide, but we’re not trying to like put off some front of like some crazy story or anything. It’s just kind of like four, kind of boring dudes, but we get along, we’re goofy, we love each other — we love everybody we meet unless they’re shitty.

Ben: And we’re trying to be very real. Real and genuine, no fancy stuff.

Alex: Yeah, and if you like that sort of thing, then you should listen to our music.

Ben: No gimmicks…

Alex: Except we do have one gimmick.

Asher: Yeah, we’ve got a couple of gimmicks.

What are the gimmicks?

Alex: We sing about breakfast sometimes, that’s like the main gimmick. It’s a big gimmick though, and it’s like very obviously a gimmick.

Are we going to see that this weekend?

Alex: Absolutely. Probably for like 35 minutes of our 45 minute set, we’ll be doing some breakfast stuff.

Alright, I’ll be on the lookout for that then!  So like I said earlier, there are a lot of aspiring musicians at Belmont, do you have any advice for them?

Alex: Easy, but just keep doing it.

Rodrigo: Try to be artistically ambitious, but have low expectations.

Asher: Don’t do what other people tell you to do too much as far as creative stuff, just do what you’re going to do.

Alex: Yeah, I think it’s being persistent.

Asher: Even if it’s not super commercially viable or doesn’t seem that way, you know.

Rodrigo: Yeah, and I do think audiences are smarter than a lot of people give them credit for. I think an audience can tell when someone’s being honest about an idea or an expression. So that stuff, people pick up on it, and that’s what people remember you by.

That’s awesome. Do you have any Nashville shows coming up?

Ben: We have one.

Alex: We have one on July 4 downtown, but we’re probably only going to play pop punk songs. So we’re just going to do a cover set, or maybe a real set. We don’t know yet.

Who else is it with?

Ben: Nordista Freeze and Briston Maroney. It’s gonna be a goofy little time.

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