Suckers craft a larger-than-life sound that draws on inspirations from different cultures and lifestyles. The Brooklyn band's catchy and dance-tastic tunes avoid the overbearing glitch and noise most indie pop bands drown in. Coming off of the release of their debut full-length album, Wild Smile, they are embarking on a North American tour with Menomena, and then hitting Europe with Yeasayer. I caught up with guitarist and vocalist Austin Fisher to chat about the album, tour, and baboons.
The Pitch: How did Suckers originate?
Austin Fisher: We formed over time, slowly. Quinn and I are cousins and we grew up down the street from each other. We both moved to New York around the same time and were interested in playing music, but didn't have a clear vision for a while. We met Pan, the bass player, and played as a three-piece, all sharing percussion duties -- we liked to say we were three one-man bands. But we started to feel the limitations of that, and so we added Brian, a Connecticut native like the rest of us. We have a much more dynamic sound than we did when we first started, and decided that we wanted to start taking it more seriously. We had our friend, Anand Wilder (of Yeasayer), produce an EP for us.
How would you describe the sound you guys are striving for?
Hmm...I guess I would call it extra-terrestrial pop music.
Your latest album, Wild Smile, is full of various styles and sounds--from African tribal beats to glitch dance to group sing-a-longs. Where do you draw these influences from, and how do you guys manage to merge them together into one cohesive project without getting sloppy?
For us a lot of the time it's about negation, and instead of listening to a record and being like "Oh, I wanna make a sound like that," we try to steer away from sounding like anything we've heard or done before. The end result is that we do tend to have a variety of sounds on the album. Of course, escaping influence is ultimately impossible, but we do our best to try to make our own sounds and make each song have its own identity.
Any reason for the baboon on the album cover?
Not really. It was an image I had found a few years ago and kept in a pile of visual source material. It seemed to go well with the Wild Smile album title.
How was working with Chris Zane (of Passion Pit and Walkmen) on the album?
It was great. Chris is fantastic and we had a lot of fun. We were really looking to have a tighter, more defined sound on this album than we did on our EP. Chris really brings a pop sound and slicker production to the table that's unique for indie pop groups. We liked the pop sheen he achieved with Passion Pit, and that's what we were looking for. The only thing we really talked about when we first met with him was that we wanted it to sound big. And he did that, especially with the drums. He made the drums sound huge.
Tell me about your upcoming tour with Menomena and Yeasayer. Is it the largest tour you've been on?
Menomena we've never met, and we're really looking forward to touring with them and seeing how they do what they do. And Yeasayer we've been wanting to go on tour with for a long time because they're really good friends of ours, and the European tour seemed like a good opportunity and fit for both of us. Normally, you go on tour with bands you don't know very well, and you get to know them over the course of the tour, but the Yearsayer tour will have a different dynamic that we're excited for. This will be our first time in Europe, and it's the biggest tour through North America in terms of venue size. The last tour we went on was with Local Natives, and it was great because they were just starting to explode on the scene and all the venues were getting sold out. We didn't get to play in Lawrence on that tour, but we stopped through for a day just to check it out.
Switching gears a little bit, how was working on the movie Wah Do Dem with Sean Bones, MGMT, and Yeasayer?
Our friend Sam Fleischner (co-director with Ben Chace) asked us if we wanted to participate and it sounded like fun. We didn't know much about the movie, but we spent one early morning in a Brooklyn bar lip-syncing our song over and over while people pretended to be excited about it and ate some bagels and stuff like that. We were happy to help Sam out, and we're excited that the film has been getting some notoriety. Sam's been a good friend to a lot of us, including Yeasayer and other Brooklyn bands. The movie debuted in New York on the same night we had our album release show, so we all had a big joint after party. Sean Bones, the star of Wah Do Dem -- his band actually opened for our album release show as well, so that movie project is kind of like one big family effort.
What can the Lawrence audience expect from your upcoming show?
Maybe it's better to keep it a surprise and fresh...I think our album is really well produced and slick, and we're a lot more raw live. It's loud and bombastic. We have a lot of friends here in New York who went to school in Lawrence, and they talk about it all the time, so we're just excited to finally get there. I've been hearing about it for six or seven years now.
Suckers come to Lawrence on Saturday, September 4, at the Jackpot Saloon.