Detroit’s Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor break with the traditional blue-collar grit of Detroit’s musical history to offer a socially-conscious mindset not unlike the city’s historical musical message, but quite unlike the Motor City’s traditional musical ambiance.
Try to imagine the energy of the MC5 with the attitude of the Velvet Underground. But drunker and in outer space.
The easiest way to describe Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s sound is to put them in the lot with the resurgence in neo-psychedelic music, or at least classifying it thereof. The addition of a new drummer and a name change (they were previously the Sik Sik Nation) has allowed the bass to drive on slower, crunchier and more forceful while the guitar and vocals swirl and writhe around them in the typical psych tradition.
But there is a tension inherent in the music of Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s atmosphere that isn’t present in a lot of other neo-psych bands that tend to drone on and on with a single riff or two like a cheapened Hawkwind.
Try to imagine the tension in the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” But louder and in outer space.
Smile Politely had the chance to catch up with some of the guys from Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor to catch up our readers on their history and get their point of view on psychedelia, Detroit and beyond.
Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor tackle Mike N Molly’s Friday night along with locals the Curses and Arkansas Dogjaw. Doors are at 10 p.m. and the cover is $5.
Smile Politely: Can you give our readers a quick run down of how Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor came together and what you’re up to currently?
Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor (Eric, bass): Sean (vocals/guitar) and I met on a local music forum in the summer of 2005. Sean and I started jamming with various drummers and writing songs together. We met Rick (drums) at a local venue in Ann Arbor. Sean approached him because he said that “he had cool hair and looked like he played drums, and sure enough he did.” The three of us downed a few Old Styles together, and Rick joined the band the next afternoon. We most recently built a studio to record our new self titled LP. We are now promoting the record with a string of Midwest and Eastcost tours through the winter and spring.
SP: Where does the name come from and what is the Sik Sik Nation?
SoYSV (Eric): SikSik Nation was our original band name. We played together as a band under that name for about three years and released a full length in the summer of 2008. Currently we have taken on a new identity. We really feel that the direction of the project has drastically changed over the last three years. Before Rick became the new drummer, Sean and I played a few small shows under the name SikSik Nation without thought of a new conception. Since everything we do is a 100% collaborative effort, we only felt it fair that we came up with a name we all agreed on. We are still very proud of our old releases and continue to play and sell our first LP and stickers until they run out.
SP: How would you describe your sound to a person who you don’t think will like your music?
SoYSV (Sean): I usually don’t try to explain to those that may not like our music. I simply give them a download card and then wait for them to explain after they have listened to it. If forced to answer I would say that the music has a backbone and groove.
SP: Is there anything your music has been compared to that you don’t particularly agree with?
SoYSV: There have been multiple people that have told us we sound like Stone Temple Pilots. I don’t hear that at all, especially since none of us really listen to them.
SP: A lot of bands these days get thrown into the pile of neo-psychadelic bands. Do you think their is a resurgence in the actual psychadelic side of music (expanding your consciousness, bugging out, etc) or maybe just a new found love for lots of ambient reverb and delay pedals?
SoYSV (Sean): I think that there is a small resurgence in psychedelic music, which in part can be attributed to effects/pedals. Some musicians simply use delay/reverb to texturize their songs and other take those elements mixed and looped with other pedals/obscure instruments to try and create something a bit different. I mean I hear a lot of bands whom use reverb/delay excessively; U2 perhaps? who obviously have no psych sound. I do however think that there are a handful of bands out there that are playing from a psychedelic mindstate.
SP: I have a soft spot in my heart for a lot of Detroit bands like the MC5, Grand Funk, Madonna, Question Mark and the Mysterians, the Stooges, Motown, on and on. Do you think you have a place (or will have a place) in the larger oeuvre of Detroit?
SoYSV (Sean): In all honesty, probably not. Detroit has put a lot of great music on the national map over the years, but it seems to stick to what it knows best- pop/garage bands like you mentioned above still seem to get the most attention today.
SP: Are there any non-musical influences to your sound that one might not expect?
SoYSV: Society? Or lack there of. Living in Michigan is a major influence on us. We are all affected personally by the economic struggle and the racial strife that Michigan continues to deal with. It is impossible for that not to affect your out look on life nor your voice in music. Our original band name was a direct reflection of this.
SP: What are the primary factors/influences/motivations that keep you doing what you’re doing?
SoYSV (Sean): Sanity–I would find myself unstable without music. We love music.
Eric: I’m sure it is true Sean and Rick will be playing and writing music until the day we die. There is a thrist to play that cannont be put into words.
SP: What is the best (or worst) thing happening in music today (either local, national or international)?
SoYSV: Downloading music is the best thing to happen to music. Suddenly every musician has international distribution without having to be at the mercy of anyone. Click on a MySpace banner or turn the radio on–even sirius and college radio seem to be saturated with the same souless, predictable stuff, which in turn forces the underground musical revolution.
SP: Tell us about the worst show you have ever played.
SoYSV (Sean): ..Too drunk to even tune my guitar on stage–bar tender had to do it for me. Eric got hit in the face with an action figure, which in turn he whipped a maraca at the bar taking out an entire rack of wine glasses, and Rick still couldn’t get that drum roll right.
SP: What do you have coming up on the horizon?
SoYSV: Trying to push our own musical limitations as far as we can while still being grounded–giving away as much free music as we can–pressing small runs of vinyl.
SP: What can people expect from your live show that differs from what is available from what is available online?
SoYSV: Lights? Chaos? Action?
SP: Anything else you want to emphasize or get off your chest?
SoYSV: Simply that everything from recording to merch, to record covers, booking is all self sustained by the band