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Screaming Feedback Dark Fuzz goes Pop

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Paul Andrew gets an exclusive peek into pop fuzz with front woman, musician and songwriter Romana Ashton from The Sunday Reeds about their new EP, Dark Rainbows and the story behind the band name.

Who are the The Sunday Reeds?
The Sunday Reeds were formed by myself (vocals, bass) and Drew Jones (the guitarist for the band) in 2008. We spent a lot of time songwriting and eventually hooked up with UK indie label Squirrel Records who released our first album Drowning in History in 2009. We got Andy Dawson on board to play drums at live gigs after we released the first album. Essentially though, we are a duo.

The Sunday Reeds, your band name is a nod to those patrons of 1930’s modernist painters known as the Heide Circle.
I first heard about Sunday Reed when I was studying for my PhD. I came across the book Australian Gothic by Janine Burke as I was studying the Gothic in Australian culture. The book talked about Albert Tucker’s art but also explored the Heide circle too. I thought the name Sunday Reed was very poetic and it reminded me of going to church and also oddly of Ophelia being dragged down by the reeds in Hamlet. I decided it would make a great band name.

What inspires you about the visionary art patrons John and Sunday Reed?
I admire John and Sunday Reed’s passion for Australian art, their fostering and support of Australian artists. I love going to Heide too, walking around and thinking about the lives that they led. Sunday Reed intrigues me, the love triangle that Sunday had with Sidney Nolan and John Reed interests me no end. There are just so many great bohemian stories surrounding Heide and the circle of people that frequented it.

Dark Rainbows is an evocative EP title. Is there a story behind this?
The title of the EP actually came from a song called Scent and Shadow that we wrote a while ago, but isn’t on the EP. I like the phrase ‘Dark Rainbows’ and I’d had it in mind for an album title or EP title for a while. I think that it sums up The Sunday Reeds sound. It sounds quite poppy but the lyrics and feeling conveyed come from a much darker place. 

Is this a concept EP? 

Not exactly….but there is always some kind of structure to our work. Once we decide on what tracks we think work together best everything starts to take shape. The songs on the EP tell separate stories but convey similar feelings of melancholy and self-loathing. Some of it is personal experience and some of it is fiction. Although, it is hard to tell sometimes where one stops and the other begins.

Dark fuzz pop- tell me about your band’s key influences?
I’d say a fair amount of alternative ’80s bands and ’90s bands, although a bit of everything gets in there. Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Ramones, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, The B52’s, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Pixies. Recently I’ve been listening to Iggy Pop and The Beach Boys. I’m not too interested in a lot of what I hear on radio stations like Triple J lately. It’s a little too twee and lacks substance. Too many rich kids still living with their parents.

You toured the UK in 2010- what was the performance highlight of the tour?
We played a great gig at a place called The Hope in Brighton with two other bands, Still Corners and Candy Panic Attack. The show was listed as NME’s gig of the week. It was really great to played to a packed room and have people paying so much attention to us. We got a lot of really positive feedback from people and it was the first time I felt really confident about performing.

Release date for Dark Rainbows 21 February through Squirrel Records (UK). Available directly from www.thesundayreeds.com
EP launch for Dark Rainbows April 3 at Pony


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