SugarBad has a fresh record they’re ready to share with the masses titled Up in the Clouds – work we couldn’t wait to ask about. The band described the effort to us, saying “Fans can expect to be surprised! Surprised that our old-school style of music actually sounds fresh, fun and new instead of old and boring. The title Up in the Clouds is the title to our secret weapon track. This song kills at every show so what better way than to label our album after our secret weapon!” If you’re up in the Big Apple, you shouldn’t waste any time in getting to a show – check out http://sugarbadmusic.com/ for the schedule and give Up in the Clouds a listen. There’s still so much more to get into, so read on for all the answers to the XXQs below.
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over others in your genre?
SugarBad (SB): SugarBad is a soul band. We started playing James Brown covers at late night sets downtown, and that energy has followed wherever the music has taken us. What sets us apart from all of the other bands in our genre is that we assimilate all different types of music into our sound. For example, we can SHRED! And you think ‘wow, where did all that Jimi Hendrix come from?’ But you know we are still holding it down with a Sly Stone beat. And then bam, out of nowhere comes Lisa and she sounds like Tina Turner one minute and then Chakka Khan the next and then she takes us to church with some gospel styling. We also have horns which is a special thing nowadays and you can hear all the years of jazz history coming out in our horn section. We’ve listened and studied and it’s so natural for us now to be able to dig in and draw from all the music that came before us. What a great time it is to live in – we have so much to listen to and it’s all easily accessible!
PEV: What kind of music were you all into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
SB: Nick studied classical piano as a kid and used to play in the living room in front of the fellow students. It was called “playing class” and you would basically be practicing playing for an audience. Really a great idea for a studio of young musicians! Lisa started out in musical theatre and some of her first performances were in that style. I think a lot of us listened to pop music when we were in middle school and high school. It was only later that we realized that all of the stuff we heard on the radio was influenced so much by James Brown, Sly, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix. For instance, a lot of the rap you hear on the radio has James Brown samples in it. So really anyone that grew up listening to the radio after 1980 has been listening to these artists their whole life whether they know it or not.
SB: Breaking into the music scene is easy; it’s breaking out that takes work! We didn’t all grow up in New York City, but the band did and so that is our hometown. What do they say – if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere?
The first time we played with Lisa, we didn’t have any rehearsal time; we just sent her a list of covers to have prepared and did a shot at the bar before we walked on stage. I swear, when Lisa started singing, it was like the whole club caught on fire and we all knew that this band was a true force of nature.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live SugarBad show?
SB: You’ll leave wanting more! A SugarBad show will hit you on the head and knock you off your feet before you can even realize what’s happened. It’s a very surreal experience – it’s very hard to describe. By the time you get back up, we’ll be gone and (hopefully) you’ll be wondering when the next performance is.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
SB: I wonder what it feels like to be in the audience. I’m up here on stage looking at all you guys and you are all in the audience looking back at us. Being onstage and being in the audience can be like different universes sometimes. Both the band and the audience have to bridge that gap and understand each other in order to make things happen. Once we make that connection, then there really isn’t any more thinking to do – it’s just music after that.
PEV: How has playing in SugarBad been different from working with other artists or projects in the past?
SB: SugarBad is ours. It’s always fun to sleep over at someone else’s house, but you never really feel right until you’re back at home.
PEV: What is the underlying inspiration for your music? Where do you get your best ideas for songs?
SB: The best song ideas happen when they have to happen. One time I was walking home from work and Lisa texted me that she wanted me to write a ballad (at the time, we only had faster tunes). A block and a half later the song was written.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
SB: Of course! It’s nice to reflect on where we all came from, how we got to NYC and how it helps us play the way we play.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of SugarBad?
PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, Up In The Clouds? What is the story behind the title?
SB: Fans can expect to be surprised! Surprised that our old-school style of music actually sounds fresh, fun and new instead of old and boring. The title Up In The Clouds is the title to our secret weapon track. This song kills at every show so what better way than to label our album after our secret weapon!
PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song or album is complete and you can sit back and listen to it in full?
SB: Happiness. Relief. Thankful. Humble.
PEV: What would you say is the biggest challenge for musicians trying to make a name for themselves these days?
SB: Social media. People want to pretend like we are in the old days but face it! You gotta understand social media if you want people to know your band.
PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play in your hometown?
SB: All our friends and family are very supportive. Which is nice! We are very lucky. Our hometown is Brooklyn so it’s been pretty killer playing here!
PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
SB: Nick is a fantastic chef! He’s always cooking up something for you when you come by his place. Lisa and Aaron like to ride their bikes. Franky is always working on hip hop beats at his studio and Dave likes to work out at the gym.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?
SB: James Brown. Stevie Wonder. Because they are the reason we write music.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
SB: Yes, you should all be looking out for SugarBad!
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what do you think each of you would be doing for a career?
SB: Nick would be a competitive chef. Aaron would probably win the Tour de France. Frank had aspirations to be an astronaut when he was younger. Lisa, I could see running her own designer clothing label – she has excellent taste! Isaac could be a marathon runner and I could see Dave cultivating the most amazing and beautiful Zen garden at a monastery somewhere.
PEV: So, what is next for SugarBad?
SB: We are releasing a recording and we also have some new songs in the pipeline. There will be some Feb and March touring so look for us in a city near you!
For more information, click to http://sugarbadmusic.com/.