Sunshine Brothers Inc. is comprised of Jake Weissman, John DiSabito, Charles Vadala and Niall McCarthy — four friend-boys who met at and attend the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. On the first day of college Jake and Charles serendipitously met and played music together in the basement of their dorm building, but it wasn’t until about a year later that they would come together with John Disabito and Niall McCarthy, two students who were befriended in various music classes, to form Sunshine Brothers Inc. around some demos Weissman had recorded both in his dorm and as a younger teenager in his grandmother’s attic.
The sunshine brothers are set apart by their youth, barely in their twenties, and their roots in the prolific Western Massachusetts DIY scene. Born out of a basement show culture endemic to Amherst for decades (the same scene which birthed groups like the Pixies and Speedy Ortiz), the band has, until recently, developed largely underground in a community of young people that are driven by anti-corporate ideals that lead to highly independent creative musings. Some of the Sunshine Brothers’ most popular songs have been produced and promoted entirely in Weissman’s bedroom with only the help of his friends, which allows for the music to be transmitted to the world without sacrificing the mystery and charm of the Pioneer Valley.
While shrouded in a culture of collectivity, from house parties to classrooms, Sunshine Brothers Inc. take a more personal stance in their music. Warmed with surf-laden guitars and bright synth pads, their songs typically paint a picture of summertime, telling stories of personal relationships both real and fictional. Though nostalgic of many psych-pop moments over the last fifty years, the sound is novel in arrangement and texture. The songwriting, done by Weissman, is influenced most heavily by psych-pop stars new and old, such as The Beach Boys, Makeout Videotape, David Bowie, Sean Nicholas Savage and Ariel Pink. There is a high energy feeling in both their studio recordings and live performances that give life to Weissman’s songs.
ABOUT THE TRACK:
The track at hand, “So Bad (To Me), is the second single off of our follow-up EP. In July the song was awarded “Best Original Song” in the Pioneer Valley at the Valley Music Showcase, which highlights select bands from Vermont to Connecticut. It is an energetic track with psych-tendencies, written by Jake last year. “The song is longer for a pop track, but I didn’t really feel that any parts were dispensable,” Jake explains. “I wrote the music first and quickly multi-tracked a demo of the song myself last Spring to show the band. It’s inspired by a lot of different music; the drums sort of chug along like a Beach Boys or Rolling Stones track, that main guitar riff is reminiscent of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “II”, the chords throughout sort of have those sad but uplifting feelings you might hear in a track by The Cure or Bane’s World. Sometimes when I hear it I feel like parts of it sound like psychedelic Springsteen.”
“The lyrics are personal, telling a careless love-story, highlighting the push and pull of affection for someone that seems to come and go on a whim. To be frank, it’s about a girl I don’t really speak to anymore, and the bit of time we spent together. The chorus “don’t be so bad to me” is meant to be sort of playful, rather than a plea to someone hurting you in some way.”
“The track was officially recorded at Big Nice Studios in Rhode Island, with a bunch of other songs over a couple of days. We did them all as a live band. I did some synth overdubs after, which were meant to sound sort of like electric, psychedelic steel drums. It was mixed by myself and Brad Krieger of Big Nice Studios.”
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