In the middle of uncertainty, with much of the future still in question, Sunflower Bean began making what would become their new album.
But at the time, that was hardly the goal. As they eventually fleshed out what evolved into Headful of Sugar, they rediscovered the excitement of the early days of the band and they seemed to find themselves all over again, according to bassist-singer Julia Cumming.
"I think we all have a renewed appreciation and love for just being on tour and playing again, making music again," says drummer Olive Faber, adding: "We have a new perspective for it all," noting the four years in between this latest record and 2018's Twentytwo in Blue.
Adds Cumming: "We really figured, nothing is promised. Let's take the biggest risks. Let's give it everything. We've never fit into anyone's idea of us anyway."
According to guitarist-singer Nick Kivlen, one of the great things about making this record was simply the freedom of the process itself. Sharing a similar sentiment as his bandmates, Kivlen says not thinking about the career element of it all was a liberating experience.
"When we were working on this record, there was never a thought about it even coming out," says Kivlen. "We were like, 'Who knows what's gonna happen with the world, this music might never come out at all.' So it was more for just the joy of being together and recording in our home studio."
The band says making a record without real expectations, and especially without a sense of a timeline or the urgency of a more familiar album cycle, gave the trio a renewed energy, bringing them somewhat full-circle to a place that felt like the beginning, yet with the wisdom of a band who's certainly had a rollercoaster few years.
"It definitely felt like a new era when we started working on this record, just in terms of us being older and home recording," recalls Kivlen. "But we were allowed to just like make whatever we wanted to make and not have, like a budget, and not have to be worried about recording time. And especially with the pandemic, we didn't have to worry about recording time because it's just indefinite. Do whatever you want."
Ultimately, the joy of being back has overwhelmed Sunflower Bean, a band which seemed destined for big success pre-Covid. Now, it's just the simple things.
"Like a lot of bands, we're just glad to be here," says Cumming. "You can make plans, but we're taking it day-by-day. I think the industry is really in a new place, and it's exciting to get our music back out there, see old faces, new faces—trying to get a version back of the way we used to do it."
While the band is wrapping their spring tour this month, Kivlen says the group would like to eventually team up with perhaps a pair of similar, "young rock bands" touring across North America. Says Cumming: "That's the dream."■