There’s something eerie yet beautiful about “Animals” from Sun Q. Haunting vocals, intriguing instrumentation and a huge sound that hits you like a wall of bricks– I was in love upon first listen. Of course, I was intrigued by the usage of the traditional Swedish folk instrument nyckelharpa and loved the vibe that this element gave to the track but, seriously, as a whole, this song is just one of those great listens that will somehow get stuck in your head even though there really isn’t an ear-worm type moment. That may sound like a dig, but it’s not. “Animals” is truly mesmerizing and I jumped on the opportunity to ask founding members Helen and Ivan some questions about everything and anything.
How would you describe your music to your parents?
Helen – Everything became clear to them from the moment they heard and saw it live.
Ivan – If you need to describe your music, probably, it is a bad music.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
H. – Each one is remarkable in its own way. The Rival Sons were awesome, and also the Morcheeba. Beth Hart’s performance was very strong. It left a strong mark in my heart.
I. – It was my first big rock show – The Scorpions in Moscow. I was a child, and the experience of the concert affected me very much. The sound was terrible, by the way.
What’s your favorite sport to watch on TV?
H. – Sports is something very far away for me.
I. – Unfortunately, cyber sports are not on TV.
What are your favorite toppings on a pizza?
I. – Jalapeño
H. – Lots of cheese.
If you could have dinner with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I. – It would be David Bowie, because, well… because he is David Bowie.
H. – Perhaps idols should remain unreachable, and there is no need to have dinner or breakfast with them, because the image at the table and the image on stage are different things.
Have you ever been able to finish a Rubik’s Cube?
H. – Only one side.
Favorite lyrics of all time?
H. – The first lines that came to mind for some reason are from a song of Robert Plant:
“… I carry fire for you
Here in my naked hands
I bare my heart to you
If you will understand…”
This sacrifice and vulnerability is very touching.
What’s the worst concert you’ve ever been to and why?
H. – I once went to a concert in very uncomfortable shoes, and besides, it was too long. In the end, I just wanted to lie on the floor and cry. That’s how everyday things kill the high vibe.
I. – I was once at a concert at some club in an old factory, and a girl in the audience got hit by a giant pin in the floor. They took her away in an ambulance. You asked me to tell you about the worst concert for me, and apparently it was the worst concert for her…
What’s your favorite method of listening to music?
H. – With headphones on the train.
I. – The same.
If you were to rob a bank, what would be the song playing in the getaway car as you escape?
H. – It will be some soundtrack from Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” maybe.
I. – “Die by the drop” by Dead Weather.
What’s one thing I should know before listening to “Animals”?
H. – It’s not about animals.
I. – I would say “just listen”.
What came first– the lyrics or the instrumentation for “Animals”?
H. – The lyrics were first.
There’s something almost orchestral about some of this song and I’m not talking about just the strings– I’m talking the whole track– do you have a classical background by chance?
H. – No, not really.
I. – My parents put on classical music for me when I was a kid, and I attend symphonic concerts of avant-garde music of the 20th century from time to time.
You mentioned that “Animals” “explores the concept of spirit guides who help you through difficult times and keep you safe in every way.”– Do you know who your spirit guide is?
H. – There’s a whole support group there to be honest. But it is quite shy to be called.
I. – My spirit guide is the guy from “Where the Wild Things Are”.
I honestly had to look up what a nyckelharpa was after you mentioned that it is used in this song. Did you learn that instrument specifically for this song?
H. – The nyckelharpa part was recorded for us by the wonderful musician Asya Sorshneva. It is a very difficult and rare instrument, and it was a real quest to find someone who could play it. But we like how it adds some kind of medieval vibe to the song.
I. – I dream of learning to play it.
I absolutely love the mystical feeling here and I know this song is just the first track from an upcoming album– can we expect more of this vibe from other songs on the album?
I. – We try to have more mysticism in our songs, it’s important to remember that besides the physical world there is also the metaphysical, invisible and magical. It’s especially meaningful now, when life is hard for a lot of people.
H. – Thank you! It’s actually the second single from the album, before that we also released a song called “Dionysus” – it’s even closer to stoner rock. As for the mystical vibe – yes, there will be a lot of that feeling on the album. In general, we try to refract all creativity through a prism of magical realism to turn out something enchanting and maybe even otherworldly. This essence is manifested in our choice of instruments, in the lyrics, composition…
Speaking of the album– when can we expect to be able to check out all of ‘Myth’ (the album)?
H. – We plan to release the album in late summer/early fall. But before that there will be another (third) single.
Much like the music of Sun Q, there’s a sense of tenderness behind all of the answers I got from Helen and Ivan but also an unwavering sense of passion. Although I loved getting to know the answers to all of these questions, it was the question about the mystical feeling of “Animals” that really got me. Just reading Helen’s response about how well-thought out every element to Sun Q’s music is was really eye-opening and beautiful.
Much like Ivan said when I asked if there was anything else we should know about “Animals” before listening to it, I highly urge you to just listen to the magic of this track and let it take over your body, mind, and soul.
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Check out my playlist with this track and a bunch of other amazing tracks HERE!
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