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Q&A | Sun Mahshene

Sun Mahshene talks to the Last Mixed Tape about their latest single 'The Righteous One'

What’s the last song you listened to?

It’s a bit of a mixed bag as you might expect. The last songs listened to by the band are, HAIM – ‘Summer Girl’, Lisa O’Neill – ‘Come Back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff’, Pillow Queens – ‘HowDoILook’, Bitch Falcon – ‘Gas Light’ and Rory Gallagher – ‘Crest of a Wave

What artist or album has gotten you through lockdown the most?

We can’t say there’s one in particular, but it’s been great to see how bands are still engaging with their fans and releasing music. Our album picks would be Paul McCartney – ‘McCartney 3’, Bob Dylan – ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’, Diiv – Deceiver, which is a perfect album from start to finish. You put it on, and it takes you away. There’s a phrase from the track, Skin Game, which reads; “They gave us wings to fly / But then they took away the sky”, kinda poignant right now. It’s a brilliant album for many reasons. Boygenius by Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus a fantastic ep to check out. If beautiful vocal harmonies layered over rich indie folk arrangements is your thing, then this is a must listen!

What’s influencing your music right now?

Necessity. With the restrictions we have had to adjust, like all artists as to how we go about creating. Not that we had a particular settled formula that we adhered to. But during the lockdowns and restrictions we’ve bounced ideas/demo’s back and forth in a way/volume we wouldn’t have done before. It has given us time to step back and really think about where we want to go next sonically. One thing we are trying to do with our new recordings is to include more ambient backings and open the sound up. David Sylvian has played a part in influencing these ideas. He’s a master of creating a dark, moody ambience, and while he started out as an 80s pop star, he took a much more experimental path and got involved in ambient and abstract music. The new material is a lot more open and less saturated with fuzzy guitars but still sounds huge! We’re very excited to get together and jam these ideas out, to give them an organic, tangible entry into the world.

Tell us about your new single, The Righteous One. How was it written and recorded? 

The song was written by frontman Nathan Henderson and recorded in Darklands Audio. We produced it with Daniel Doherty. It’s an observation of the extreme viewpoints that we’ve seen more and more of over the last few years which have resulted in a growing divide in society. The cancel culture phenomenon is a prime example of this. There seems to be a lot of finger pointing by some rather than engaging in education through dialogue.

What do you hope people take away from listening to the song?

That there are still guitar bands out there making noise that can deliver a meaningful message in their music. We would hope it stirs something inside our listeners in much the same way as ourselves, as a group, and compel them to create their own art. For example, the director of the accompanying video, Ste Murray, had access to an early demo of The Righteous One. Without us even asking, he messaged us with a vision and treatment for a music video for the song. It blew our minds. And it’s out there now, alive in the universe. If it inspires a listener to do something creative, then great. We’re very grateful for it all!

The Righteous One by Sun Mahshene is out now.

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