Q: I love your 80s-inspired sound! Who are your influences? What can you tell us about them?
Paul McCorkle: First off – thank you so much, really glad you enjoyed it!!!
Liz and I are the primary song-writers/producers for these songs, so I think what ended up being the EP is a mix of both of our influences. I love synth heavy British 80’s indie music like Tears for Fears, Echo and the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, New Order etc.
Liz Brooks: ..and I was listening to a lot of MGMT, Angel Olsen and Lana Del Rey at the time at the time – definitely some Bonnie Tyler in there too – so I think a lot of what came out was really kind of blending together as we made this EP.
PM: I would also mention that neither of us really had much experience at all with synthesizers prior to forming this project five years ago, so I think that was also a really big inspiration for us as we continued to write and evolve our music, just having all of these new sounds and textures to play with, explore and unlock.
Q: This is the first EP since your hiatus. How has Sunset Lines‘s sound changed/evolved?
PM: This was definitely a big shift for us. Our lineup changed over the hiatus (new drummer and bass player). In addition, we spent that time slowly building out our practice space to become a full-on recording studio. That allowed us to spend way more time thinking about arrangements, parts and layering different sounds and textures.
For our first EP, we had three days in a studio and had to record everything as quickly as possible, with little ability to add a lot of the subtle little things we did for this EP. Having the space, time and creative freedom to really think about each song and what it represented sonically was a big step forward for us.
LB: Being able to record and experiment without the limitations of a set amount of paid time in a studio made a HUGE difference. So did being left alone to our own devices without feeling like we had to meet or cater to the tastes of other band members. It was a time for us to play around with different, stranger chord progressions, in addition to playing around with new sounds and also just alternative ways of delivering vocal performances other than what we had done before. And the pandemic just gave us even more time to revisit and refine those recorded tracks.
Q: How did the band remain motivated with the EP’s release and creation amidst a global pandemic?
PM: Unfortunately the pandemic definitely put a halt to any momentum we had early last year. Most of us have moved to different locations so the lineup that put out the most recent EP is limited to working remotely.
We were focused for most of the first half of 2020 on finalizing the recording of the EP and then having it mixed by Sean Paulson at Different Fur and mastered by Peerless Mastering and Golden Mastering.
LB: Once the EP was finished, we had a little bit of a creative lull as we were no longer playing with other musicians. In addition we eventually moved to a new city ourselves as well. We used that opportunity though to get into creating visuals for some of our music. We worked with Frank Door from the Good Time Co. to make videos for Unresponsive and Season of the Witch.
Unresponsive was shot in a COVID controlled LA studio back in the fall and Season of the Witch we self shot (which was then edited and finalized by Frank). That’s been a really fun process but we’re definitely ready to get back to making new music!
Q: The EP was home-recorded. Can you tell us about the production process for creating this EP?
PM: We basically had a few years just to really figure out what setup and equipment made the most sense for us and how we wanted to make music. Fortunately we were able to track pretty much all of the rhythm tracks before the pandemic, so we were able to go in and finish a lot of the songs on our own (synth, vocals, guitars etc) once the lockdown hit. The songs had been played extensively prior to COVID so we had a pretty good sense of their structure etc, it was then just an exercise in terms of really getting the overall sound and vibe of the songs to where we were happy with them. It was actually a pretty nice distraction to have things to work on early on in the pandemic!
Q: What can fans expect next from Sunset Lines?
PM: TBD! We’re actually a couple and getting married in a few weeks so pretty much everything has been put on hold while we sort that out. We’re definitely looking to start writing again though soon and partnering with our old bandmates remotely. I think we’ll certainly have a different sound as there’s going to be a lot more drum machines involved in our songs moving forward. We’re excited to start making new music though and hoping we have the opportunity to play it live sometime soon!
LB: Yup! In addition to figuring in what direction the new sound will go, and how we incorporate more drum machines moving forward, we’ll have to also figure out how to transfer that arrangement into a live show which isn’t something that we’ve done before, at least not on a large scale outside of video performances. But we’re not ones to shy away from a challenge!
Interviewed by Sarah Scott