Hailing from Silverlake, CA, Silversun Pickups, made up of Brian Aubert (guitar/ lead vocals), Nikki Monninger (bass), Joe Lester (keyboards) and Christopher Guanlao (drums) is among the most dynamic and creative rock bands of the modern era, and are hailed far and wide for their inimitable merging of ethereal melodies and pure sonic force.
From the indie rock opening salvo of 2005’s Pikul EP to 2015’s far-reaching Better Nature, each successive release has seen the band boldly venture into uncharted terrain, bravely pushing their imagination and ability towards new and surprising summits. Silversun Pickups’s debut album, Carnavas, which Rolling Stone said shows “all that’s possible when the California sun shines on indie-rock shoegazers,” was recently certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The band earned the distinction with half a million certified units sold.
The band’s most recent release, Better Nature, is a revelatory manifestation of a great band entirely in touch with the muse and each other. The album found the band once again partnering with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, Two Door Cinema Club, Crystal Castles), with whom they successfully collaborated on 2012’s visionary Neck Of The Woods. Aubert began writing songs for the album upon Silversun Pickups’ return to California after nearly two years on the road. He prepared for the new album by recording a series of extremely stripped down demos with keyboardist Joe Lester in the band’s rehearsal room, mostly wordless, others just hints of melody and sound. Silversun Pickups took those “raw bones” and “used the studio to be creative,” Aubert says, “to be improvisational. To not be too locked down.” With only the barest hint of a blueprint, the band relied on their already in-sync interactivity in order to write something fully attributable to all members.
The band maintained a similarly Zen approach to the recording sessions themselves. They had heretofore rehearsed new songs to perfection before getting near the studio, allaying their own jitters by locking everything into muscle memory before the record button was pushed. This time, that sort of safety net was off the table. “There’s a sound that we have that only happens when the four of us get together,” Aubert says. “We can push further and further and further because we know that at the end of the day, that’s not going to change. It’s going to be me and it’s going to be them. There’s a certain thing that’s immovable whether we like it or not.” Where Neck Of The Woods was “purposely nostalgic,” Better Nature was designed as a snapshot of Silversun Pickups smack dab at this particular moment in time. Silversun Pickups are currently in the studio with producer Butch Vig, working on the follow up to their fourth studio album, Better Nature, which will be released via the band’s own New Machine Recordings.
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