THE RECOMMENDER: The Vaccines’ Arni Arnason on Sunflower Bean

04 Feb 2016

The Vaccines' bassist on why Sunflower Bean are "the most head-turning band of the year"


The Recommender is a new regular RFB feature where we get established musical hotshots to tip their favourite new acts: an internet-based passing on of the baton, if you will.

First up is The Vaccines' bassist Arni Arnason on stupidly exciting New York trio Sunflower Bean. You'll probably know that The Vaccines have racked up a Number One album, a headline show at The O2 Arena and have been tickling the top spots at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and the like for years now. You might not know that Arni also recorded Hinds' first demos back when they were a bunch of young guns called Deers who'd never been to the UK before. Basically, he knows his stuff: lovers of good ol' visceral rock'n'roll, pay attention...



“I first saw Sunflower Bean at The Great Escape last year. That weekend they were a runaway success; it felt like everybody was there to see them. Then we offered them a slot on our most recent UK tour - partly down to the fact that a Vaccines and Palma Violets bill is pretty male-heavy and we wanted a slightly different vibe – but also, obviously, because they're a fantastic band.

When you see somebody play over and over again during the course of two weeks it's quite educational because you start learning their set and seeing them grow into themselves. It doesn't matter where you are or how long you've been doing it, everybody takes a while to settle in. By the end of it they were a massively commanding, loud, full on, authentic rock'n'roll band.

The reason my ears pricked up when I started listening to Sunflower Bean was because they're big and bold. They're playing super simple, overdone riffs but with enough balls to make them feel like they're vital and that's the key to any music that I like. It's really bold and almost slightly offensive, like they shouldn't be able to get away with it. I'm a big fan of Nick [Kivlen, guitar], too. He's a very inventive and esoteric guitarist, but in a quite subtle way so unless you're really paying attention to it you might not realise. And Julia is an amazing frontwoman of course.

I haven't heard the whole of [debut LP] 'Human Ceremony' yet, but I was really surprised by the title track because it's really, really different. It's so much softer which is really interesting because I'm sure they played some of this music on the road with us - they must have done, but it felt way less introvert and way more loud and in your face live.

So far I think Sunflower Bean have been the most head-turning band of the year, easily.”


Sunflower Bean play The Dome on Feb 18, with support from Oscar and Fish. Get tickets HERE.



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