30 Days in LA: Q&A with Sunflower Bean

By Virginia Ibarra
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Brooklyn native band, Sunflower Bean, has only been around since 2013 but their evolution has been a rather exciting one to watch. The band has built a fan base in both the DIY scene as well as the fashion scene, thanks to vocalist/bad-ass bassist Julia Cummings’ modeling gigs for Saint Laurent and the band’s overall dream-rock aesthetic – vocalist/ guitarist Nick Kivlen, reminds us of a young Bob Dylan and drummer Jacob Faber’s 70s vibe is killer. Their debut album, Human Ceremony, traded a bit of the grunginess shown in their EPs for Cummings’ soothing vocals and Nick’s contrasting back-ups, formulating a sound of their own.

The band will be playing at Red Bulls Sound Select 30 days in LA tomorrow (nab tix here!), so in attempts of getting a bit of their coolness to rub off on us, we asked them a few questions below. Get to know the band as we chat about In-N-Out, knowing each other a little too well and their evolution as a band.


1. Describe your first time playing in LA.
The first time we played in LA was at the constellation room, which is actually OC. Super fun show, packed out. We wanted to take a trip out for a little while, and we didn’t have a tour booked or anything. So we basically bought our flights, and then called up every person we knew. We were really lucky, people were very kind and helpful, and we ended up playing like 9 shows in 10 days.

2. Favorite food spot in LA?
Probably In & Out. That sounds cliche, but we’re from the East Coast!!!!

3. What song are you most excited to play at the Roxy for 30 Days in LA, why?
Our favorite song to play right now is the last song in the set, “Space Exploration Disaster,” because there is the most jamming and improvisation. Anything can happen during that song, which makes it exciting.

4. If you could have been a musician in any era, which would you chose and who would you open for?
Nick: Right now, opening for Tame Impala
Jacob: Late 70’s, opening for the Talking Heads
Julia: Early/mid 70’s, opening for T-Rex

5. Tell us how social media has played a role in the growth of Sunflower Bean and what it means to be a DIY band in NYC.
Social media is sometimes annoying, but overall a very useful and entertaining way to stay in touch with the people who like our music. It’s cool that we can speak directly to so many people, and we don’t need anyone’s permission to do that. We have control over our image and our voice, and social media is a big part of that.
NYC still has a great DIY scene, because there are devoted promoters and bands who protect it. Every time a venue closes, another one opens close by. DIY venues and shows have been a huge part of our lives, in our old bands and this band. We wouldn’t have known how to start a band or do anything without DIY.

Seattle Washington tomorrow night at Chop Suey. With @thelemontwigs Photo by @nickdinatale

A photo posted by Sunflower Bean (@sunflowerbean) on

6. How have you evolved as individual members of the band and how has that reflected as a whole?
Of course I’m sure we have developed as individuals…but we have also spent so much time together over the past couple years that it is more clear we have developed as a group. Because of that, we really know each other as musicians and as friends. We can anticipate each other’s moves.
As individuals, we have probably grown up a lot. We feel 100 years old!

7. If you could score a film with your debut album, Human Ceremony, what genre would it be?
Black Comedy.

8. What’s in store for Sunflower Bean in 2017?
We will be focusing on writing our second record this year!

9. Name one thing that you do in LA that you can’t do in NYC?
Get Mexican food at any place and know that it will be good.

10. Share something that your band members might not know about you.
We already know everything about each other!

Check out Sunflower Bean at the Red Bull Sound Select show at the Roxy on 11/2 and on MTV Wonderland on 11/3. RSVP’s are open for the Wonderland taping here with the code SUNFLOWER.

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