Sonny Smith counts Siberia on his gig bucket list, but for now he’s got a date with The Sunsets in Brisbane.
San Franciscans Sonny & The Sunsets embody all that is laidback and irreverent about California. Although Sonny doesn't necessarily agree with it.
“I feel like it never had anything to do with me. I don't hang around Haight St or anything or have anything to do with that culture. People might wonder about me in connection to San Francisco, it's not exactly as romantic as people think.”
Sonny says growing up in California might position him too much on the inside to appreciate the culture. “The whole California sound, I don't deny that it's there and all that stuff,” he admits.
Very much involved with the closeknit San Fran scene, Sonny is a songwriter, novelist, comic book artist, filmmaker and everything in between. Add multi-instrumentalists such as Tahlia Harbour (the Dry Spells) and you've got an interesting mix of talent.
“I think ultimately it's better for everybody to be having lots of creative experiences. I'm supportive as much as possible until they have to miss a gig. Then I get bummed out. I say, 'Please, please I don't care if you're making a major motion picture, please remember your priorities'.”
Delving into so many creative endeavours can sometimes wear thin, Sonny admits.
“I mean hopefully it doesn’t last too long but sometimes I have a week or two where I feel overwhelmed. You have creative questioning and doubts. All the things that everybody goes through, and then hopefully the down times don't last too long but sometimes they can.”
The Sunsets’ latest offering, 'Antenna To The Afterworld', was released in June and explores dark themes juxtaposed with the band's trademark playful, retro feel.
“I often write dark or very sardonic or grim lyrics and marry them to major key music. It was always an interest of mine. It's just another chapter in that direction.”
Sonny & The Sunsets will play California Design Up Late at the Queensland Art Gallery Friday November 22.