SUN SILO: Different Images and Associations

Sun Silo

Wisconsin-based progressive/psych rockers Sun Silo have returned back in May with the release of their new full-length outing. Entitled “Trillium,” the nine-tracker is full of extraordinary and hummable hooks. Following the group’s appearance on the Progotronics 38 compilation, the band sat down to answer our question about the new release, its message, and more.

Describe the musical frameworks “Trillium” explores.

A key feature throughout all of the music on “Trillium” is mood. Each song seems to have its own flavor and identity that conjures up different images and associations. A song like “To Heart” for example, has a piano tone and chord structure that reminds me of slow burning bar environments, whereas “Last Wednesday” feels like staring at a night sky and feeling the vastness of life. “Trillium” is a varied album which calls upon a variety of styles and motifs, but it still manages to feel cohesive.

Sun Silo - Trillium

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and lessons learned during the creative process for “Trillium”?

I think avoiding burnout, and staying confident and hopeful in the midst of working is always a challenge for any creative involved in a long term project. However with this group especially, because we do all of the writing, recording, mixing, mastering, artwork, and releasing ourselves, we have to be conscientious of this and know when to say when. Over the course of making this album there were several moments where every member of the band would come forth with encouraging feedback and motivation. That made it possible to bring this album to fruition.

Is there a message you try to convey with “Trillium”?

I don’t think there’s a specific message that we tried to convey. Although there is a specific aesthetic and overall feeling I wanted the album to deliver. I wanted the sound of the songs and the feelings that may arise, to be both intriguing and mysterious. I find all things in nature to be this way and that’s incredibly inspiring to me. I wanted it to sound the way dead tree limbs look against a gray sky. Amongst other things.

To someone who hasn’t heard the album, what can he or she expect from it?

I think they can expect to be surprised. If you give it the time and listen all the way through in one sitting I suspect you would find that it doesn’t repeat itself often. I also think there’s a notable attention to dynamics and movement.

How has your perspective on the possibilities of song arrangement expanded over the years?

I’d like to think I’ve always been pretty open minded in terms of what a song can be and do. I’ve grown up loving ambient music, experimental music, soundscapes, as well as pop music, and rock n roll music. The work I’ve done so far as either dabbled with some of those styles, or really committed to others. As far as the development of my goals as a writer, I’ve become increasingly more driven to write hypnotic, repetitious music. I’m really in love with music that uses deliberate, minimal layers to create a piece of music that revolves almost in a cyclical nature. There are touches of this on “Trillium” but the newest material we have written has gone even further in this direction.

Sun Silo live

What types of change do you feel this music can initiate?

I hope that this music can initiate change in our own lives as well as the lives of those who listen. I’d like this music to grow to a level that allows us to perform it all over the world and create a community of people who enjoy interacting with music the way we do. I’d like for the performances to become experiences that people want to relive. I’d like for the records to become a part of people’s lives. I hope this music also inspires others to be present in their own lives, and to see what a gift creativity is.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

There are definitely patterns in my writing. Some I’m proud of and others I work to keep at bay. I think a positive one is the use of dynamics. Most of the songs we’ve written have some point within them where things bloom and expand, or do the opposite and contract. I almost never write with any set parameters or structures. I don’t like to demand anything from the music. I try to find an idea and help it come to be what it’s meant to be.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Visual Art and Cinema are extremely inspiring to us individually and as a band. One thing I really cherish about this lineup is that we can use these mediums to communicate musical ideas. We also share a lot amongst ourselves and get excited about a lot of different types of art and films. We spend a good amount of our time talking about ideas and things we’ve found that inspire us. I think this serves the music well and the overall output of the band. Our visual presence as a band is equally important to us as the music itself. We refer to art and film a lot to find the best ways to marry the music to images.

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

One of the few things I feel confident in imparting is that the work is “the good food” so to speak. We can often get distracted by all the peripheral aspects that surround being a musician, but ultimately if you aren’t excited by your work, or challenged by your work, or motivated by it, then your longevity is in jeopardy. Having faith in the process and enjoying the “doing” is the best way to ensure you will stay productive, and make interesting, sincere, work. I like to believe that translates to the people who interact with your music as well.

Check out “Trillium” on Bandcamp here. Follow Sun Silo on Facebook and Instagram.

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