Formed in the H Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., during fall 2013, SUNBATHERS fuses multiple influences blending dark and light imagery, with bright, melodic hooks. In November 2015, the band released their self-titled debut EP, featuring five cathartic songs from vocalist Sean Lynott, guitarists Peter Mindnich and Tim Boaté, drummer Shohsei Oda, and bassist Sean Oliver. With two years under their belts, the band is staking their claim amongst the musical elite of the region.

We spoke with Boaté and Lynott regarding the sonic direction the band is heading, how it feels to release their new album, and how they will be going full circle and beyond in 2016.

At the beginning of November, your band released its self-titled debut EP. Immediately in the first song, “Intimacy,” really hits you in your soul and draws the listener in. Is that what you intended?

Sean: I think that particular song is indicative of where we are heading as a band, and we wanted to set the tone with that. It kind of eases you in, and it is very minimal and reserved at first but then breaks into a big crescendo at the end. We wanted to show that trajectory with our first song, keeping it simple and easy, then building to a big sound.

Do you feel like that crescendo effect was the vibe you were going for on this record?

Sean: I think so to a degree. We took a lot of different approaches to how we wanted to arrange the song order, and we went back and forth all over the place until we landed on this particular set. The first and last song are the two favorites of ours, and they show a nice range of our influences and where we want to be as a band, what we want to sound like. In the middle, we wanted to have our pop-oriented songs as well with songs like “Daisy” and “Glory.” We tried to keep it moving as fluidly as possible. That was the idea.

This EP was recorded at Dreamcatcher Studio in Baltimore by Donny Ingram. How do you feel he captured that vibe that you were going for on this record?

Tim: Donny did a great job recording and producing everything. He was super involved in the whole process from pre-production and fleshing out the ideas all the way through the final touches. It was cool to work with him on each of our different parts and give them new life.

We have been playing these songs for a little while now, and we had a bit of a sense of what we wanted to do going on. But it was nice getting in there a tweaking what we wanted to lay down for our parts. We’re really happy with the end product, and we think he did a great job.

Sean: Donny was very hands on but not in an aggressive way. He really tried to help us make the songs as good as they could possibly be, and it was an intimate experience getting to know him and get his outsider perspective, which is one that we trusted. He was really helpful in bringing new elements and ideas into each song.

One thing I love about your music, which DC Music Download also mentioned, that it is very bright and nostalgic of summer, especially “Summer in the City.” Does any of your music that didn’t make the EP pursue darker sounds or subjects?

Sean: Absolutely, especially with more recent songs. “Summer in the City” was one of the earlier songs we wrote. It was simple, easy, and fun, and it worked for us then. But now, we like to pair darker, more intense imagery with brighter sounding songs, like gothic pop,

For instance, “Glory” deals with a heavier subject matter, but it definitely has a sing-a-long chorus and jazzy chords to pair it with. Our newer stuff has that contrast as well, pairing the darkness with the light, as well as going for a particular sound to match the music with the mood.

Can you tell us about the heavier subject matter that “Glory” deals with?

Sean: It comes from a few places. It deals with the death of a friend, and in general looking at the world and trying to figure out why it can be so harsh sometimes with the regard to the passing of a friend.

Kind of on the other half of the same token, what is “Daisy” about?

Sean: “Daisy” is a funny one. It has a more narrative approach than our other songs, and I think it actually came from a dream about people hanging out in a pastoral scene, just being young and in love, and getting stuck in a “she loves me, she loves me not” mindset. Daisies are what were typically used for that to pick the petals from, and we picked the title because it was inspired by the lyrical themes going on throughout the song.

Your official EP release show is scheduled for December 12 at Velvet Lounge in D.C. Why are you waiting a month for this show, and why did you select the venue?

Tim: As far as the timing, we wanted to give people time to listen to the EP and get familiar with the songs. We will be playing all five tracks, in addition to a few brand new songs that we’ve never played before.

In terms of venue selection, Velvet Lounge was the first legitimate venue we played at in D.C., and we thought it would be cool to cycle back and play the release show there. Hopefully this time we will be playing for more people than we brought out the first time. It’s interesting we get to come full circle with that. We have a lot of friends that live in the D.C. area, and U Street is easily accessible. We thought it would be a good spot to get a lot of our buddies out.

As an indie band in a rapidly growing scene, what do you think helps your band stand out from others trying to make it into a music career rather than just a side job?

Sean: We really just work hard at it. We try to make music as much as a part of our lives as possible. For me, I’m in school at the same time, but the only thing I really care about is writing new songs, gigging out with the guys, and the rush we get from playing shows. We are constantly figuring out ways to make ourselves better musicians and songwriters, and we try to make note of what we see people are doing right and wrong, which helps gives our music a sense of place and purpose in the modern music landscape.

Our ultimate goal is to make music that we like and our proud of, and we hope other people enjoy listening to it as well.

Tim: I think we have a pop sensibility about our sound, while also pulling in from the other influences we really love, and trying to make them as accessible as possible.

Not mentioning any names, what are some things you think certain people are doing wrong that you are trying not to do?

Sean: I don’t think people take advantage of things like constructive criticism. People can get very attached to their songs, but when you are in a band with five people you can bring different ideas and have influences to make the strongest songs, such as bouncing ideas off each other to get to the core of a great song.

A lot of bands do a great job at utilizing social media, and we try to do our best too to build our fan base. Tim has a huge hand in that. He’s been our guru in that market. We really try to put ourselves out there as much as possible and take advantage of the great resources at our fingertips. In this modern world, we can access anyone on Facebook, and having the ability to take advantage of that is huge.

Now that you have released your debut EP, and you are looking forward to your release show, what does your band hope to accomplish in 2016?

Tim: We are looking into some options for releasing a follow-up single to the EP hopefully in the first couple months of 2016, and ideally, we would like to release another EP within the next year or so. We want to be prolific with our music and recorded output.

Moving forward, I also think it will be very important for us to extending our reach playing live shows to some new markets. We’ve been largely focused in D.C., where we started, and we’ve started to branch out to venues in Baltimore like the Ottobar and some other places around town. We’d really like to partner up with some other bands in Philadelphia or Richmond and make our band more of a regional act. I think that will be the next step for us.

For more updates on SUNBATHERS, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Be sure to download their debut EP on Bandcamp or Soundcloud.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.