January 25, 2016

Sundressed – Sobriety & Tour Life

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On a mild, rainy night in Berkeley, CA, we got a chance to interview the pop-punk outfit Sundressed at 924 Gilman. The venue was covered with layers of stickers and graffiti from an endless amount of bands. This is no exaggeration either. 924 Gilman has earned a reputation as a must-play venue for local bands and anyone passing through. A nifty decibel reader positioned ten feet above the ground floor was a nice addition to a venue that discourages alcoholic beverages in or around the premise. We met up with Trevor (vocals) and Andrew (guitar) of Sundressed at their merch table to get the interview going.

Casual Punk Fan: So tell us a little bit about this tour?

Trevor: It’s been super fun. We haven’t been to the West Coast in almost a year. We wanted to come back out after we did the new EP because we haven’t done the West Coast and we did pretty much everywhere else. We’ve been doing it with Chase Huglin from Indiana. He’s super fun. He’s only 19 and killing it solo. He’s like a stand-up comic between songs in his set.

Andrew: He’s been riding with us and it has been great. Just to have one person different outside of the band has just been awesome. He’s just a great dude.

Trevor: Paper Towns is another Phoenix band that’s on the tour too. It’s surprisingly been getting a lot of draw from each place we’ve played. The new songs seem to be hitting really well.

Andrew: It’s been nice. The last tour we did was like 3 weeks. I think everyone was scared going into that because we’ve all never done that before. Now, it’s like, two weeks up the west coast is going to be fun. So far it’s been that.

So Trevor, you’ve mentioned that you’re an open book about your sobriety; what inspires you to be so comfortable in talking about it?

Trevor: I’d say the main reason I’m so open about it is because you never know who it might help if more people know my story. In my early 20’s I was near dead. I had really nothing left. Somehow, someway I was able to get sober. There’s no reason I shouldn’t have died.

Well, we’re glad you didn’t!

Trevor: [Laughs.] Yeah, me too.

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At the time, did it affect your music career?

Trevor: To be honest, I wasn’t even really into writing songs at the time. I was a heroin addict. I was completely strung out and wasn’t capable of doing anything that wasn’t surrounding using heroin. It was a big part of my sobriety, having a guitar. Just letting it all pour out. I was really involved in 12 step programs for a while. I started to do music more. It was little controversial. A lot of people in AA are scared to be around liquor so they’re like why do you want to be in a punk band tour around the country? I feel like if you find something like that fills you up like your vice did, than you can go do that and be free. If you get a freedom from addiction you can do that. I don’t want to work a 9-5 job and be afraid of falling back into those addictions.

So music was the outlet for you then?

Trevor: Absolutely.

A lot of your lyrics, specifically on your first EP, Dig Up A Miracle, focus on the topic of sobriety. What was the process in your songwriting?

Trevor: It’s funny how I write. I come up with the melody and the words just vomit out. I sort of figure out what it’s about afterwards. I let songs come out as they come. I guess this (Dig Up A Miracle) was the first EP I went into the studio that I wanted to reflect what I’ve been through. I’ve been sober for 7 years in April. It’s been a while. It’s about addiction, but also about living life as a sober person who is an addict. Our brains are wired a bit different. Normal everyday tasks are difficult. There’s depression and things that go along with that.

What’s the best advice you can give to a struggling musician who’s coping with addiction?

Trevor: Just know you’re not alone. Reach out to someone. If music is what’s fixing it for you, don’t let anyone influence you to not do that. You might be around drinking or drug use. From personal experience, I’ve been around it all the time and if I’m in someone where I get to play music than I’m completely free from the craving.

Let’s talk a bit about tour life. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen while on tour?

Andrew: There was a Canadian dude at this bar we played at in North Carolina who was super hammered. He wanted to buy 50 of our t-shirts. Trevor had to talk him down from buying that many shirts.

Trevor: This guy was so drunk and kept asking us, “Hey, do you watch ESPN?” and I’m going, “Not really.” He goes, “Well I work for them. If you sell me 50 of your shirts at a discount I’ll have everyone at the station wearing your t-shirt. What do you think about that?” He pulled out his credit card and handed it to me. As an honest person, I couldn’t get myself to do it. That was by far the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced on tour.

That’s awesome and flattering at the same time. Did you give him at least one or two at least?

Trevor: Yeah, I gave him like two shirts and a vinyl. [Laughs.]

Where’s the craziest place you’ve found that you have fans in?

Trevor: It was pretty trippy for us to play the East coast and have people know who we were. We took a show on a whim from a kid on tweeted us in Lumberton, NJ. It was a super sick show. There was a good amount of people who knew all the words to the EP. There was a guy in his forties who knew all the words to our songs. It was awesome.

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What’s next?

Andrew: New record!

Trevor: Once we get home we’ll start recording an LP. No idea when or where it’ll be released, but it’s written and we just need to record it. We’ll be recording with the guy who did our last two EPs, Curtis Douglas. He’s incredible.

Andrew: Come see us on tour. We have a lot of stuff planned so just keep checking up on what we’re doing.

Thanks so much for talking with us. Have a great rest of tour!

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Update: Unfortunately Sundressed and Chase Huglin had their trailer stolen before finishing their tour. Click here if you would like to donate to the band’s cause. You can also support Sundressed by downloading their newest EP, The Same Condition, on Bandcamp and pay any price you like.

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