How did you come up with the name SUGAR?
Mathew- Before we were a full-on band, I was just doing it on my own, as a project. I wrote a song that was called ‘Sweet’, and I didn’t have a name for the project, and I thought that SUGAR was a nice little bit of symmetry.
What’s the story behind the band?
Avani- That’s a great story!
Mathew- So I was just making music on my own, and then I met Connor really early before I met a lot of people, and Connor was really interested in playing bass, so then we got a drummer in as well and we just started playing, the three of us.
Avani- And that’s where I came into the equation- because we (Avani and Mathew) were in the same class in first year, and you (Mathew) put a post on the student group saying you wanted a keys and synth player. I’d never played the synth before, but I play the piano, so I was like, sure let’s give it a whirl! I didn’t know whether I was properly in the band or not, or whether you were just testing me out…I had to like, ask!
Connor- Looking back on it then as well, it was quite bare-boned. The drummer at the time was just playing an electronic pad, and he left right before we were playing a gig for a huge promote. He just didn’t even turn up so Avani and Mat had to do it acoustically. Two weeks later before a headline show we found João.
Avani- He just came in and started playing our songs for us that he’d never heard and was absolutely bossing it.
Connor- Then we got his mate Tiago in on guitar…
Avani- The Portuguese duo.
What is SUGAR’s vision? Your dreams?
Avani- Infiltrate Downing Street! Starting there (laughs).
Mathew- I think just to play more shows in more places and to release more music to a bigger fan-base over time.
Avani- Also I feel like, from where we started, to where we are now has been such a progression. What we’ve been thinking about more recently is how the music is going to evolve and homing in on what SUGAR actually sounds like.
What genre would you say SUGAR is?
Mathew- We like to fluctuate between a few different genres…
Avani- Don’t dull it down, it’s queer as fuck!
Connor- It’s what we said before, at the end of the day, the main umbrella I think is pop and then we just kind of have different sub-genres of that which our songs fluctuate between.
Mathew- I always want to write different things.
Avani- I feel like every time we start a new song, just on our own, it’s something that we’ve never done.
Connor- I feel like it’s a reflection of our tastes in music as well. All of us have such a diverse taste in music, none of us have the exact same likes and dislikes when it comes to artists and bands. I think that shows throughout our music.
How did you come up with your overall aesthetic and make it fit so effortlessly into your style of music?
Mathew- When it started, I always had an appreciation for aesthetic with music, but didn’t necessarily practise that. After Avani joined, I think just from being friends with them over the past year or so, it’s brought out a lot of my kind of aesthetic.
Avani- We’re fashion stars on the rise!
Mathew- So I think I just wanted to do things that were a bit more queer, a bit more fem and just blur the gender stereotypes a little bit.
Avani- We talk a lot about how you present yourself in real life, versus how you present yourself on stage, because for a lot of people there isn’t any distinction. For us we want there to be a level of fantasy, and we go for full fantasy every time.
Who are your main influences?
Mathew- A lot of just like, classic pop music and Bowie and Prince.
Avani- And house, a lot of house.
Mathew- Yeah because when I started it (SUGAR) I was making a lot of electronic music as I really love stuff like Caribou and Four-Tet, and I wanted to make it really melodic and synth-y. But obviously it’s changed a lot since then, although a lot of those elements are still there. Influential queer artists (play a part as well). Thinking about us all enjoying playing music is where the shoe-gaze elements come in.
Avani- Being in SUGAR really changed the way I approached music. When I came to uni I was very much set on just doing rock music and being in a rock band, and that was all I wanted to do and what I listened to. But seeing other people perform in first year and then joining a band, it made me appreciate and understand the nuances of pop music a bit more and all these other styles of music that I never really got that into, which has changed the way I write my own music as well. Just because, well, synths are fun!
Connor- I agree, I still listen to a lot of psychedelic music but through being with the band I have discovered a lot more artists and albums that I don’t know why I hadn’t listened to them sooner.
What is your favourite gig that you have played so far?
All- Night and Day Café, with The Elephant Trees and Sequin Sally!
Avani- That was a legendary gig in our brains.
Are there any gigs you’re especially looking forward to playing?
Mathew- We’ve got two coming up, one this month (February) hosted by HUX and a pound of each ticket is going to two different charities. That should be really fun. Then on the 7th March we’re playing Free Vibes which is at Band On The Wall (NQ, Manchester).
Connor- That one is definitely going to sell out so people should get their tickets!
Who would be your dream artist to play a show with?
Mathew- I would probably want to play with La Roux. I’ve been obsessed with her, I always have been and would love to meet her.
Avani- If we’re talking specifically about SUGAR, then, Robyn. Imagine!
Mathew- I think that would be the most fitting.
Avani- We started covering ‘With Every Heartbeat’ right from the beginning, that was one of the first covers we did.
Is there any new music currently in the work and when can we expect to hear it?
Avani- The pipeline is so stuffed, it is going to explode everywhere!
Mathew- We are probably going to release a new single in March, most likely, and then have a few more singles coming out after that which should form an E.P.
Give SUGAR some love and head on over to their Facebook page to find out all the information about upcoming gigs and new music- SUGAR Facebook Page