Digital Femininity Identity Interview

‘People Often Think I Don’t Really Know How to Play Bass Until They See Us Live’ – Julia Cumming: We Interviewed Brooklyn Trio Sunflower Bean

We interviewed dreamy-psych-rock trio Sunflower Bean

DtL: What has been your proudest moment so far?

Jacob: For us, releasing our first record Human Ceremony has definitely been one of our proudest moments. To have completed a full length album and put it out into the world feels pretty good.

DtL: Have you ever experienced bullying? If so what happened and how did you deal with the experience?

Jacob: As someone who grew up liking and playing music in school, I was always getting teased for it. I think back then I would take it pretty personally. I remember the summer going into high school; I was begging my parents to let me quit band so other kids wouldn’t see me walk home with my saxophone everyday! But as I got older, things got a lot better, and I started to realise that music was my passion and that I shouldn’t allow myself to be affected by other kid’s unwarranted judgements.

DtL:  Our research revealed that 35% of teenage girls believe that their gender will have a negative effect on their career. What are your thoughts on this, based on your experiences in the music industry Julia?

Julia: It’s extremely complicated. When I was a kid, I noticed that all the songs I liked were written by men, about women, and I wondered why when I sung along to them, I always had to sing about girls. I wanted to sing about boys. But that didn’t stop me from becoming a musician, you know? I still went on to try. I think it’s important to try and take care of each other, and let each other know that it’s not a negative thing to be a woman, it’s a gift.

DtL: Have you ever experienced sexism/stereotyping in the industry based on gender? If so, how did you deal with it?

Julia: People often think I don’t really know how to play bass until they see us live, or they say they’ve “never seen a girl play bass like me”. I just want to keep pushing myself as a musician, songwriter, and artist. I think the more women are viewed as “normal” in the world of music, instead of this “other” thing, these comments will lessen. And my way of doing that is to keep working and growing.

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DtL: What advice would you give to young people who might want to get into the music industry?

Jacob: Practice. I think as a musician the most important thing is to keep GROWING and LEARNING. A lot of times you may feel like you have hit a wall and that’s okay; maybe you just need to step back from whatever it is you are doing for a little bit and come back to it with a clear mind.

DtL: What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?

Jacob: We just made a music video for our song Come On and other then that, just touring. We’ve been on the road solidly since Human Ceremony came out.

DtL: What are your most prominent challenges, and how do you overcome them?

Jacob: The challenging thing about doing what we do is probably the constant travelling, and managing so many different kinds of situations that come with being in the music industry. But we all care about each other and that helps a lot. Respecting and appreciating each other’s skills is really important.

DtL: If you could go back in time, what one thing would you tell your younger self?

Jacob: I would say, keep on rocking! You’re gonna find some kids to play music with and everything is gonna be alright! I would reassure him that he CAN follow his dreams in life if he works hard enough.

DtL: What tends to inspire your writing?

Jacob: We are inspired by the world around us, time, and getting older, space, the universe. The human range of emotions.

The track we have on repeat here in the DtL office: