“These days you have to know everything: you have to be able to play your instrument, you have to know music theory, and you have to know Max” â€“ Dane Orr, Sonnymoon
The most overused sentence between my friend Jon and I is, â€śListen to this band and consider going to their show with meâ€ť. Iâ€™ll admit, he knows what kind of music flips my pancakes, but when we went to see the band Sonnymoon I had no idea at the end of the night I would be saying,â€ś This is what Iâ€™ve been searching forâ€ť. Hive mind at its best.
Named in homage to the Sonny Rollins track “Sonnymoon for Two”, vocalist Anna Wise and producer Dane Orr, are masters of the musical balancing act, an eloquent embodiment of musical talent paired seamlessly with music technology. With the recent addition of Tyler Randall on the sitar (Yes, you read that correctly) and percussionist Joe Welch, the quartet will scorch the apathy right out of your body.
The setup for their live performances is carefully orchestrated, with a plethora of controllers and convoluted cables (Imagine a less precarious version of Indiana Jones landing in a pile of snakes). However, the line is clearly drawn between tools and musical capabilities. They have adopted a policy of placing their laptops out of view, which for me, is part of their magnetism. â€śSimplicity is key for us, because expression, control, and connecting with an audience is the most importantâ€ť, Orr has said about their approach.
That paradigm is also transferred in the way Sonnymoon utilizes Max. â€śAt first we used little abstractions that we found interesting, ones we thought might open different sonic doors for us, but it was when we stopped thinking technically and started thinking artistically that we truly became friends with Maxâ€¦People needn’t be scared of Max or think that you need to dedicate your whole life to computer programming to be able to use it. The same way a guitar player can dedicate some time to learning to use different pedals, people can explore using Max to expand their musical worldâ€ť.
Iâ€™m glad Sonnymoon and Max have become friends. They are so similar. Harmonizing technology with creativity while exposing both fragility and strength are the things they do best.