Sunshine: One bright band
by Adam Bates
Sunshine has been a long time coming. The duo of Bellingham transplants plays stripped down electronica with a pop sensibility that is guaranteed to get you out of your seat. And they happen to be incredibly good at it.
Sunshine is Jesse Denison on guitars and James Melloh on synthesizers, vocals and programming. The two met their freshman year of college at the University of Missouri in the late 90s and played in bands for years, moving to Bellingham in 2003 after a friend of theirs, a Bellingham native who was going to school at the University of Missouri offered them a place to stay in Bellingham if they wanted to move there. “We wanted to move anywhere from Missouri,” said James.
Since arriving eight years ago, the two have played in short term bands with nothing really getting off the crowd. It finally became easier to just make music as a duo – something they finally pursued a year ago. Denison describes the band’s decision to remain a duo as a matter of convenience. “It got to the point (playing in bands) where getting 4 or 5 band members together became more of a struggle than anything else.” While they aren’t against adding additional members in the future, Mulloh and Denison decided they could get the project off the ground faster with just two members. And they haven’t stopped.
“We started Sunshine with just the two of us, and a focus on more pop sensibility,” says Denison. Many of the programmed beats that Sunshine uses have a certain degree of dissonance and darkness, while their vocals and guitar lines work light into the dark. While their sound is inspired by English bands of the early 80s including Kraftwerk, The Cure, Wire and Joy Division, Sunshine is far from an 80s wave cover band, instead of mix of influence with modern stylings.
Sunshine recently released a six-song record which was recorded by Paul Turpin (who has also worked with Idiot Pilot and Jenni Potts, just to name a few) in September and mixed early this year. In just two six hours days, the band emerged with an electro-pop gem unlike Bellingham has seen recently. “Paul seemed to understand the project from the start,” says Denison. “Recording with Paul turned out to be exactly what we needed.” After recording, the band went through several mixes and a fair amount of editing to make this recording as accessible as possible.
“The goal of the band is to have a stripped down sound with catchy hooks,” says Denison. And even though Sunshine is only two members, the programmed beats and sounds of Mulloh make their sound larger than life. They are a small band with a huge sound, which is what makes Sunshine so appealing, and gaining them more and more fans with each show.
Sunshine is excited about the future as they continue to progress and gain those fans in Bellingham and beyond. “We are excited to play more shows,” Denison says.
Coming up! Catch Sunshine at the make.shift benefit show on Wednesday, April 11 at Glow. For more information about the band, visit sunshinebellingham.com