You may know Sully Banger as one of the brains (and brawn) behind Providence Wrestle Party, or from the many bands that he’s played in since he was a teenager. What you might not know is that he just dropped a new EP of lo-fi hip hop over the weekend! Check out this lovely album right now on Spotify, or at the link below – and read on for our interview with him!
How has the pandemic affected you? How are you spending your time? Are you working?
My partner’s father passed last month from complications with COVID-19. He was a supremely amazing man, he was so caring and sweet, as well as one of the most talented photographers I think I’ve ever seen. Losing him was really hard for my partner, Katie, and that is definitely the biggest and hardest part of this.
I’m not currently working. I work full time as a cobbler at Wayland Square Shoe Repair, my boss and I are the only employees, and my last day of work was Friday, March 13th. I’m very lucky to be inside with Katie, she is always so creative and driven, I spent the first bit of self quarantine playing video games and sitting in my butt, but we had a conversation about how that would make me feel bad, and it did, so I took a page out of her book and made some music, and art, and tried to be a little productive every day.
A lo-fi instrumental hip hop album wasn’t what I was expecting, what inspired you?
I’ve definitely always been a more rock instrument kind of musician. I’ve been playing music in bands since I was maybe 15. I used to regularly play AS220, Aurora, and a few Olneyville spots, in mostly punk and hardcore bands, but that’s not where my head is right now. I’ve been doodling with synthesizers and keyboards for forever, but never made anything with it that I was proud enough to show. I think we all definitely spend a lot of time angry and upset with the world. I wanted to create something where you could detach for a few minutes and reflect on the weather changing and the beautiful city we live in.
Are you self-taught with beatmaking, etc?
I am. I did my best to learn what I could from different resources, and I think I have an easy time conveying a certain feeling through music, since that’s literally what it is. I loved being able to make instruments from everyday objects around the house, and turning them into instruments on a keyboard was exhilarating. On most tracks you can hear everything from me shaking my wooden box of DND dice, to a toy marimba my brother gave me combined with fuzz to make an entirely new sound. I set out to customize everything to sound exactly how I liked it, and learning how to do that in a way that didn’t make people’s ears bleed was a fun challenge. It was frustrating when you don’t have anyone to show you how, but it made me that much more proud of myself when I was able to do it.
You’re very excited for people to hear this. Please comment!
This is the first time I’ve been able to take advantage of streaming services, and I wanted to do it in a way that was exciting. I’ve done digital releases before, and record/cassette drops, but I love these songs so much and it’s really cool to have a way where people can listen to it from wherever they are, instead of jumping through hoops to get their hands on it. I see a lot of people making interesting stuff right now and I’m happy to throw my stuff out there, too. I love how much content is coming out when there are no shows or live events.
Tell me about your background with visual art – I see you’ve made a video for one of the songs that has animations in it.
I don’t really have a huge background in visual art. I never felt like anything I made looked good enough. I actually up until recently was very adamant about how I am NOT a visual artist, but I was encouraged that my doodles could be art, and creating mixed media of animated drawings with the recorded footage was something I just did, not expecting it to turn out well. I’ve definitely felt encouraged in the last year or so that anything is art, and while I always felt that about others, it took a long time for me to feel comfortable enough saying that about myself.