It doesn’t take long to appreciate the feel-good friendships that serve as the foundation for Melbourne 4-piece Sunfruits. On an icy pre-winter’s night at the Northcote Social Club, the self-professed sunpop-psych rockers permeate a warmth stronger than any gas heater ever could when talking to us about their formation, launch party superfluities and favourite fruit.
Forming as recently as December 2018, Sunfruits represent an understated supergroup of sorts, featuring members from Melbourne-based bands Cracker La Touf, Ivy League, Pinch Points, Bad Bangs and Edamame. As first-time front man Winter “Winnie” McQuinn (guitar and vocals) explains, it was Sunfruits’ stylised point of difference to prior projects that acted as a key unifier, enabling the quartet to hone in on their penchant for 60s psychedelia; “I feel like we all like that kind of music but had never played it before. I had listened to a lot of it and Shelby De Fazio (guitar) was in a similar boat”.
A revered drummer on prior projects, Winnie makes his first foray to centre stage with Sunfruits. “I bring ideas and songs to the band but then the band makes it a Sunfruits song”. Not fazed by the new role and responsibilities, Winnie sees it more as an opportunity for expression; “I usually play drums and because I’m playing guitar and singing, I can write everything in this style. Like, this is my style now”.
The band’s debut single ‘All I Want’ is a funk-psych Sunfruits taste test, perfectly capturing the group’s aesthetic. “It is kind of all of it in one; the band, all the other songs, a good intro. It encapsulates all we wanna do, sound-wise”, says drummer Gene Argiro. Evoking themes of anti-consumerism, Winnie explains the thematic thread that pervades their catalogue; “They’re all just about the environment. I try not to be too preachy about it. Except for this one about lollies. Although, that’s about consumption which makes me feel conflicted about what we’re about now (laughs)”.
Their launch show for the single saw Sunfruits go all out, perfectly pairing Josh Knight’s Liquid Delights psychedelic projections with a fleshed out rhythm section. “We also had Evie playing the tambo and the gong. We wanted her to play the rainstick too, but she only has two hands, so it wouldn’t have worked (laughs)”. On whether we can expect more theatrics for the group, Gene advises “I think that’s like a special edition Sunfruits extravaganza family band scenario”.
Collectively having accrued a substantive amount of experience working within the Melbourne music industry, each member more deeply appreciates the standstill the industry finds itself at with respect to artist earnings; “I was talking to my dad about it, cause he asked, ‘what do you get per show?’”, starts Gene. “It literally hasn’t changed since the old days, which is weird in terms of inflation”. Acacia further describes the negative feedback loop that occurs when venues fail to guarantee payments for artists, detrimental to fans and bands alike; “There’s so many gigs where you’re like, ‘I like that band’ or ‘we’re mates’ or something but its not a venue that is offering a set fee so you’re not guaranteed money and so there’s just so much expectation for bands to play shows for fun or exposure alone”.
With a 7-inch split release on the horizon and further shows to come, Sunfruits appear content riding the wave of their psychedelic success thus far; “I just kinda wanna keep playing shows and doing things how we wanna do them”. The band appear less laidback, however, selecting a collective favourite fruit; “I’m actually so torn on this”, opens Gene. “I really like different fruits for different reasons”, continues Acacia. “I really like functional, transportable fruits. Like, you can take an apple to work and it’s not gonna get squashed. But bananas are a bit harder. I mean there’s taste, practicality, availability”. “I think mine is grapes”, closes Winnie.
The Sunfruits single ‘All I Want’ is available now through streaming services. Catch them at The Espy supporting The Underground Lovers on June 1 and June 6 playing with Zoe Fox and The Rocket Clocks at the same venue.