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Liam from Suuns is a green curry kind of guy and has agreed to do the dishes!

Suuns are Ben Shermie (vocals/guitar), Joe Yarnush (guitar/bass), Liam O’Neill (drums) and Max Henry (bass/keyboard). Their music makes me think of Clinic and there’s definitely some Suicide influences in there. We sent our Montréal writer Éric Morrissette to see Liam O’Neill and ask him about food. It hasn’t been announced but they’ll come to Gothenburg in May! Also Stockholm. My guess is that WWDIS will announce that booking shortly, Suuns are totally up their alley. But enough speculation, here’s Éric’s words!

Your name comes from the thai translation of Zeroes. Any background story on this?

We just used to be called Zeroes, but when we signed with Secretly Canadian there was a copyright issue, but we wanted to keep the old name so we tried it in a whole bunch of languages and Suuns was the one that sounded the coolest and looked the best. We got like 89 emails of name suggestions. Some of them were so bad…

What’s your favorite Thai dish?

I guess I’m a green curry guy. I recently started making my own green fish curry at home with coconut milk, chili peppers, cumin, garlic, ginger, green onions, fish sauce and tons of fresh coriander. You can use any kind of white fish you like. I use tilapia because it is cheap. I’ve also tried it with trout and that was really good!

Robin, the founder of Llama Lloyd, thinks that thai food sometimes tastes like piss. Do you agree?

Like piss? I guess that would be the fish sauce, eh? I can see what he’s talking about but I disagree. However, I will say that kidneys taste like piss for obvious reasons. I was dining at a French restaurant with Max, the keyboard player, who had kidneys. I asked him how the kidneys were. He said: ”good… [pauses] it tastes like pee”. That’s the only thing that I think tastes like pee. It smells like your first piss in the morning that’s kind of yellow and stinky. It’s like that. But you should try it!

Have you ever toured in Sweden?

No, we’re gonna go in May. I think we’re going to Göteborg and Stockholm. [Edit: Don’t look that way at their tour schedule unfortunately. :( :( ]

What do you know about Swedish food?

I guess I only know about meatballs. Could you enlighten me?

Gravlax and pickled herring are classics for instance.

How yeah! I love pickled herring. Pretty intense, but good!

Do you listen to any Swedish music?

Shit! When I was really young, my older brother had Ace of Base on tape, you know? I listened the shit out of that tape when I was a kid because whatever my older brother was listening to I thought was cool. I guess that’s the Swedish music I’ve listened the most to but I’ve listened to [The Knife’s] Silent Shout quite a lot too.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten while being on the road?

Hákarl [fermented Icelandic shark] is definitely the grossest thing I’ve ever had.

Éric: I almost vomited on the pavement when I had it.

I did! The weirdest thing I’ve ever had would actually be something from Tim Horton’s [Canada’s Seven Eleven]. Once on tour in Canada we stopped in the middle of the night at a Tim Horton’s drive-through and I ordered a chicken salad sandwich on a bagel. They didn’t think it was worth mentioning that they only had raisins and cinnamon bagels left. It was the first time I had food that made me laugh. I actually laughed out loud when I took a bite into it!

What do you miss the most from home when you’re touring? Poutine? Montréal’s bagels?

No, I don’t necessarly miss food from Montréal. I miss doing the dishes. I like to cook food for myself and clean up after myself. I find the process very therapeutic. I miss food from Lola Rosa, a vegetarian restaurant where I work.

Robin believed Pie IX to be a pie [it’s a street in Montréal named after a pope. In french, ”pie” means ”magpie”, not ”pie”]. Can you make his dream come true and think of a flavor for it?

Haha. It’d be a burned blood pudding pie. All black, like in the video.

Do you have one fetish item in the kitchen? Something you use religiously?

A small serrated knife that I use for everything. A good knife is indispensable.

What music do you like to listen to when you’re having breakfast?

It depends what kind of a day I feel like having. I’m a slow starter. I don’t listen to techno in the morning. I actually listen to CBC [Canada’s public radio] on my portable radio, but if I’m gonna listen to music I would rather listen to Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson trio or if it’s a cloudy day I like to listen to Neil Young’s Live at Massey Hall 1971.

What’s your favorite comfort food on a typical snowy day in Montréal?

Last year I had this day where a bunch of people at work went skating at Parc Lafontaine. I never go to work hangs, I was hungover but I decided that I should go, so I went and I was the only person who showed up! It was minus 22, really sunny and I skated around until I thought that my dick was gonna fall off. Then I went home and listened to Leonard Cohen and roasted a chicken and made ratatouille and risotto. That would be my go to winter meal with a salad and red wine. It heats the house as well!

Do you have a recipe for a great soup? Maybe something Canadian?

Canadian, eh? I don’t know if they even exist.

Pea soup for instance. But since it’s for Sweden, you can make up anything!

Haha, yeah they don’t know. My go to soup isn’t Canadian but I fry some garlic, onions, lots of ginger. Get them all translucent. You get some red lentils in there, water, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coconut milk, grated sweet potato and lots of spinach. It’s really fast and makes your bones feel warm. Very nice. I like food that you can eat every day. That’s what I miss about Lola Rosa’s food when I’m on tour: beans, sweet potatoes, tomato salsa, rice. Very simple food that you can eat everyday. I feel that way about music too. To me, listening to John Lennon is like eating rice and beans: everyday I find it nourishing. It’s not a specialty kind of thing. It’s basic and you can get lots of nourishment from it.

Any emerging band from the local scene you think we should check out?

The number one would be Valleys. We toured across Canada with them and they’re just an amazing band. They’re putting a record out sometime this year. Pat Jordache.  I’m a big fan of his first record. I’ve heard the new stuff and it sounds really good. I don’t know when his record is gonna come out but it’s gonna be a big deal when that happens. Number three would be the new Constellation release: Jerusalem In My Heart. It’s Radwan Ghazi Moumneh’s arabic psychedelic project. He does performance art style concerts, usually really short. He sings, plays oud and  droning synths with cool visuals.

Your new record is coming out in march. If Pie-IX is a blood pudding pie, what kind of pie would this record be?

Maybe like a spicy tourtière [French-Canadian meat pie]. It’s meaty but full of flavor. It’s a little bit more full and fleshed out. When we made the first album we had no plan to release it, we just wanted to make a record just for our own amusement. We got kind of caught off guard. This time, we knew that people were listening so we spent a little more time on it. We were a little bit more picky. We’ve definitely grown a lot and matured. There’s more singing, more spiritualized textures.

You mentioned Tourtière. Any French Canadian influence on it?

The record is called Images du Future which is the name of an expo that was happening I think at the science center in Montréal in the nineties. It was an expo about new technologies and computers. We thought that spoke well to the kind of atmosphere on the record. There’s a kind of retro-futurist sound going on.

The album is out on March 5th on Secretly Canadian.
Check out the video for Edie’s dream here.

Suuns on Spotify.

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Alex of Dirty Beaches prefers squid ink paella over Facebook censorships.

While we were at Primavera Sound in Barcelona Éric had a little talk about food with Alex Zhang Hungtai who under his moniker Dirty Beaches make dirty, slow rockabilly that is inspired by the movies of Wong Kar-Wai, the passage of time and travelling without a home to return to. It might make you think of Alan Vega and his old band Suicide.

Hi Alex, what does your tour diet consists of?
I guess it depends where you are. While being on tour we mostly eat at the gas stops, so we eat the paninis a lot everything else is pretty expensive. But here in Europe we have a nicer treatment because the promoters take us out to dinner in every city and usually it’s pretty nice, especially in Italy, Portugal and Spain where the food is amazing.

Is there something in particular you like to eat here in Spain?
Yeah, last time I came I tried the squid ink paella. It’s all black and it’s really really good because they give you home made garlic aioli sauce with it.

Where is home and what do you miss most from there when you’re on the road?
I live in Montréal now. I miss the Portuguese rotisseries, Romados is a good one. There’s another one close to where we live, Ciranos. That one is really good too. Yeah, the Portuguese just know how to make chicken.

You were born in Taiwan, right? Is there something you miss from there?
I miss Taiwanese food the most because for me that’s comfort food. I would eat compulsively when I got back. Usually I gain a lot of weight when I go back, I’m not joking. My record is when I went back for two weeks and gained 15 pounds [about 7 kg].

Is there a Taiwanese dish in particular that you like?
Yeah, there’s a lot. The most famous ones you can get are at the night market eateries. The famous ones are oyster pancakes with a sweet sauce that they use. There’s also this kind of noodle, they stew the pork in tea and all the herbs and it’s really amazing. The soup is really earthy because you can taste all the herbs they use. I really enjoy that too. It’s really good during the winter time when it’s cold and you get a nice warm hot stew.

What would be the ideal picnic to take on a dirty beach?
Oh, that’s a really good question. I guess it depends what mood I’m in. I’m addicted to this hot dog place in Montréal. I think the owner’s family is from Chile and they make these crazy hot dogs, they call it completo and it’s a really nice sausage with a stemmed bun, with diced tomatoes, guacamole, mayonaise and hot sauce. It’s amazing. An ideal picnic, I would have two of these hot dogs, drink a horchata, maybe I’m saying it wrong, I think it’s Mexican. It’s a rice milk kind of drink, I think I’m pronouncing it wrong, but that would be really nice. And maybe for dessert I would get the gulab jamun, the Indian dessert, the little donuts that are soaked in sugar water, those are really amazing. I like really fatty food, or slow cooked pork belly. Haaa, I love that.

What’s your favourite food coming from the sea?
I really like sea urchin. It’s the kind of things they used for Japanese sushi, it’s mustard coloured. And it’s called uni in Japanese. It looks crazy because, I don’t know if it’s categorized as a shell fish, but it’s from the sea and it’s a black ball with spikes coming out but if you crack it and you open it, it looks like a really soft and mushy yellow substance inside. When it’s fresh and you make it into a sushi, it’s really fucking mind-blowing. I almost cried the first time I ate it.

What’s your favourite poutine flavour from La Banquise in Montréal?
I just like the regular one. I tried the Elvis one and I almost fucking died. It’s so disgusting. It has steak, sausage, bacon and pork chop, a bunch of really fatty stuff. I just thought ”I’m gonna go all out and try the fattest poutine”. It was so disgusting! I couldn’t finish it and I had really bad diarrhea the next day. So no, I like the classic poutine or the Italian poutine with meat sauce.

Do you have a soup recipe that you could share with our Swedish readers?
Yeah there’s this one that my mum makes that I really really love. It’s very easy to make. It’s tomato based with eggs. What you do is you pan grill the tomatoes first until they are kinda soft, you take them out and put them in chicken stock and you stir until it becomes red. Feel free to use less tomatoes because the base of the flavour is chicken stock. You add some garlic and at the end you crack an egg in and you stir it continuously in a clock wise motion until they become fluffy kinda like clouds and then it’s ready.

The set you just played here in the park, was it new music?
No, 99% was improvised but there was one drum beat that was programmed that I improvised on top of.

Are you working on new music right now?
Yes, lots. I’m scoring three films: two documentaries and one Italian horror film. I’m doing one EP and two albums and a bunch of 7 inches and splits with friends. I don’t know if the world is gonna end so I wanna get as much music out as possible before December! That’s optimistic, right? Live the most of your life.

Speaking of apocalyptic feelings, do you have a word for the student protesters of Montréal right now?
Yeah, you’re aware of the Sunday tam-tam jams and the people who play the cos-play, the Dungeon and Dragon guys? So if they pass that law that no more than 40 people can gather there’s no more tam-tams and there’s no more Dungeons and Dragons. That’s on a funny, lighter side of things. As much as we dislike that kind of things it’s also what makes it special and unique for Montréal. It just sucks when people tell you ”you can’t do this!” when ”why the fuck not?” Another thing that I’m really scared about is that everything my friends post on Facebook about the riots or if they’re doing anything that’s defaming Harper [Canada’s Conservative prime minister] it gets taken down Facebook the next day. So, this is really fucked up. That’s really bad censorship. That’s like fucking communist China. Maybe the world is not so fucking different, you know? It’s like when something doesn’t go the way they want, the government, they’ll fucking shut it down, whether you like it or not. This is the illusion we all live in, you know?

Dirty Beaches on Spotify.