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  • Writer's pictureAmi Row

5 Songs I Love w/ The Sunset Kings

We absolutely love the new single from The Sunset Kings! Check out 'One Man Army' below as well as some handpicked tracks from the band that inspired their sound for this latest release.

For this feature, I wanted to share five songs from the playlist of references that we listened to when producing One Man Army. A phrase we’ve been throwing around our studio a lot is “open-source inspiration”; our sound pulls elements from a lot of places and a lot of times we can’t explain why we hear certain sounds together but having something tangible like a record where all of this plays out in a way that you can just hear that is really satisfying. - Star

Tash Sultana - The Jungle

I love this early bedroom performance of The Jungle that Tash Sultana for a lot of reasons. One, Tash is creating music for Tash and you can see the joy in that. That really fine line between introversion and extroversion is captivating to watch, and you can tell that Tash is enjoying every single sound that comes out of that guitar. Two, I always love earlier videos of artists because I feel like you can see those really raw emotions that people sit with for years before they feel the pressure of an international audience. Whether that’s the relentless ambition, the learned nonchalance, the little glimpses of insecurity or uncertainty, and the small (but monumental triumphs) of feeling like you’re inching closer to a goal that you can’t really identify. Last and most importantly, there’s so much patience in this video. I love how you can see how patient Tash is, really giving the song space to evolve and enjoying the process of chasing every sound and pocket that feels right. It’s a seven minute video, but for a person who loves watching that, the video just feels like it’s happening outside the bounds of time.

D. O. C. - The Formula

This record inspired a lot of parts of the song in terms of how I structured it. The way D.O.C. swung his cadence informed the way I wanted the delivery on the vocal to sit against the bass and drums. The bassline’s simple but strong and I feel like this song is a good example of the effectiveness of just letting the beat ride and how that’s just as much of a hook as something with a vocal and a punchline.

Pac Div - Church League Champions Mixtape

R.D. put me on to this mixtape while we were on tour and listened to it in between rehearsals and writing sessions. I really like Pac Div’s storytelling as a group, and this mixtape reminded me that sometimes the flow’s just supposed to feel good. Our repeat songs o. the tape are “Knuckleheadz” and “Young Black Male”.

Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night (MTV Unplugged)

The energy that Kurt had in this performance was one major inspiration for the place I dug the lyrics from in “One Man Army”. The recklessness, the nonchalance, the disillusionment — I was reaching into those emotions in my life and looked to real people who were grappling with fast fame in order to inspire the urgency I wrote into the song. What I love most about this particular performance is how Kurt is just existing, and you have the sense that he would still be existing just the way he is on that stool with that guitar if the cameras and the audience weren’t there.

Dua Lipa - Don’t Start Now (Live in LA)

It’s been a joy to watch Dua Lipa’s artistry and production develop. When “New Rules” came out, our old producer and I would listen to the vocal stems in between mixing our first record The Ballad of Bella Fury and just listen for all the cool delays that her producers would put on her voice. And this video’s such a vibe, from the roller disco vibes to the Stax-esque drum and bass. I really love the cinematography and David Carberry’s direction on this video; the visual flow is aesthetically pleasing, especially the transitions and building up the momentum visually in coordination with the music. There’s also a good amount of story building within the format and length of a live performance; I especially love the intro — it’s a jam and I enjoyed Carberry’s choices for building the scene and vibe of the performance up to that iconic first vocal line. Plus the colors stimulate me and Neumi’s synesthesia.



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