AV Super Sunshine and his gorgeous muse Philomena return with his new single, ‘Together’. Stronger and better than ever, AV’s sound improves with every release, making every single track his very best. Back in May the rock’n’roll super star released the video for ‘A Wedding Song’, which celebrated married couples everywhere, as well as the beautiful Philomena. ‘Together’, from his highly anticipated upcoming album, ‘ARTROCK’, is gloriously retro in its toe-tapping psych vibe, and while it’s upbeat and insanely energetic, it’s also rammed solidly with dreamy guitar chords and synths.
Accompanying the song is a stop motion animated video, featuring Lego people, who come to life with the music. They enjoy themselves at an animated Lego amusement park, taking the rides, visiting concession stands, and all that’s to be found at a real-life amusement park. Of course, it wouldn’t be AV Super Sunshine if there wasn’t an extra-terrestrial inclusion, this time in the form of a mysterious spinning UFO.
We’ve been long-time supporters of AV Super Sunshine and his music, and finally Lisa has had the opportunity to speak to the man himself. Check out the interview below.
Hi there, thanks for agreeing to speak to us! We’ve written a lot about your music over the years, and probably the one thing that is characteristic of all your songs is that you’ve got an extremely positive attitude, and all your songs are, quite literally, filled with super sunshine. How do you keep so upbeat and how can we inject the same positivity in our own lives?
I would like to start by thanking you for all the support you have given us. Both Philomena and I are very grateful people and we’re grateful for the support you’ve given us. Being grateful is a great way to stay positive. Through our own individual life experiences we both know how difficult life can be. We especially appreciate the help we get for our artist brand. So we thank you again.
Being grateful is a great way to inject positivity. We also check ourselves by challenging each other’s negative thinking. Many times we misread an interaction as negative which was really positive and it takes a supportive friend or partner to point out to us that things maybe really aren’t that bad. This helps me, even on my darkest songs, to find a way to always inject a ray of sunshine. A good example of this would be my song “Are You Happy” which opens with the verse “I need a happy song, the kind that you want to sing along, only make you strong, with leftovers you can take home.”
The video for your latest single, ‘Together’, is unusual for you in that it’s a stop motion animation, using Lego – you and your muse Philomena feature as always but this time you’re cut out figures, rather than the main focus. It’s a very fun video nonetheless and you and Philomena have made it yourselves. Has this been because of the pandemic?
We have a lot of videos so that one was just trying something new. We actually did our first stop action video back in June of 2019 for my song “Are You Happy”. We followed that with a lyric video for my song “Crazy Love” where each frame was an individual piece of ‘arts and craft’. We wanted that video to be sort of a scrap book that comes to life. Our next video is for a song called “Frankenstein” and for that we’re planning to do a hybrid video combining live footage with stop action.
Staying with the Covid-19 Pandemic, how much of an effect has it had on your creativity? Do you find it’s had a negative effect, or are you instead inspired to find new ways to be creative?
We were ready to seriously tour and also release our documentary film “Alien Abduction” when the Pandemic hit. If you’re interested in learning more about our film you can find a trailer for it on the “Film” tab of our website. We had obtained representation from a major entertainment attorney who had lined up very positive interest in the film but then Hollywood shut down. Right now we’re just riding the storm out. It’s a killer film with world changing implications. When things finally get back to normal we’ll be dropping that on the world.
So instead of blowing minds with our “Alien Abduction” film and tour I decided to record a new album. It’s going to be called “Art Rock” and will be marketed as a 12 song CD tribute to Lady Gaga’s “ARTPOP”. It’s turning out great. We’ve already dropped 3 singles from the record and all 3 have racked up major top 10 global airplay on radio stations across the globe. “The Wedding Song” hit #4 on the DRT Global AC Airplay chart (just behind Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd), “Together” hit #6 on the DRT Global Rock Airplay chart (just behind Foo Fighters, Rise Against, Volbeat, Daughtry and Five Finger Death Punch) and “Super Cool” rose to #6 DRT Global AC Airplay chart (just behind Lewis Capaldi, Post Malone, The Weeknd, Ava Max and Harry Styles). Amazing!
Because both myself and my producer Michael Bradford have had the time, we’ve really been able to pay attention to detail on this record. Normally I channel the bulk of my creativity into writing. During this past year and a half I’ve instead had the luxury to channel it into fine tuning songs I had previously written and the recording of them. I’ve got an unusually large backlog of songs waiting to record. I think that is because I write records like they did during the post “Seargent Pepper” days instead of writing songs and throwing a CD to go tour with. By recording a full record you write songs to tell a complete story.
In the case of the Gaga tribute record I’m finishing, I had that record to pattern mine after. While the songs and styles are different from Lady G’s record, the themes are similar. Some of the songs are also kinda responses to songs on her “ARTPOP” record. For example I have a song called “Neptune” which is a response to her song “Venus”, she has a song called “G.U.Y.S.” and I have a song called “Bad Boyz”, and so on and so forth. It all unfolds into a statement of peace, love and inclusion just like Lady Gaga’s record. You’re going to love it.
You’ve been recording for a long time now, what advice do you have for anyone that’s just starting out in the music business?
My best advice is rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and then rewrite some more. Dust off those old lyrics you’ve abandoned in your writing notebook and remember why you liked the song idea and then take time to really make it a great song by developing the lyrics and rhymes. Compare it to similar songs you admire to see what you are missing. Once you are confident you have truly written a great song, play it for others and check to see if they are really paying attention. If you lose them in your chorus, for example, then find a stronger hook or better way to communicate. Once you have the song go out and find the people who’ll believe in you who can help. Know when someone only wants to take your money and when you find people who can help them be honest with them about your career goals.
What would you say to your younger self just starting out?
Move to a major music market that fits your artist brand and genre before you have roots. Then I’d basically do what I’ve done to get me to this point now.
What or who – apart from Philomena – inspires your music, and inspires your life?
Right now I’m trying to keep it simple, but it is hard with the current news cycle. Together is a great example of keeping it simple. It’s a song about two people, in this case Philomena and myself, just hanging out going through life as teammates. That’s something every couple wants and this song is all inclusive so no pronouns allowed or even needed.
How has the music of other artists impacted your sound?
Because of the artist’s we compete with on global radio, we’re trying to use similar sounds. For instance, on the song together there is very little electric guitar. I’m playing an acoustic melody for most of it which is layered with various keyboard and percussive instruments. Despite the absence of electric guitar in the mix we spent two weeks in the global top 10 for rock airplay. We’re 10 weeks on that chart and spent most of it in the top 15. That’s thousands of spins per week at some of the world’s largest radio stations.
“Together” did better on rock radio than Iron Maiden’s new single which was just the opposite in terms of electric guitar versus keyboard sounds in the mix. Our next single “Frankenstein”, however, dominantly features electric guitar. Michael was at first afraid to turn up the electric guitar pointing out we might suffer with radio airplay. I however, finally convinced him hoping we can make electric guitar cool again and featured in current rock music.
What is the songwriting process for you and has it changed over time?
I’m trying to be more universal with my lyrics which means that I’m trying to communicate my ideas in a way that everyone can understand. It sounds easy but it truly is a hard skill to master. It’s the one trait I find in every great song that has withstood the test of time. If I can accomplish a high level of universally understanding of my song idea with fresh rhymes and unique storytelling then I know I have a great song.
Finally – and I ask this of everyone I interview – What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
What’s it like to ride in a flying saucer faster than the speed of light and experience anti-gravity travel. For some reason no one ever asks me that.