Sunwolf, “Fire Breathing Tiger”

Sjimon Gompers

Washington D.C. trio Sunwolf get on the prowl with the premiere of “Fire Breathing Tiger” off their upcoming Angel Eyes EP. With a production assist from Jerry Busher, the 3-piece of Rob Tifford, Tom Bunnell, Danny Bentley continue the lineage of indie rock legacies that keep the central civic District breathing and retaining it's own kind of cool. The guitars move in rhythm rides in progressions that march past the capital's processions of meddling lobbyists bombarding your favorite (and not so-favorite) senators with dubious interests of duplicities. Opting instead for snapshots of nightlife scenarios, Sunwolf takes the cat and mouse thrill of the chase into a game of tigers taking on wolves decked out like sheep, reading past beyond the pick up lines.

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“Fire Breathing Tiger” rolls out like a sabertooth tiger on the move. Met with the big bad wolf in sheep's clothing and courting small talk; Rob's chorus inspires the rest of the gang to join in on the key refrain of, “Tell me how your story goes, never know until you say so”. The post-introductions and getting to know you game are sung out like high decibal dive conversation, where memory gets as a fuzzy as the distortion pedals and the nights get crazier. The 3 keep the D.C.-DIY ethic moving like guitar guided rock that move the garage minded music to down into the basements, bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, fire escapes, empty and open lots to the vacant fields.

Sunwolf's Rob Tifford talked with us for a bit about the current era D.C. underground and the forthcoming Angel Eyes EP.

What is the state of garage rock counter culture in D.C. right now?

The state of garage rock/counter culture in DC? Right now? -That’s a toughy. Lets start with the state of 'garage rock'. There are very, very few garages in the District. So that makes being an authentic 'garage band' really tough. Real estate is extraordinarily expensive. Bands have been squeezed into other places to form their craft. But we do our best to carry on. Usually in basements, bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, fire escapes, open lots and fields. So I guess that makes it not ‘garage’ strictly speaking. Nah, kidding aside, D.C. bands are so varied and inspired that it’s hard to pin down if there’s any one kind of culture being made. It’s an exciting time to be a musician or artist in general. Everything is up for grabs and we’re being pushed around by big development money. We’re at the barricade! There’s a lot of solidarity and love amongst this community of musicians.

On the new cut, “Fire Breathing Tiger”, what was the inspiration behind great, memorable lines like, “fire breathing tiger saber-tooth man-eater girl”?

I really wish I could take full credit for this, but it actually came from my girlfriend. When we first met, and were in the shit talking phase of our courtship, she told me I should be careful because she was a 'fire breathing tiger, saber tooth man eater' So I told her that was fine because ' I was a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing'. She is amazing and awesome and now we have a 5 week old baby boy together!

How did you link up with Jerry Busher?

We have been friends with Jerry for forever. He’s our pal. D.C. has a pretty small tight knit scene and we all know each other.

How did his hand impact your own creativity and ultimately the Angel Eyes EP?

When we wrote these songs we were really keen to record them with Jerry. Since we’ve been friends for so long, we knew he’d have a good sense of what we were up to and where to take them. And he really did! We recorded it in his basement studio. Which has such a great vibe. Jerry really helped shape these songs and did a lovely job pulling things out of our performances during the recording sessions. He’s got an amazing sense of where a song wants to go rather than where we wanted it to go. If that makes sense?

Did that old Spector/Curtis Lee tune “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” influence the titling in any way?

Ha, No, we didn't even think of that until after we wrote it! We needed a name for the EP and we thought it sounded cool. Plus we thought the song is pretty tight so we might as well name the EP after it.

Full-length in the works for Sunwolf?

Indeed! We are working on new material now, so as soon as we get enough songs together, we will get into the studio and rock it out!

Sunwolf's Angel Eyes EP will be available October 8 from El Rey Records.

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