The Sugar Bites Q&A
Brussels band The Sugar Bites have recently released their debut album 'Fuzzmosphere', which touches on a number of genres across its ten tracks - from stoner rock to alt-noise to shoegaze to early 70s space rock. It's a potent stew, well worth a listen! The guys took some time out to answer a few questions for me.
The Sugar Bites are - Mateja Jovancic (Guitar, Vocals), Nina Kicia (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Deniz Bolme (Guitar, Vocals) and Foad Foxx (Bass)
'Fuzzmosphere' is available on Spotify, Youtube, Deezer and a number of the other digital sites.
Hi Guys, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off for those readers who might not be familiar with The Sugar Bites, could you give a short history of the band?
It all Started in Magazin 4 a legendary underground music venue in Brussels, where Mateja (Guitar and vocals) and Foad (Bass) met. If I remember correctly the bands that played that night were The End of Ernie,164 speed punk and Chelsea. Anyway Foad and Mateja Started a Band Called Spectrophillia, a hardcore punk band. Eventually I (Mateja) left and formed a shoegaze band called Vicious Scorpion Service which was technically the begining of The Sugar Bites. VSS consisted of two members, myself and Maony Fourneaux (Vocals) and eventually we released our EP titled the Sugar Bites, which was more experimental out of tune noise than music but it was something. Foad wanted back in and we eventually reformed as the Sugar Bites without Maony. So it was back to square one again, just myself and Foad and eventually we ended up meeting Deniz in Magazin 4, in late march 2020, which led us to meeting Nina as well. We spent the summer hanging out; myself and Foad had completed ‘Tram81’ our first single. When Nina and Deniz heard it they wanted in as well, and so we made FUZZMOSPHERE.
And who would you say were the main influences on The Sugar Bites?
I believe the main influences were 80’s and 90’s rock bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Pixies, Nirvana and in some cases Pink Floyd and Mazzy Star. But also bands from today like Royal Blood and 1000mods; also Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, My Bloody Valentine just to name a few.
How did you find recording 'Fuzzmosphere' in these strange times? Did Covid present any particular challenges to putting it together?
We recorded everything at home, so we didn’t have to face any difficulties with studios. If anything, the pandemic helped us in some way, we definitely had more time to record and mix everything.
Where did the title 'Fuzzmosphere' come from?
Well ‘fuzz’ is my favourite guitar effect ever made, and its often overlooked by many old school rock and roll folk; people in general seem to prefer distortion. The truth is fuzz has a whole universe of genres in it, anything from shoegaze and noise rock to the late 60's and early 70's warm fuzz. I (Mateja) just wanted to capture all it has to offer, an atmosphere of fuzz where every instrument has its place in the ecosystem, that's how the name FUZZMOSPHERE came to be :)
I notice that you've produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the album yourselves. Do you have recording facilities at home or did you record in a studio?
We have recording gear at home, everything except the drums was recorded in Mateja's bedroom.
And what are your favourite tracks on the album?
I (Nina) really like ‘Fields of Tomorrow’, it speaks to me on so many levels. It’s melancholic and emotional, very melodic and powerful. I feel like it’s a song about staying true to yourself, believing in what you chose to believe in no matter what anyone else thinks or says, and, as Mateja put it, “dancing through” the harshness of life - oh and Foad likes ‘Orange Love’.
In terms of songwriting, how are your songs put together? Does somebody come in with a main idea that you build up from there or do you work songs up from jamming? Is there a main lyric writer or do you all contribute lyrics?
Most of the time somebody comes up with an idea, a riff or a chord progression, and we build up from there. We add more parts to the song and discuss the structure together; sometimes we manage to merge two of our songs into one, and that’s always a great thing to happen. When it comes to lyrics, most of the lyrics on the album were written by Mateja, but Deniz and Nina write as well.
What with the Covid pandemic now nearly a year old, have you had any chance to get out and play live?
Unfortunately not, but we are looking forward to playing live in the near future.
How is the Brussels and Belgian rock scene - is it a good scene at the moment? Are there any other bands from Belgium that you'd recommend for readers to check out?
To be honest rock bands in Brussels aren't common, most of the bands and venues in the city are jazz oriented; I (Foad) just know one famous band – Aborted.
How can people hear / buy 'Fuzzmosphere'?
You can stream all of our music on Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, and many more platforms. Also, you can check out our music video for ‘Nebula’s Lace’ on The Sugar Bites YouTube channel.
And how can people contact The Sugar Bites?
Through our instagram dm's or on Facebook :) https://www.instagram.com/sugarbites_official/ and https://www.facebook.com/Sugar-Bites-172875264303833
Finally, what plans do The Sugar Bites have for 2021?
We are currently working on new music, we’ll be releasing some new singles soon and you can expect a new album coming out at the end of 2021. We are also trying to book concerts so hopefully we’ll get to play live soon.