Sun Hound ‘go big or go home’ at Taffy’s of Eaton

Photo: Sun Hound’s (l-r) Nicole Pyeritz and Jessica Fisch bring a full-band sound to Taffy’s June 2

By Gary Spencer

Some may call it fate, but most rock duos don’t start out as a twosome—usually some circumstance or happy accident takes a band from a multi-piece unit down to just two members. Oftentimes pared down groups, such as The Black Keys and Local H, go on to enjoy significant success. While the happy accident approach applies to Pittsburgh-based duo Sun Hound, slated to play Taffy’s on June 2, the band is working hard to make sure the success bit doesn’t skip over them.

“I had placed an ad on Craigslist looking to start a band, and after quite a few configurations with other guitarists, the two of us seemed to stick,” says Sun Hound drummer Nicole Pyeritz of her partner in crime, keyboardist Jessica Fisch. “So we started writing as a duo, and we felt it was much more original and unique at the time than what we had been writing working with guitarists.”

Somehow the pair make it work, drawing inspiration from the musicians in both their families.

“My father played the drums, and I always had an interest in learning to play too,” Pyeritz explains. “Jess’s great-great grandfather was an accomplished piano player, and she’s always pulled inspiration from him.”

Despite what could be seen as limited instrumentation and, in turn, a potentially limited sound, the duo’s music is surprisingly robust sonically and runs the gamut from a variety of eras, styles, and musical influences.

“[We have a] jammable, thick, full band and vintage-like sound with a gruesome keyboard, volcanic drums, and sweet and savory vocals,” Fisch says. “We draw a lot of inspiration from ’50s and ’60s blues and rock legends and the alternative, grunge, and pop music of the ’90s and 2000s. There is already a huge mix of genre in music of recent decades, and growing up listening to that variety has definitely influenced our style. Nicole’s favorite band is The Monkees and mine is Pink Floyd; our mutually favorite artist is Janis Joplin. We are influenced by what we love. Other favorites include Ray Charles, The Doors, Fiona Apple, Queens of the Stone Age, Hanson, Muse, Betty Davis, Sister Nancy, and Destiny’s Child.”

Likewise, the inspiration for Sun Hound’s lyrics is drawn from a wide range of influences.

“[Our lyrics are about] anything involving humor, humans, and anything that channels a release of some sort, in me during writing and/or to a listener,” Fisch explains. “We are all beautiful and flawed beings, the irony of that paradox will forever breed lyrical content. Lust and love are themes, although we try and stay away from heartbreak and major clichés. ‘Go big or go home’ is achieved somewhere in all of our songs.”

This “go big or go home” approach to songwriting is thoroughly explored on Sun Hound’s 2013 EP, Greytone Songs, and their 2015 full-length, self-titled album. The group is currently working on a new EP for release later this year. Even in that short time span, the group has grown quite a bit musically and conceptually.

“Our original material was very psychedelic and blues-based, which is a huge influence for both of us, but since then, we’ve developed into a sound that pulls influences from all over the music spectrum, including rock, grunge, funk, reggae, jazz, rockabilly, even classical,” Pyeritz says. “Songs always come about in different ways. Sometimes it starts with a melody or starts with a beat one of us has, but most of the time we just play until something sticks and go from there.”

The duo is looking forward to showing everyone who attends their live show what they are all about, claiming they are a much different animal in concert.

“We really strive to make every show a different experience,” Pyeritz says. “Hearing us live compared to our recordings is a much rawer sound. When recording there is a lot of room for adding little nuances, where live it’s just drums, keyboard, and vocals. The greatest compliment we seem to receive is that people think there is a full band playing, and when they walk into the room, it’s just the two of us there. That is exactly what we aim for!”

And while Sun Hound, like every fledgling group on the independent circuit, desires to make it to the big time one day, they are happy to enjoy the trip along the way, one show at a time.

“The highlights happen any time we get our audience to dance or sing along with us,” Fisch explains. “That makes the show for us and gives us a huge energy boost—a milestone every time that happens.”

Sun Hound play Friday, June 2 at Taffy’s, 123 E. Main St. in Eaton. Show starts at 8 p.m. and is free. For more information, please find Sun Hound on Facebook or visit
TaffysOfEaton.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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