Is your life hectic and overwhelming? Do you find it hard to stay on an even keel? Are opposing forces constantly pulling you in different directions?
Center yourself by pressing play on Native Sun’s new single “Palindrome.”
New York musicians Danny Gomez (guitar/vocals), Alexis Castro (drums), Mo Martinez (bass) and Jake Pflum (guitar) released their debut single “Palindrome” last week on Glassnote Records. The track channels the post-punk of Sonic Youth, while balancing energies of passion and anger.
“Sort of like what it feels like to walk a hectic block or ride the subway,” Gomez describes the song. “Urban sounds, you know?”
Pflum says the track conveys “reflective awareness” and “reactionary energy.” It’s a mix custom made for its era.
“We live in a time that requires both,” he tells BTRtoday. “’Palindrome’ is our example of trying to balance those opposites to create a cohesive whole.”
Native Sun are playing three different upcoming Brooklyn shows. Experience them create the perfect yin to your yang right in front of your eyes at Baby’s All Right on Aug. 9, Union Pool Aug. 16 and Our Wicked Lady Sept. 6. And if you really want to keep yourself balanced, catch their debut EP out this fall.
Read the interview with Native Sun below—we talk about the lack of equality in NYC’s music scene, the creative process in “Palindrome” and being a band born of immigrants.
BTRtoday (BTR): You’ve been in the NYC music scene for a while now, has it gone up and down for you?
Danny Gomez (DG): Honestly, I would say things remain pretty constant. It’s about people and behavior is pretty repetitive. Most of the people I’ve met throughout the years couldn’t have been nicer or more supportive, but, like, for every coin there’s two sides.
The NYC music scene is accessible to musicians but has its issues. I wish there was a little more accessibility for diversity and opportunities for individuals regardless of their gender or ethnic background. I think it’s a problem that things have to adhere to a formula to get support. That said, I love this city and am thankful for everyone that supports our music scene. But maybe we should take more chances and actually aim for equality. Who wants to listen to another band of four white dudes from Brooklyn all the time?
BTR: What kind of influences went into the debut single “Palindrome?”
Alexis Castro (AC): Danny and I started messing around with “Palindrome” back in 2014 I believe, and there’s a really early demo version I have saved on my computer as “Sonic Youth.” We had to title the file something, and the main riff and drums felt super Sonic Youth-y to me, so we rolled with that.
DG: Yeah, I think I rewrote this track four different times over the years until finally getting the version that sounded closest to the sound in my head. I like how the song’s rhythm drives it to give a bleak, yet anxious atmosphere to the track… Sort of like what it feels like to walk a hectic block or ride the subway. Urban sounds, you know?
Jake Pflum (JP): A combination of both reflective awareness that creates a reactionary energy. We live in a time that requires both. “Palindrome” is our example of trying to balance those opposites to create a cohesive whole.
BTR: How was the creative process for your upcoming EP?
DG: It’s varied both musically and lyrically throughout it, giving each song their own unique personality while still maintaining its coherence. Themes range from broader social topics such as masochism or transgenderism to a more personal muse, subjects, and experiences.
For example, “Sister” tells the story of the drag queens that used to takeover Don Pedro’s on Monday nights and create the most authentic and wild performance art I’d seen in my life.
Also, there’s bird sounds on one track… If you’re into that.
BTR: Where are you all from?
AC: I was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. My parents moved there from Mexico City in the late ‘80s with my older brother. I grew up in a quiet little town called Gilroy, right outside of San Jose. Gilroy sucks and if anyone knows of it it’s probably because it’s known as the Garlic Capital of The World. That’s about as interesting as Gilroy gets.
DG: I was born in Cartagena, Colombia and forced to emigrate to the US when I was seven. After that I grew up in the Fort Lauderdale area of South Florida, coincidentally a few houses down from Jake. Then I moved to NYC for college when I was 18 and have been here ever since. Slowly making my way up north through the years. Maybe I’ll make it to the North Pole by 67?
JP: I was born and raised in South Florida. Danny and I actually first met in middle school. I relocated to New York City in 2015 almost immediately after graduating college.
BTR: Was there a point in your life where it just clicked and you knew you wanted to be a musician?
DG: When I moved to this country I’d help my dad vacuum offices for extra cash. It was excruciating work and we’d have to wake up at like four in the morning on the weekends, but I’d do it in exchange for a new CD every week. Eventually I just decided to buy that Mel Bay’s chord book or whatever bullshit it is called and a cheap acoustic, which somehow has survived to this day, to teach myself how to play guitar so I could write songs. My only goal has always been that—just to write songs.
AC: I still don’t feel comfortable referring to myself as a musician, honestly. I feel like it’s kind of a disrespect to people who have done it their whole lives. I’ve only really been playing drums for a total of about a year maybe, and I can’t play any other instruments.
JP: I remember breaking a few bones in my hand from skateboarding and having to wear a cast when I was about 11 years old, right around the time I was just starting to learn to play the guitar. I sat in my room and shifted my fingers around in my cast until I was able to form a power chord so I could still play the guitar, even with the cast on. That was probably the moment I realized that playing music was all I would ever truly want to do.