The ways of musical success are many. Anna Wise and Dane Orr, the partnership behind Sonnymoon, could tell you. A "Boston band" without a signficant local club profile, they've nonetheless created a ripple of national buzz and recognition. And though their artistry may be enigmatic, and the music itself not easy to classify, that doesn't mean it's not working.
Sonnymoon was conceived in late 2009, producing their entire debut album, Golden Age, in an apartment Wise and Orr shared while attending Berklee. Even from the beginning, the two had limited visions of what they wanted Sonnymoon to be or sound like. "We just aimed to create," says Orr. "We had been used to playing a lot of formulaic stuff, so for Sonnymoon, we didn't really want to know what it would sound like, we just both knew we wanted to make music."
Three years later, they've been fueled by the success of their critically acclaimed self-titled LP released last May. They split time between Los Angeles, where they live part time, and Boston, which they continue to call home. The innovative electronic sound they've constructed gathers influences both from ambient realms and the more accessible avenues of hip-hop, and it's gained them the attention of a varied fanbase as well as the respect of fellow artists. These artists include hip-hop trio CunninLynguists, who have collaborated with Wise, and Kendrick Lamar, who featured her on his recent groundbreaking album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city. For a band still in their infancy, their résumé is both vast and diverse. So why have Sonnymoon remained a mystery to many, especially in Boston, where they have their deepest roots?
For one, they didn't take the traditional path of a local band. Instead of gigging regularly around town, Sonnymoon accrued a more widespread fanbase over the Internet — gaining a dedicated Facebook following and creating music videos that have gone viral. But none of this was part of a marketing strategy. Tom Eucalitto, the band's agent and road manager on behalf of Boston-based music company, GHouse, insists that the attention Sonnymoon have received from critics and artists alike is due to creativity and work ethic. "They have helped me to realize that starting a movement is truly about having the guts to stand out," says Eucalitto. "Their ability to empower others through music is greater than any sort of marketing tool."
Sonnymoon are hard at work on their next LP, and spend the rest of their time touring with a band that includes drummer Joe Welch and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Randall, while pursuing new collaborations. That element of mystery is something they value. "Our lifestyle and artistry will always be interconnected," says Wise. "Right now, we continue to approach it with wonderment, excitement, and curiosity."
>> PERRY@ALLSTONPUDDING.COM :: @PERRYEATON