Sunflower Bean

Young New York dreamers Sunflower Bean sing, write and draw their way through our illuminating new Scene Stealers interview


Sunflower Bean is one of the year’s most talked about young bands, bringing invigorated interest to the woozy, dreamy psychedelia of another time and place. Co-vocalist and bassist Julia Cumming has garnered attention for her pristine voice, which she uses to surreal effect, as well as her casual yet commanding personal style – by now, you’ve no doubt noticed her narrow, imposing blonde figure in Saint Laurent ads and the Fashion Week front row. After curating a wicked Summer Psych playlist for M·A·C Tracks (check it out on Spotify!), Sunflower Bean opened up about what makes them tick (and their songs so sick). In this multi-sensory Q&A, Cumming and her bandmates draw, sing, photograph and wax poetic through their inspirations, excitations and of-the-moment diversions.

My happy colour is…
Jacob: Sad to say but probably black. It’s what I feel most comfortable in!
Julia: My happy colour is pink.
Nick: Black.

Describe your favourite song as a character:
Jacob: One of my favourite songs is “I’m Waiting for the Man” by The Velvet Underground and if I were to describe it as a character, I’d say that this person is very patient…

Tell us about a time when someone helped you with something important.
Jacob:  On the last tour we did, we brought along this really amazing band Weaves and we were sharing some gear with them and every night the drummer, Spencer, would help me break down my kit! Seems like a silly thing but he totally didn’t have to and it made me really happy.
Julia: Our friend Matt helped produce our first album, and I would say that is pretty important. I don’t think we could have made it the way that it is without him.
Nick: My two closest friends from high school (Ian and Tony) are always there for me.

Sing your favorite line of a song.





Aside from what I already do, I wish I could learn to…
Jacob: I wish I could be better at home recording.  It something that I’ve dabbled in over the years...more so in high school when I had more free time.  But it is definitely something I would like to get good at!
Julia: Aside from what I already do, I wish I could learn how to play drums and get better at Logic!
Nick: Calm down and just relax and not have to be stressed out all the time.

“My spirit animal? One of those fainting goats.” – Julia

Film title that describes your life story:
Jacob: The Man Who Drives.
Julia: 13 going on 30.
Nick: Troll 2.

One word that describes your relationship to creativity:
Jacob: Necessary?
Julia: Determined.
Nick: Spontaneity.

Draw your childhood home or your first memory.




Tell us your favourite thing to eat or cook, in a short poem.
Jacob: I love to
            I love to
            I love to eat
            and when it is in my mouth
            the pizza tastes so good that
            I love to
           Eat and I become a pizza face.

Julia: Red Curry
          Red and creamy
          Hot and Steamy
          Bowl of pleasure

Nick: Breakfast Burrito!

One surefire style secret or tip?
Jacob: Just wear whatever you want that makes YOU feel the most comfortable.
Julia: Wear Black!
Nick: Men’s clothing sucks, go to the women’s section!

Your guiltiest pleasure?
Jacob: Listening to an album too much that it ruins it for everyone else.
Julia: Spending a whole day watching television wrapped in a blanket.
Nick: Watching the nerdiest shit you could ever imagine on the Internet.

Send us a recent favorite candid you don’t mind sharing.

A book that changed your life and why?
Julia: Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. It has a lot of really good points about making art and getting used to being with yourself.
Nick: I can’t really list them all, but the last book I read was All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy. My favourite book of all time is The Stranger.

Most embarrassing social situation?
Julia: One time, also at an open mic, as an early teenager, my old bandmate told me a joke right before we went on stage, and I literally peed my pants while we were playing because I was laughing so hard.

Tell us one thing that not many people know about you.
Jacob: I used to play the saxophone!
Julia: I used to have a Brian Wilson shrine that took over my whole room.
Nick: I’m a natural-born collector. I like to hoard certain things. Thrifting for junk is one of my passions in life.

The perfect last day on Earth is…
Jacob: Spending the day hanging out with my girlfriend, Crista.
Julia: Listening to music, hanging out in a park, having a picnic, with all of the people I love.
Nick: Alone in my room. No lights, no people.

Your spirit animal:
Jacob: An extremely punctual sloth.
Julia: One of those fainting goats.
Nick: Dolphin or a hyena.

Favourite meme:
Nick: Right now I’m super into “Dat Boi!” It is the first meme that is self-referential and I think that is really interesting.
Julia: “Don’t talk to me or my son ever again!”