On the Record with Alumni Band SUN SPEAK


Vida Weisblum

Guitarist Matt Gold, OC ’13, and percussionist Nate Friedman, OC ’13, chat with the Review outside the Kohl Building. The duo, known as SUN SPEAK, performed on Thursday night.

Vida Weisblum, Arts Editor

Guitarist Matt Gold, OC ’13, and percussionist Nate Friedman, OC ’13, who perform as the band SUN SPEAK, performed together in Clonick Hall Thursday night. Before their performance, the duo, who were excited to debut some of their latest work from their new EP, Light Blue Light, spoke with the Review about Vietnamese food, Coltrane and returning to campus.

What is it like being back on campus?

Nate Friedman: All of the same people but none of the same people.

Matt Gold: It’s all of the same stuff and none of the same people. The Oberlin energy remains the same and constant, which is great.

So how did you meet, and how did SUN SPEAK get its start?

NF and MG: We met here…

MG: In the Jazz department. [We] started playing in a lot of bands together. And we were kind of playing duo in a really casual way, just between rehearsals and things like that — getting together and improvising, and we liked the way it sounded, so after we graduated, we went to the artist residency program in New Hampshire and spent three weeks writing some music and made a record up there, and now we live in Chicago. [SUN SPEAK] is our top musical priority.

How’d you pick the name SUN SPEAK?

MG: Well it was a combination of reading Moby Dick and drinking a lot of beer.

NF: That’s about right.

So you guys play electric chamber music. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

MG: That’s probably my territory [Friedman and Gold exchange a glance and chuckle]. I think, often this band gets labeled as a jazz group, but we much [and] we play with a lot of dynamics and pay attention to compositional subtlety.

NF: And we play mostly through composed music, which is an important aspect of our main identity.

What is your inspiration as musicians?

MG: [Laughs with Friedman] How many can we list? What’s the max? John Coltrane, really good Vietnamese food…

More specifically, what has been your most inspirational experience?

MG: For this particular music and this band, the artist residency was very helpful in generating the material. It’s called Avaloch Farm — it’s beautiful. It’s up in the woods in New Hampshire.

NF: [It] gave us an opportunity to write a lot of music and just dedicate a lot of time to [our album].

MG: [We were] working many hours every day for three weeks … and we

did [the program] again this year for two weeks just recently.

So what do you guys have planned for the concert tonight?

MG: We’re gonna rock some socks, play some new music…

NF: [Music] recently written at the residency program.

MG: Music written in the last couple of weeks. We’re gonna play a couple of things we put out on a record this year, which is called Light Blue Light.

What are your plans for the future of your band?

NF: We’re working on putting together an EP for the new material we just wrote, more touring, getting over to Europe [to do some touring] and doing some collaborative work with some guests.