The Sun and The Wolf haven’t always been that. Once upon a time named The Have, they had a manager, a solid fan base in their home country New Zealand, played SXSW in Austin and Barrett Jones produced their album. Things were working out nicely for the band, the future looked bright. However, they had reached a point when a challenge was required and decided to try their luck somewhere else. They packed up and headed for Berlin. The move wasn’t without casualties, losing two band members in the process but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get those artistic juices flowing.
Consequently The Have became The Sun and the Wolf and have been playing all over Berlin ever since the move here in the spring of 2009. Their sound has developed in a more psych-rock direction from the bluesy feel of The Have and made them one of the best bands playing around at the moment.
In early November I talked to two of the members, Peter and Brodie, right before an acoustic gig at a new venue in Wedding, Studio Acht.
Why did you take the plunge and move to Berlin without having been here before?
Brodie: I think it was kind of a leap of faith. We were at a point in New Zealand where we’ve done a bunch of stuff and I don’t think there was so much of a place yet for us there.
Peter: I don’t know. I think we were just kind of bored.
Brodie: Yeah, I guess maybe restless.
Peter: We needed a drastic change because we were all creatively done and moving was going to either make or break the band. Another reason why I moved over because none of has had an overseas experience.
You lost two band members.
Brodie: The keys player wasn’t one of the core members but the bass player was and he didn’t want to come over with us so it ended up being just the three of us. Me, Peter and Mike, the drummer. We just kind of started as two guitars and drums as The Sun and The Wolf in Berlin.
You changed your name after you moved here right?
Brodie: Yeah, I think we did a couple of shows as The Have and then we thought we should mark this as a new start and cast away the shackles of the old days. That kind of thing.
So how is this adventure going for you?
Brodie: It’s been fantastic…so far.
Peter: It’s not so much an adventure now as just life. The first year was an adventure but now we’ve all settled in to life here.
Do you think you’ve grown as artists since you’ve moved here?
Brodie: Definitely. We’ve grown in more ways than just as musicians. With life experience you gain inspiration for everything and music is definitely one of the areas is that is affected.
Your direction in music has changed since the time as The Have. What would you say was the major influence that contributed to this change?
Brodie: With The Have it was more blues-rocky. I think it was a natural progression from where we were going. I just think that the drastic change of lifestyle brought about a more drastic change in music.
Peter: I don’t think the music would be any different if we were still called The Have, I think it would eventually come to be what it is now regardless of the change in lifestyle.
What are the major differences between developing as a musician in Berlin and New Zealand?
Peter: I think in New Zealand there is much more support for artists from the government. We had a really big manager over there and here we don’t have anything. I don’t know if it’s wrong. It’s just gone backwards. [laughs]
Brodie: We’re kind of carrying the load of looking after our own affairs and all that kind of stuff.
Is there anything you miss?
Peter: I think it’s probably that which we miss the most, just the support we had.
Do you find that maybe the struggle is pushing you forward musically?
Peter: I find it that if you’re struggling to get by day to day it’s kind of hard to make music. For me the easiest time to make music is when you feel very comfortable.
You just recorded a new album titled White Buffalo. How did the recording go?
Peter: It was pretty easy. We recorded it pretty quickly. It took us a while to mix it to get it sounding pretty good as we used really basic equipment. We weren’t in a massive professional studio or anything. We just did it with our friend Frank Popp. He produced and recorded it with us.
Brodie: We kind of blocked out three weeks to make a recording. We did it at a leisurely but a swift pace. It was good.
Peter: Just because we had a lot of time to work on sounds, different parts of the song. We were free to do whatever we wanted to.
Any particular songs on the album that you’re close to?
Peter: I think “You” is one.
Brodie: Yeah, “You” definitely is one.