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An Interview with the Sundays
by: Tanya Labencki
McMaster Silhouette, March 1998

On Friday November 28th, 1997, at the Guvernment in Toronto, I
met Harriet Wheeler and David Gavurin of the Sundays. Being the mellow
band that the Sundays are, I didn't expect the canary yellow boots that
Wheeler wore, nevertheless, she, the vocalist, and Gavurin, the
guitarist, continued to delightfully surprise me. To begin with, this
couple (quite literally), are really nice, immediately making me feel
like an old friend of theirs. We chatted for a bit, then I listened to
what they had to say about meaning to their songs, being musicians, and
a little about their personal life--that mostly being theirdaughter.

The story behind the Sundays hit single Summertime mainly has to
do with their friends being disappointed in living as single. The song
in a way reflects a London magazine which is filled with personal ads,
and Wheeler describes this process of finding a mate as "What people
have to do and how they have to encapsulate themselves in...twelve words
or less". To add to the explanation and show his cute sense of humour,
Gavurin used the fictitious example "HATE SUNDAYS TOO?" as an opener for
one of the personals.

The interview continued with an explanation for the song
Monochrome, another song on their latest album, Static and Silence. The
song was written by both Wheeler and Gavurin, and surprising enough, is
fictitious, although sounding so personal. I later found
out that when writing, the Sundays use personal experiences usually as
backdrop only, although the new album is more personal. When I asked if
there was a connection between the lunar references in Monochrome and
the artwork on the album cover, I was told that the song came before the
artwork, and that the song really isn't about the moon.
Instead, "the whole idea is that it's not so much the fascination with
moon. The idea for that song was the idea of a child experiencing
something that adults see as important." Gavurin continued with saying,
"it's a child in an adult's world at that moment. That's
what we both remember."

Wheeler and Gavurin are experienced musicians, but admitted to
still being nervous before playing a gig. However, as to recording
their new album Static and Silence, the two were both very pleased with
the ease that the band found with the process. The band had taken a
break in the past few years, but this had no bearing to Wheeler and
Gavurin as musicians, as Gavurin says making music has a "riding (a)
bike element to it". He says the knowledge that you've gone through it
before really helps. As for naming the album, Gavurin said that "It's
the only album we've had where the title came up really, really
quickly".

Perhaps as solace, perhaps coincidence, maybe just friendly
chatting, Wheeler talked about her personal life and how upon meeting
the other members of the Sundays in college, the band had no clue what
they were going to do with their life. The band wasn't planned, and the
members never actually had "real jobs". As for major music influences,
other than what Wheeler describes as "classic preppy school band(s)"
that the band members were involved in, there were none. Of course the
Sundays listened to music like everyone else, bands such as Joy Division
and New Order, but they do not believe that they channelled music of
others into their own. What really humoured me
in this discussion was the mention of the Spice Girls by Wheeler at the
immediate asking of the question of influences, and the small talk about
one British band by another. No, the Sundays are not joining the Spice
Girls (what a pity!).

The interview began rolling to an end when we got to the band's
future. Both Wheeler and Gavurin see more touring and most likely more
recording, but the two really couldn't stop talking when it came to
their daughter. Parenthood obviously is an important facet of their
lives, but strangely enough they do not believe that being parents
has affected their writing. Wheeler contributed this to being ready for
motherhood as both her and Gavurin are now 34. The two really seemed
sure of their lives and where it's headed, something that many people
today find difficult.

As I left the overstuffed, patent leather looking couches and
swiss cheese walls of the Guvernment, Wheeler and Gavurin were off to
CFNY for another interview. Unfortunately I did not attend the show
that evening, but I did get to hear part of their sound check, and for
the Sundays it promised success, both musically and personally.