Sunshine & Bullets
Sunshine & Bullets, one end of the spectrum to the other, and that is just what they are trying to achieve. Consisting of, Amanda Hamers on vocals and bass, Richard Keane on guitar and vocals and Kyle Wolfram on drums. This band brings an upbeat, in your face, twist to the world of alternative rock.
They began in Tampa, Florida. The three of them were all working on separate projects until they decided to come together and see if they had a good sound. “We just jammed in Kyle’s living room and it was all improvised and we decided it was a good sound,” says Hamers. Then they needed a cool name to attach to their good sound which was a process says Keane, “We literally had five pages of band names and Amanda got sick of it. In the middle of Halloween Horror Nights she said the next name we say that is it and I was like bullets and sunshine…and we just flipped it.” The name depicts such a vast range of ideas which pairs perfectly with the band’s lyrics and music.
Wolfram says, “I think when we started, the thing that made us different, it is such a broad spectrum of song. We kind of have this captivating sound. It is very elemental and there is a lot to pay attention to but it’s in your face and I like it a lot.”
The band is known for having a slew of cell phones at their performances, fans recording the unpredictable instrumental portion to their show. The band says the idea for their newest song creations came from a fan suggestion. “A fan suggested we do the instrumental that we do at the end, which is weird and artsy; that we should try and bring that into our new stuff. We are trying to do that by bringing elemental feeling into the songs trying to go darker and make it unique,” says Keane.
Their improtu instrumental is what keeps the fans on their toes during the performance. You can never know what to expect from them when they let loose. “We don't really know and then we put it in the show and I will be in the intro and extend the intro and build the audience so it is all experimentation with the instrumental that is what really captivates them, then in the end and we all go wild and nuts,” says Hamers.
While they like to experiment with the instruments and sounds they have the same passion toward their lyrics. Hamers and Keane do most of the songwriting, but it is a collaborative effort. When they first began their songs were fun, upbeat like “Feel Good,” but now the band is shifting to more emotional lyrics and darker music. “Go” was really different, we have incorporated about 20-30 people who get the first mix and we get their feedback and they are really exciting about what is happening now it is becoming more emotional, more heartfelt, and people are downloading and listening to it all the time,” says Keane.
Hamers expressed how impacted she is when she finds out that their songs are a part of their fans everyday lives, that it is on their daily playlist. The connection the fans are feeling toward their songs is one of the most important and rewarding parts of the job they say. Hamers says all of this comes into play within their songwriting. “It is a lot of things combined. A lot of our first songs had double meanings, triple meanings and we kept that with storytelling and our emotional reserves of our feelings from the past and where we want to be in the future and how we can connect to the people who listen to our music. It is everything which is why I change lyrics a lot and one word can change the whole song.” Keane and Wolfram will tell you, Hamers is changing lyrics even while they are in the studio. “She doesn't make bad changes; it goes from that is pretty good to ‘wow what the hell’,” says Keane.
Each song is a new project to them, which makes them much more fun to listen to. They release songs as they record them so they are constantly producing new material. “The next album is going to be fun to write. We are trying to do some things, messing with our image. We will be doing a music video which will not be of the norm. We are working with visuals and some new stuff,” says Keane. Hamers points out another change you will notice in their new album. “Before, our style was all over the place. We decided to sing together and sound more unified; we sound like we are one band instead of 50 different bands.”
Sunshine & Bullets may be changing but they are still keeping true to their brave, experimental sound and vibe. They are passionate about keeping personally connected to their fans and always have them in mind when they make changes. They were presented with the question a while back in their career; “What are you doing differently from any other band?” They stepped up to the plate and decided to accept the challenge and stand out. With unique performances, emotional songwriting, and adventurous experimentation Sunshine & Bullets will continue to blow audiences away.
They have been touring through Florida for the start of 2013, including a couple stops in Daytona and Fort Myers. They make their Tampa comeback March at the State Theater. They will be performing with some other bands like NerVer and Adema. The also performed at the 97x Backyard BBQ. Speaking about the Backyard BBQ, “That was incredible. We went from 300 at the gate to 1500 watching us. They were not a normal crowd; they were intense, screaming and everything. I cannot think of another show that was so intense. We had Adema in the crowd in awe of what we were doing,” says Keane.
Altogether they are a great group of people who are truly talented at what they do. They are all unique in their own way. For instance, Keane needs an image to put to his compositions before any strings are plucked. In 5th grade Wolfram questioned why his teacher was teaching them how to hold drumsticks, “I was thinking, why do I need to learn this?” Hamers actually performed in a singing group when she was in elementary school. The cool thing about this band is that it is made up of cool people. Always staying true to their fans and to the reason they began.
“We hold them dear. Our Facebook has our personal pages and maybe it is amateur but people open their hearts to us. It is for more than music and the band. It is an all encompassing thing.”