Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio

Sunflower Bean perform their song 'Come For Me' from their 2019 EP, 'King of the Dudes,' live in The Current studio. (Mary Mathis | MPR)
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Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio (full session + interview) 19:44
  • Sunflower Bean - Come For Me (Live at The Current) 03:16
  • Sunflower Bean - Fear City (Live at The Current) 03:10
  • Sunflower Bean - King of the Dudes (Live at The Current) 02:44

Sunflower Bean's latest full-length album, Twentytwo in Blue, was released in March 2018. Less than a year later, the band released the EP, King of the Dudes, which dropped on Jan. 25 of this year. "We just ended up going to L.A. and working with this guy, Justin Raisen, and really experimenting with a different side of ourselves as usual," explains Sunflower Bean frontperson and bassist Julia Cummings. "We made King of the Dudes, and it's kind of taken on a life of its own because I think it's a lot of fun."

And idea of fun felt like a fresh new thread for the band to pursue. "There are endless amounts of sadness and quietness that indie rock is allowed to delve into and I'm sure we will all delve into for the rest of our musical lives," Cummings says, "but I think for a moment we wanted to have a space to celebrate that [fun] side of ourselves, and to celebrate female and my sexuality and aggressiveness in a strange and fun way."

While on tour with fellow New Yorkers Interpol, Sunflower Bean — Cummings, along with Nick Kivlen, guitar; Jacob Faber, drums; and Danny Ayala, keyboards — stopped at The Current for a session hosted by Mac Wilson.

The idea of making a fun record seemed to be influenced a bit by osmosis. "If you're in an Uber or a grocery store, you hear what's going on in the pop charts even if you don't want to. All these things end up seeping into you and you respond to them, especially if you're an artist," Cummings explains.

From that exposure, Cummings says she and her bandmates were inspired by Cardi B. "One thing that I think is so interesting about her is the levels of entertainment she that brings to a song — like sexuality, comedy, entertainment — she brings an entire universe," Cummings says. "I think that was something we wanted to do with the EP in bringing something that was really sharp and powerful — and fun!"

Beyond making music, Cummings has launched an activism group called Anger Can Be Power, which has organized several politically engaged events in and around New York. Cummings has even co-hosted an event with U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Something the work with Anger Can Be Power has taught Cummings is just how accessible elected officials are. "These people are all around all the time," Cummings says. "They do town halls, they are around trying to make it happen, and if you want to find them and if you want to engage with them, they're right there."

Looking ahead, Sunflower Bean look to play festivals this summer, with Cummings looking to balance her music work with her community activism. Through it all, Cummings and her bandmates embrace flexibility. "We've been growing up in the public eye, in a sense; we've been figuring out who we are as people and as young adults and as artists, while putting out music into the world and kind of doing that on display, which I think sometimes the world views as scattered," Cummings says. "Trying to confine, especially a young band, into doing the same thing they did on the last record or anything like that is actually really sad for art on the whole, because I think it really discourages experimentation."

Use the audio player above to listen to the complete studio session with Sunflower Bean.

Songs Performed


"Come For Me"
"Fear City"
"King of the Dudes"
All songs from Sunflower Bean's 2019 EP, King of the Dudes, available on Mom + Pop Music.

Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Cameron Wiley
Visuals by Mary Mathis
Web feature by Luke Taylor

External Links

Sunflower Bean - official site

Anger Can Be Power - official site

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9 Photos

  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Julia Cummings of Sunflower Bean performing in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Sunflower Bean drummer Jacob Faber performs in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Sunflower Bean's Julia Cummings performs in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Sunflower Bean guitarist Nick Kivlen performing in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Sunflower Bean's Jacob Faber performing in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Danny Ayala of Sunflower Bean performing in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean perform in The Current studio
    Julia Cummings of Sunflower Bean performs in The Current studio (Mary Mathis | MPR)
  • Sunflower Bean
    Sunflower Bean - 'King of the Dudes' EP (Mom + Pop Music)

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