Sunflower Bean‘s fiery live show is one of the band’s defining qualities, as evidenced by their set at SPIN’s SXSW showcase. That energy and intensity also translates off the stage: The New York trio are vocal in standing up for important causes, including women’s and trans rights.
“We very much have always had the unified belief that you shouldn’t wait until you get to this perceived place and then you, like, ‘stand for the elephants’ or something — even though I love the elephants, so nothing against them,” says Sunflower Bean singer Julia Cumming. sh”If you’re really out here taking up space and having a platform, in a way, I feel you do have a right to — and a responsibility to — fight for what you care about.”
Sunflower Bean sometimes address these issues in their music. One example is “Otherside”: The track, which appears on 2022’s Headful of Sugar, finds Cumming singing about having an abortion and feeling alone. “That was a way more involved, complicated, emotional, terrifying experience than I really felt was actually being talked about,” Cumming says. They also wound up playing a secret show (under the fake name the Champagne Taste) as part of a fundraiser for the New York Abortion Access Fund.
“Raising money is a great thing to do, but also, just not being afraid to talk about it,” Cumming says. “I think that’s a big thing that we can do for each other to create more community and feel a little bit better.”
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