Out from the clouds: SUNNN overcomes obstacles to complete first album

The band SUNNN is back and better than ever with a new lineup: Matthew Fisanick, Chloe Choudhury, Patrick Terry and James Davenport (left to right). Photo courtesy of SUNNN

By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

When the band SUNNN was formed in 2021, Sugarland junior and lead singer Chloe Choudhury probably couldn’t have seen where it would go.

But in the three years since, the band has performed in several venues throughout Waco and on campus, released an EP and filmed its first music video, and now, it is preparing to release its first full-length album.

But it hasn’t been without its hiccups. After changing three of the five members of the original lineup, Choudhury and The Colony junior and guitarist Matthew Fisanick have had to go back to the drawing board to rerecord that album.

Choudhury called replacing those members an “interesting situation,” but it’s one that looks promising. They have a new drummer, Patrick Terry, as well as a new bassist, James Davenport.

“I’m really excited,” Choudhury said. “These new people are extremely talented and very professional. They really want to see SUNNN continue on where it’s going, which I’m very happy about.”

When it comes to recording old songs all over again, Fisanick said it feels like a “new beginning” for the band.

“The old songs that we did, we’re having [new members] play on it now, and it sounds a little bit different,” Fisanick said. “But it’s like … growth and pushing forward, still kind of like trimming leaves, if you will.”

Finding new members was a trial of its own, according to Fisanick. It can be hard to find the right fit on a personal and musical level, and you have to have both.

“Sometimes it’s hard, I feel like, to find people that are good [and] you vibe with them when you’re playing music too,” Fisanick said. “It doesn’t always work out like that. And when we first played with our new drummer, we loved him and we just got along really well. And so it’s been good that we’ve been able to find people where we just feel good about everything.”

Once they found Terry and Davenport, they realized they had to redo the album with the new lineup, seeing as the original recordings were done before any changes were made. At first, the task of redoing the album with the new lineup seemed daunting.

“It’s like, you take 10 steps forward, and then you take 100 steps back,” Choudhury said. “But I think we’ve adapted really quickly, and I can’t wait to rerecord. At the time that lineup changes had occurred, pretty much everything was laid down. It just had to be mixed and mastered.”

But it turned out to be a good thing in the end. The new recordings feel true to who they are as a band, according to Choudhury, and having a fresh set of ears has been a huge advantage.

“Honestly, I think it’s a great opportunity to be able to redo so much because it gives us more time to really make sure they’re up to the standards we want them to be, and they’re sounding good,” Choudhury said. “We’re excited to release them instead of just rushing to get them out.”

While a date hasn’t been set for the album’s release, the band is tentatively hoping to drop it this summer. But in the meantime, its first music video is out, for the song “Just Pretend,” featuring the new members and a whole lot of indie energy.

The idea to create a music video wasn’t one that comes naturally to Choudhury, a geosciences major and a member of ROTC, or Fisanick, a math major with a biochemistry minor.

“This is another really cool kind of thing that came together for us just in this period of uncertainty,” Choudhury said. “There’s some other really great creators like Bolaji, who is someone [that] came into our lives that is super passionate about film and super talented — like insanely talented. … And just to have another person that’s passionate about something like that is like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to do it. Of course, let’s do it right now. When can we start?’”

So the band filmed and released its very first music video all within a month, and this year, it is hoping to branch out to gigs in Austin, Dallas and Houston. The skies are looking clear for SUNNN.

Though the forecast is bright now, the outlook was once a lot more gloomy. Choudhury said her and Fisanick’s busy schedules and lineup struggles almost made them call it quits. The thought was scary, seeing as they had put so much time into it — that would be “kind of like letting the opps win,” as Choudhury put it.

Just at the point when Choudhury and Fisanick felt like it might be time for the sun to set, she got a message from an acquaintance, another Waco creative by the name of Ryan the Son, and it felt like a sign.

“He just totally out of the blue sent us a DM like, ‘You guys definitely have a space here. You have a voice. Keep up what you’re doing. You’re doing such a great job, like you guys are killing it. And you know, people love what you’re doing, so just never stop what you’re doing,’” Choudhury said.

Serendipitous? Definitely, Choudhury said.

“That was kind of like a sign that was like, ‘No, this is a stepping stone for you,’” Choudhury said. “Like, this is a little test to see how you’re going to adapt and overcome it. That’s kind of how I chose to take it.”