Who Goes To A Sunn O))) Show?

7 March 2016 | 12:41 pm | Mark Hebblewhite

"If you want to understand what we are all about you have to come and see us live."

For most bands it's a matter of plugging in, doing a couple of sound checks and then playing. For the mighty Sunn O))) however, their wall of sound — part aural assault, part performance theatre spectacle — takes a fair bit of forward planning.

"Yeah, it's not just a matter of plugging in and going," confirms Nieuwenhuizen. "This is especially the case when we play outside the US or Europe. We always have a good time down in Australia — we've been there many times and played everywhere from Perth to Tasmania — but it can be hard getting the sound we want because of the equipment constraints. Usually in Europe and the US we use the model T amplifiers to really get our sound right. Last time in Australia we had to make do with power amps. But this time we've come prepared with Nitro model Ts — basically miniature copies of the ones we usually use. We faced the same situation when we played in Moscow last year and it really worked well — so I think the Australian shows are goings to go great."

"What we do is pretty unique — I don't really consider the band to be part of any one scene."

Nieuwenhuizen is also happy to confirm the shape of Sunn O)))'s Australian setlist. "Given we have been to Australia before, we'll be concentrating on the songs from the Kannon record, which only came out last year. We've been playing the same set now for a while, but gradually adding some stuff — and I should say that we are also thinking of playing a couple of songs that people may not have heard for over ten years."

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

"We'll also be playing with some great people including Steve Moore, who's coming down with us for the shows. I always enjoy myself in Australia but this time is going to be really special."

As to who goes to a Sunn O))) show Nieuwenhuizen himself is amazed at the walks of life he encounters. "We get everyone from youngsters to old people, to people from the metal scene and people involved in the arts scene. What's really great though is there are lots of people who have heard about us — they may not even be huge music fans — but they want to come and check us out. What we do is such an abstract thing — it's great for people to hear the records but word on the street is that if you want to understand what we are all about you have to come and see us live. It's interesting, actually, we've been around for a long time and people have always been curious, but with the new record it seems that newspapers are covering us more and our shows are getting better. I don't know what's happening."

Is Sunn O))) therefore becoming a portal to the extreme doom scene for people who might not otherwise check out Burning Witch or Shape Of Despair? "No I don't really think so," offers Nieuwenhuizen. "What we do is pretty unique — I don't really consider the band to be part of any one scene. But again, if we can inspire people to go out of their comfort zone and seek out new sounds that's great."