Oct 28, 2021
By Caleb Campbell
Indie pop band Anna Sun initially began as a solo project from singer/songwriter Samantha Aneson, though the band has since expanded to a three-piece. Aneson joined up with bassist Andrew Shewaga and drummer Nikola Balać, her previous bandmates in Americana outfit Satin Nickel. Together the band pulls together a dreamy genre-fluid mix, taking inspiration from dream pop, indie rock, and emo. The band debuted with their first single, “Mine,” and today they’ve shared their latest effort, “Mr. Midnight” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Mr. Midnight” is another alluring creative rabbit hole from the band. The band constantly goes in unexpected directions, flying effortlessly between dreamy pop balladry and whirlwind instrumental breaks. Shewaga’s loping melodic bassline anchors the song, while Balać’s propulsive drumming launches the track into the stratosphere when necessary. Aneson serves as the track’s focal point, her impressive vocal performance alternating between sultry and soaring as she pens an ode to a no-strings-attached relationship.
Aneson says of the track, “This was one of my favorite songs to work on with Nikola (drums) and Andrew (bass). They came up with such killer parts. I remember not really understanding the direction in which I was going, stylistically, specifically with the chaotic breaks before the chorus and at the end. Chaos Prechoruses, if you will. I remember, as it usually goes, as soon as Nikola came in with his impulses on the drums, it came together. It was rad. Combine that with the melodic bass line Shwogs threw in, it’s definitely one of my favorite songs.”
Check out the song below along with our accompanying Q&A with Samantha Aneson, where we go into the band, song, and their upcoming debut EP.
Was your band name taken from Samantha’s last name?
Correct! Pronounced the same as Aneson 🙂
How did you all meet and start playing together?
I met Nikola through our mutual friend, Camille. She was visiting New York and staying with me, and she insisted I meet her amazing friend Nikola, so we went to the restaurant at which he bartended. We spoke at length about music, and he was looking for a band to play in, and I was looking for a drummer! Kismet. So we linked up, and we’ve been best friends and bandmates ever since.
I poached Shwogs from my friend Celine’s band ;). We shared a bill, and soon after I asked Andrew to play with us.
I know you all played together in the folk / Americana group Satin Nickel. What led to the change in direction with Anna Sun?
I had been asked to play a few gigs with my solo project, and, as it developed, I wanted to bring in more personnel. I eventually asked Nikola and Shwogs to play with me because of our pre-established band connection, but I also knew they would connect more to this style of music than folk-rock.
Anna Sun was my bedroom pop project that just became a way to explore songwriting without the boundaries of a specific genre. Anna Sun has a little bit of everything, and we’re able to go in whatever direction we want, so it’s more exciting.
I also saw you made your live debut this summer as well. How did that go?
We actually had played before COVID under the name “Korra,” which is my producer pseudonym. Just a few shows under our belt before quarantine, and, since we lost most of our bandmembers from Satin Nickel, we decided to work on the project throughout 2020. It became our main focus from then on.
We played Bowery Electric once concerts started resuming, in May of 2021. It was so lovely to return to live shows with a more fleshed-out version of our project. The show went really well, and we sold out, which was a surprise because of how new we are. We have a lot of great friends.
You’ve also announced your debut EP today. What song on the EP are you most excited about right now?
I think I can speak for all of us in that “Mr. Midnight” is our favorite. It’s definitely the most fun to play, but it’s such a great fusion of styles. Really excited for everyone to hear it.
What are some of the stylistic inspirations behind your new EP?
We each put a bit of our own styles into the arrangement of every song. The songs themselves are also distinctly different in style. There are pop songs, indie rock, emo, alternative. Each with a little bit of everything.
You can definitely hear some Rilo Kiley, No Doubt, Cigarettes After Sex. My songwriting is very Jenny Lewis and Mac DeMarco with a bunch of angst.
Is there a story behind your new single, “Mr. Midnight?”
The song came out of a conversation I was having with a friend once. I had been hooking up with a guy who was trying to set up strong boundaries so he wouldn’t lead me on. I didn’t want anything serious with him, so it was irritating to me. I said to my friend, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to fuck me!” And bam. Song idea was born.