Sunghosts on Miami’s music scene

Photo by Junette Reyes/FIUSM 

Junette Reyes/Editor-in-Chief

Diego Saldaña-Rojas/Opinion Director 

In collaboration with WRGP Radiate FM’s program titled Local Radiation, FIU Student Media has had the chance to interview several up-and-coming as well as established acts in the Miami scene.

Some of these artists include Panic Bomber, Smurphio from the local electronic funk band known as Afrobeta, Jean Jacket, The Cornerstoners, Flight Williams from the collective rap group known as Outta This World, Juan Turros and Michelle Forman of ¡Suénalo!, DJ and producer Jesse Perez, The Halfways, Millionyoung, Eagle Chief, Hunters of the Alps, vocalist Juan Rozas from Tremends, frontman Anthony Fernandez of The Vilifiers, Deaf Poets, Astronauts, Wilkes Oswald, Blue Jay, Beyond the Boundary, Kazoots, Lavola, Plastic Pinks, and Cog Nomen.


Diego Saldaña-Rojas/FIUSM

This time around, FIUSM got to sit down and interview lead vocalist and guitarist Nikolas Balseiro, bassist Jared Steingold, guitarist Arminio Rivero and drummer Luis Estopinan of Sunghosts.


Diego Saldaña-Rojas/FIUSM

You’re always really excited both on stage and off. Where do you get this energy from?

Arminio: It’s life man.

Jared: I think it’s a good blend of life and music and friendship.

Nikolas: We’re doing what we want to do and we’re all friends and we all happen to be guys who like laughter and dancing and just being goofy.

Luis: Just playing this music is a non-stop high energy that we will always have.

Nikolas: The music is the drug.


Diego Saldaña-Rojas/FIUSM

What are your musical influences?

Nikolas: Me personally, I have a Red Hot Chili Peppers on my right wrist and the Red Hot Chili Peppers got me into playing music. Watching their videos and reading the “Scar Tissue” book. I’m a big fan, I’m like a fanboy. So just the energy that they have in life and the music they play, dude that’s what got me into wanting to be in a band in the first place. I feel like that same energy now with this group, that’s why we’re always hyper and energetic. That’s why I do it. It’s beautiful.

Arminio: I really like The Strokes, The Arctic Monkeys, The Hives, The Whitest Boy Alive. Bands like that.

Luis: I freaking love every kind of genre out there up into whatever.

Jared: I’m like the odd man out. I like a lot of old school metal like all the old school Metallica and Pantera. But shoot, these guys showed me the tunes and everything and it was easy to get into because they were all just so cool and the vibes were so right on. I think it didn’t really matter where the influences came from, the influences came from us just getting along. That’s really what it is, the friendship band.


Diego Saldaña-Rojas/FIUSM

Tell us a bit about your current project.

Nikolas: Our first and only release so far is an EP called “Phosphenes,” which is a scientific name for that phenomenon that happens when you stare at the sun or a light and when you look away, you still see the shadow of the sun. So it’s kind of like a cool reference to the whole Sunghosts idea. So it’s just three of the first original songs we wrote: “Till the City Goes Under,” “Teazr,” and a song called “Indecision Incision.” We just self recorded them using a program on my MacBook Pro and got it out to iTunes and Spotify and it’s all over the place now. It’s really cool to hear our friends say “Oh I was listening to it at work the other day.” People are listening to it and saying “Oh what band is this?” And it’s just really cool to hear that type of stuff, the impact we’re already having.

Arminio: It somehow made it to the U.K. Some blog in the U.K. called “Killing Moon” put us up as the track of the day one or two days after.

Nikolas: They called it the “sun-drenched” track of the day.

Arminio: So now we’re using that, we’re calling our music sun-drenched garage rock.


Diego Saldaña-Rojas/FIUSM

In terms of garage rock, are you inspired by a specific era of garage rock?

Arminio: I’d say more modern but I really like the 60s stuff too.

Nikolas: But all the modern bands are influenced by the 60s, so you get indirect influence.

How do you feel the garage rock scene is doing here in Miami?

Arminio: I think it is doing better. I see more bands of that style coming out, emerging. People seem to be leaning towards that style of music rather than before you would see a lot of post-harcore. Now there’s more garage rock.

Would you say there’s an audience for it here?

Arminio: There’s an audience, there’s definitely an audience.

Nikolas: There are so many people out here who love indie-rock in general. The Arctic Monkeys, that place got packed at that concert. There are not that many bands that play that down here so you know there’s an audience when you go to The Fillmore and it’s completely sold out and there are girls that are crying because of Alex Turner. So there is the audience. They live here. It’s pretty much like a strange secluded sector of the U.S. because it’s like another country but it’s in the country. But we all grew up with the same American media, we grew up watching the same movies and T.V. and listen to the same music but we don’t get that same reception. We don’t have the same types of scenes or the same events going on because Miami is so different and kind of governed by different people. The music scene is something that is slowly building up and it’s always been a tough journey, but I feel it.


Diego Saldaña-Rojas/FIUSM

What do you think about the music scene in Miami as a whole?

Arminio: It needs improvement but there are some good bands.

Nikolas: There is a lot of good talent down here, a lot of kids that like good music.

Arminio: There’s talent but not enough people that appreciate it.

Nikolas: The venues gotta step their stuff up. The way I see it, Seatle had it’s breaking out, and LA and New York and all these places had their scenes. At one point there wasn’t a scene but then there was a little big bang and then there was a scene. But it hasn’t happened in Miami yet. I know plenty of people that are like “I need to leave Miami,” and they go because they want to succeed artistically somewhere else. But if you don’t try hard here, when is that big bang going to happen in Miami? That’s actually what are song “Till the City Goes Under” is about. Miami youth have a lot of potential and the whole song in metaphors talks about us having magic in us but how we’re detained by evil warlocks, a lot of conservative parents that are stuck in their ways and don’t want their kids become their own person and do what they want. It’s very stifling creatively for a lot of the kids that are here. So that song is about that and I just felt like that message needed to be out there so people can understand the current state of Miami so we can help it break out. 

1 Comment on "Sunghosts on Miami’s music scene"

  1. This is awesome.

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