“We were free associating and ping-ponging ideas back and forth via text message for about a day and it came up. It came to represent two complimentary ideas or duality and the possibilities of synthesis when we allow two juxtaposing ideas to come together, especially internally.”
These are the origins of “Sundrop”.
Mauki McGruder and Andrew Zhang were united from their instrumental proficiency a few years ago, and now form the duo known as Sundrop, fresh off the release of their debut album “Introducing Sundrop”. The album is a showcase of just how proficient the pair are musically and how harmoniously they can work together.
Sundrop may not be a household name at this point in 2018 but there’s a stark level of talent between the two boys worthy of much hype for the future.
Apart from being technically sound, the album genuinely slaps, and it would be deadset crime if you, as an avid music lover, did not give it a listen.
Recently I was lucky enough to have a chance to have a bit of back-and-forth with the guys in the middle of their busy schedule of performances across North America.
Peep our little convo below.
(Ripple) Firstly just tell us a bit about the team; where are you from and how did you meet?
Mauki: I’m from Cincinnati, OH., and I now live in Brooklyn. We met when we got called to play with PitchBlak Brass Band together.
Andrew: I’m from NJ, currently in Jersey City.
When it’s after midnight and you’re laid up delaying bed time what is your go-to TV show?
Mauki: It varies. Right now I’d say The Office.
Andrew: I have so many shows I’m trying to catch up on: the Wire, Mr. Robot, the Sopranos… but I always end up just re-watching the Office.
How would you describe your sound?
Mauki: Comfy underwear music.
Andrew: An amalgamation of our musical experiences. Rnb, house, jazz, pop, electronic. We like melody.
Mauki: Definitely the greats of the past. Miles Davis. John Coltrane. Chet Baker. Nat King Cole. Prince. The Isley Brothers. I like modern cats like Frank Ocean and Dev Hynes, too. As a team, I think we’ve looked to a few different duos, like The Neptunes and Baths, for inspiration.
Andrew: Yes to all those, also Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach, Nile Rogers.
Between the two of you how many instruments are you proficient in?
Mauki: three and two halfs.
Andrew: keyboard, trombone, voice… but most days i feel inept at those as well, haha.
Do you have any dream collaborations between the two of you?
Mauki: I’d love to work with Solange. Also, this hidden-gem singer-instrumentalist out of Cali named Kadhja Bonet.
Andrew: Frank Ocean, Herbie Hancock. I’d probably be too nervous to play anything though.
You recently just released “Introducing Sundrop”, describe the process involved in making this project. How long did it take?
Mauki: It took almost a year from start to finish. I’d say the process was similar to that of a painter or visual artist. We made some (very) rough drafts of the tunes, and work-shopped those on and off the stage. Adding and subtracting elements and refining until we were finally able to let go and push the work out into the world.
When people listen to your record what do you want them to hear?
Andrew: Something they haven’t heard before.
Describe the vibe from your live shows; how important is bringing the instruments to the forefront of the show?
Mauki: The horns are the blast of energy that can take the room to that next level. I think the sound of the brass as a section is just so powerfully contrasting to that of the electronics and amplified instruments. But when Andrew takes a synth solo, it’s really a showcase as well.
Andrew: There’s really a symbiotic relationship between us and the audience. We’re trying to get them to feel something, and that response is what drives us to perform harder. When the energy is just bouncing back and forth between us and the crowd, the whole room goes into this flow state.
“Introducing Sundrop” is your debut record, what are the plans for the short and long term future?
Mauki: We’re already thinking about pushing out more content in the summer.
Andrew: Writing more songs, getting better at promotion, I wouldn’t mind a record deal.
What can fans expect from these future releases?’
Andrew: Expect us to keep stretching and trying new things. We’re not about to make the same record twice.
Finally, are you making music for those at the clubs until close or those coming home early?
Mauki: A little of both.
Andrew: For people who don’t know what to do with their hands.
Check the dude’s socials, too: