Student spotlight: Sunny Sideways

Photo: Victoria Moffat · The Sentry Sunny Sideways bring a funky twist to psych pop.

Photo: Victoria Moffat · The Sentry
Sunny Sideways bring a funky twist to psych pop.
Student band takes sunny to a whole new level

Not many bands exist that have a name that seems to encompass and fit both them and their vibe so wholly—Sunny Sideways is one of the few. Radiating a groovy sort of sunshine, the band consists of four members: Cat Sall on vocals and rhythm guitar, Dante Robledo on bass guitar, Keelan McDorman on drums, and Riley Merino on lead guitar.

The members, all being music majors, met and connected through class on the CU Denver campus around a year ago, coming a long way from when they were all, according to Sall, “Just awkward classmates.” Now basking in the sunlight, the members seem to have become close friends whose relationships are even more interconnected through the music.

The sound of Sunny Sideways feeds into psychedelic pop. As Robledo describes, it’s just, “Good feels groove music.” The vibe of the band members themselves is definitely reflective throughout their music, especially with their 2019 single, “Good Time”—which is available on all music platforms. The single begins with a bopping leading bass beat, soon joined by a different set of chords that add a sort of funky twist to the song, and upbeat lyrics that wish for nothing more than wanting “to have a good time.” The single works to the band’s advantage, getting the listener up and moving and by the end of the song, they themselves are feeling the “good time” the song so sweetly longs for.

The process of the songs begin, as Sall describes them as “skeletons.” With just lyrics, a certain melody or chord, the piece works its way through the rest of the band until they become something more Sall expresses, “You just feel it in your body, that’s when the songs really come alive.” The songs build with each of the members, a team effort, Mcdorman details, “Everyone just finds somewhere to sit within everyone’s framework and it just builds this authentic glue.”

The purpose behind the band’s music is not only the “feel good jam” but also, as Sall expands upon, for people to “be brought back to one of their best memories, like ‘oh, I heard this song when I heard Sunny Sideways play live, that was like the best night ever, let me listen to this song again just so I can relive that night of dancing with my best friend…’ [and] being young and having fun.”

The group describes themselves as more of a live band; performing their original music as well as song covers at various music venues and house concerts. Merino clarifies being more of a live band, “We really like feeding off of people’s energy around us.” Recently, Sunny Sideways has been taking a break to buckle down on practices and work on their original pieces, but look for updates on bookings on the band’s Facebook page as they get back into the swing of things in the near future.

In the coming months the group looks forward to a new single to be released, and in a year, to hopefully break out of the Colorado music scene. Not such a tantalizing task with the amount of work the group is putting into their music alongside the determination they possess. The future is looking pretty sunny for Sunny Sideways.

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