Watermelon Sugar's Kyle Brunette Interviewed by Tacoma Weekly


Brooklyn's Watermelon Sugar may be making its Tacoma debut on Saturday, May 24, at Bob's Java Jive; but the trio will look mighty familiar to anyone who spent much time in Tacoma rock clubs, circa 2010.

The band was founded by singer-guitarist Kyle Brunette – a fixture of the local indie-rock scene as a member of The Nightgowns, The Drug Purse and Friskey.

Watermelon Sugar's six-song, self-titled debut came out on Tacoma's Swoon Records last month and is available on iTunes. Recently, we caught up with Brunette to talk about this weekend's homecoming show.

Tacoma Weekly: So what took you out to Brooklyn? You've been out there a year and a half, I think you said.

Brunette: Basically, we started the band in Tacoma, and it was me, Kennon Christal and then Colin Reynolds. Kennon moved to Brooklyn, and I basically moved out here to play music with him with the idea we were going to get the band going in Brooklyn. Colin moved out last summer, and we started playing shows around New York in November.

TW: Do you see that Trevor guy (Nightgowns singer-guitarist Trevor Dickson)?

Brunette: Yeah, Trevor's out here. There's actually a lot of Tacoma people in Brooklyn right now.

TW: Do you see each other much?

Brunette: We see each other here and there. For example, tomorrow we're playing a show with this band called Greenfield. It's Paul Dally's band; he's from Tacoma. Ben Roth (of Oberhofer) is out here right now. Ben's playing with Paul tomorrow. So we play shows together. But New York's pretty big. It's not like we go to the local bar or something and everybody runs into each other.

TW: So I guess the idea is you went out there for more opportunity.

Brunette: Yeah, for sure, and it was a pretty easy move because I knew a lot of people out here. It wasn't like jumping in blind.

TW: So how did this band get started?

Brunette: Basically, it started with some songs that I had written. I wanted mainly just to record them, so I got Colin and Kennon to play with me. The EP was actually recorded in Tacoma. It just took a minute for it to come out. It came out in April, but it was basically finished over a year ago.

TW: Who came up with the name? Is there a significance to it?

Brunette: There's actually a Richard Brautigan novel called “In Watermelon Sugar.” He was actually born in Tacoma … so it's mostly just a reference to that.

TW: Most people around these parts know you for the Nightgowns. How would you compare and contrast what you do with this band and what kind outlet it is versus the Nightgowns.

Brunette: The Nightgowns was more a kind of a band I played in whereas this is more my project. I also wanted to do something, too, that was more straightforward. With the Nightgowns – with the keyboards and the drum machine, occasionally – we had to play proper venues. We were more serious in that regard, whereas with this new band, we could play a big rock venue or just play in someone's basement.

TW: We've heard the stuff on the EP. What can we expect beyond those sounds for the live show?

Brunette: We only play a couple of songs off the EP. A lot of the songs are recorded as studio productions that we would need a larger band to pull off. (On) the recordings, we tracked them all live as a three-piece, but there were more overdubs to fill in the sound; whereas the newer stuff, just the three of us can play, and it's a fuller sound.

TW: When's the last time you played here?

Brunette: I think the last time I played was shortly before I moved, and Trevor was back for a minute, and we played a Nightgowns show. That was two summers ago.

TW: So what's it gonna be like playing your old stomping grounds?

Brunette: The show at the Java Jive should be fun because they're all good friends we're playing with. We're playing with People Under the Sun and Wheelies and Spencer from Basement. He has a new project (Deep Kink) and I think it's their first show.

TW: What else is coming up for you guys?

Brunette: We'll do some recording and try to play around as much as possible, around New York. And hopefully in the fall we'll do a more prolonged, proper tour.