CITY OF THE SUN: From Busking To Touring

City of the Sun is an acoustic post-rock trio from New York City, who went from playing music in the streets to building a following and going on tour with their new album, ‘To the Sun and All the Cities in Between’.

Their electric acoustic sounds contain a Latin American energy combined with an influence from jazz, gypsy and indie rock.

We speak with band members John Pia, Avi Snow and Zach Para on their experiences together, places they’ve traveled and the future of their music.

When and how did you form the band?

John: In 2011 I’d just moved to NYC and didn’t know many people so I decided to start busking to try and get some exposure… Not long after that I started getting a lot offers to play shows. I guess you could say that what began as a busking project evolved into the band that is City of the Sun today.

How did you come up with the name of the band?

John: A friend was online and the words “City of the Sun” just seemed to jump out at him! The moment he mentioned it to me I knew it would be a great name.

That’s nice when that happens. We first heard you play live in Union Square, New York…are you still performing live on the street?

Avi: We don’t have as much time for busking as we used to, but we still love getting out there when the weather’s nice! It’s a great way to connect with people and also allows us to test out new material and get instant feedback.

Has anything crazy happened (stories) whilst performing/busking on the streets in New York?

Zach: One time we had pretty big crowd in Union Square and a man – definitely not sober – pushed through the crowd and walked right up in front of us. He sat there, dead-still, watching us with a huge snarl on his face. Once we finished the song – and received a nice reaction from the crowd – he waited until it was silent and said very clearly, “You guys f***ing suck,” and walked away. I thought that was pretty hilarious!!

That’s a great story, it just shows that you can’t trust every critic! Your music is very cinematic, have you ever considered composing for film?

John: Yes! Actually last summer we had the opportunity to score a documentary called “The C Word“. It was such an inspiring film and a special experience for us. We can’t wait to work on another film!

That’s good to know, we look forward to hear about your next film project. What do you feel has been the band’s biggest accomplishment to date?

Zach: I can’t stop thinking about what’s in the near future, so I’d say our biggest accomplishment is yet to come. The thing I’m most excited about is a batch of new recordings we’ve (barely) begun. I have a good feeling about them and think they could have a big impact on our listeners.

Can you tell us about your recent album, ‘To the Sun and All the Cities in Between?’ Where did you record the album? How long did it take you to record the album?

Avi: We recorded the album live during a one-day session out of a church in Brooklyn. The ambiance really helped set the tone and the acoustics in the church ended up being one of the defining characteristics of the album.

That must have been beautiful. Is there a stand out track that you would like your fans to pay attention to?

John: My favorite track on the album is “You and I…And new York” 🙂

Where are your favorite places in the world?

Zach: I love Central America. We attended the “Kalu Yala” festival up in the middle of the jungle of Panama. We did a bunch of traveling and exploring the country and had a great time. We even shot a couple of our videos while playing in remote areas out there

As a result of those trips I’ve definitely developed an affinity for Panama.

I also love Costa Rica and have family who’ve lived there for years. It’s one of the most beautiful and lush places to visit; very relaxing and grounding.

It’s stunning, I love when it rains in the middle of the day for hours during its green season. What are your favorite hang out spots in New York?

Zach: I live in Brooklyn, so if I go into the city I like to be making music. One of the most rewarding things is to be able to offer music to anyone – that’s what happens when we busk. On a good day (when we’re not getting kicked out by the cops) we can share our music with hundreds of people – all impromptu. No matter their age, nationality, or the scene that someone may be into, there’s no barriers between our music and people. Not everyone has that luxury and the feedback we receive is very rewarding.

Are you currently writing or collaborating on new ideas/ material?

Avi: We’re in the process of writing and recording some exciting new work… Follow us on social media for updates

Thank you guys, we truly appreciate your time with us.

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Daniella Alma

Daniella Alma is a Staff Writer/Creative Producer for Monologue Blogger. She is also a working Actress/Producer. Projects have included work with Red Bull Media House and films that have premiered in Festival de Cannes - Court Metrage.