Sunny State is a modern reggae band from the San Francisco Bay Area. Front man Chris Reed is no stranger to the stage, as his bands have opened up for groups like Tribal Seeds, The English Beat, Collie Buddz, Iration, Eek a Mouse, Booker T, and DirtyHeads. He is excited to take part in Sunny State, which was incepted only earlier this year. In fact, Sunny State didn’t claim its name until four shows in, after fans inquired. Chris blurted out to them, “Sunny State!” much to the other band member’s surprise.
With influences from English, French, Spanish, and even Croatian, (which is the heritage of the frontman, whose family originates from an island in the Adriatic Sea), the woven genres and styles within the band tantalizes the ears. Their new single, “Solutions,” is an upbeat, modern reggae tune with a positive message. It’s a mellow track but has breakdowns that will entice you to get up and dance. If you enjoy acts such as Dirty Heads or Slightly Stoopid, you will love this ensemble. It is available wherever you like to stream your music and you can follow them on all major social media platforms.
☽ Who would you say are your early reggae inspirations/who inspires you in general?
Matisyahu’s “Live at Stubbs” album forever changed my perception of what this genre we call “reggae” could be. Before that, in High School, my friends and I used to listen to artists that straddled the reggae genre like Manu Chao, Tryo, Raggasonic. All these artists taught me that reggae wasn’t just guitar skanks and keyboard bubbles. Reggae was a vibe. Reggae was that breezy feeling we can get wherever we are when that bass drops. Reggae brings me back to the sea when I’m driving through traffic or stressed by the world around me.
Over time, I found more artists that challenged the norm of what most of the public views as reggae. These artists empower me. Artists like Mat McHugh from Australia, Ben Harper with songs like “With my own two hands”, Trevor Hall, Dirty Heads and many more.
I’ve never had a good time writing songs that stick inside a box all the time. Sometimes, I write reggae-styled songs and other times, the material borders folk or pop more. Before I embraced this concept of reggae being the vibe I FEEL from the tunes, I had a harder time embracing my material and musical projects. But, these artists that are already doing it inspire me to be my truest self. It’s like they’ve opened the door for the rest of us and are saying, “Come on in Brother!”
☽ In what ways do those inspirations show through your music?
I’m not so married to this construct of staying inside of a genre anymore. Or at least, I try not to be. I remain conscious of it, but I don’t feel as though it needs to control the decisions I make in the studio, while writing or on stage. If you look at the entire band, they all come from various musical backgrounds and to be totally honest, none of them are reggae, aside from me.
And I freakin LOVE that!
I love that we can all meet here together on the road of our musical journey, at the truck stop called Sunny State, in the town called Reggae.
☽ Is a tour in the works for Sunny State?
At the moment, our focus is on finishing up this full-length album we are working on and building up the reggae community here in the Silicon Valley.
☽ What is your dream show? Where would you like to play?
We have some near-future goals of places we are working towards playing in the area. As for “dream show”? Hmmm. I do love playing rooftop concerts—There is something magical about being so close to the stars and blasting good vibes out into the universe. More specifically, I’d be honored to play amphitheaters like Mountain Winery, CA, Shoreline Amphitheatre, CA, Red Rocks, CO or a Baseball Stadium
☽ What do you want fans to get out of your music?
Ultimately, I want people to feel free and empowered to be their most honest self. To live THEIR truth. That’s what music provides for me. An outlet. It is a gift given to me to release my soul from any societal constructs it’s grown into over the years. I know we all experience this and it’s time we all embrace that freedom!
I don’t sit and write or record a song thinking, I want people to think this, or, feel this way or that. If the song makes them happy, AWESOME! If it makes them sad, then I want them to cry their guts out and get that out of their system. Crying is great for us and if I can be a part of someone’s journey to listen to their soul that way, then Hell ya, must be doing something right.