They can count on one hand the number of times they’ve played together, but regardless, Twin Suns are ready to rock.
The Fernandina Beach quintet released their debut single “Under The Moon” Thursday, an easy indie rock groove with roots in jazz and ska. The group will also perform at the Florida Pavilion in St. Augustine for the King of Clubs Classic surf competition Saturday.
Twin Suns emerged among the scattered ashes of bygone projects and partnerships in November 2019. Vocalist Nathan Manning, guitarist Zack Sjuggerud and bassist John Powell, all from Fernandina Beach, played together in high school under the name Red Lights, but the band dissolved when the three went their separate ways for college.
But the music didn’t stop for long. Manning met Gainesville guitarist Evan Vogel at the University of North Florida, where they were both pledging the same fraternity.
“They asked if anybody could sing, and Nathan stood up and sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’” Vogel said. “I asked him if he wanted to make music after that.”
Meanwhile, Powell and Sjuggerud had been recording demos together in Orlando. Both UCF students, the two continued to work together, and though Sjuggerud said they were “nothing serious,” the ideas kept flowing.
Manning sent Sjuggerud a sample of what he and Vogel had been working on — a song simply called “Goth” — and Sjuggerud said he was hooked. Soon, the pairs of Manning and Vogel and Powell and Sjuggerud came together from the remnants of Red Lights, and Twin Suns was born.
Meeting as a group for the first time at Gainesville studio Pulp Arts in October 2020, the band spent hours jamming back and forth and getting musically acquainted. One chord progression from Vogel stuck out in particular, and after Sjuggerud put a riff on top of it, the skeleton for “Under The Moon” was set.
“We were like, ‘OK, this is a cool idea,’” Sjuggerud said. “It all kind of came together after that.”
“Under The Moon” is Twin Suns’ first professionally mixed single, as well as the first available on all streaming platforms. The band recruited Australian producer Matthew Neighbour — whose resumé includes artists like Sky Ferreira, Still Woozy and The Avalanches — to complete the mix. Though the group has a handful of songs posted to SoundCloud, “Under The Moon” marks their official recorded debut.
Musically, “Under The Moon” is a mixture of the group’s classic rock, indie and reggae influences. Smooth guitar riffs overlap each other while percussion punctuates the background, and the organ on top of it all highlights the colorful chorus.
Manning wrote the lyrics and said he left the song’s meaning up to interpretation, but Vogel classified “Under The Moon” as “a song about moving on.”
Twin Suns are set to debut the track live Saturday at the Florida Pavilion, where they will perform for the first time as a five-piece following the addition of Adrian Walker II on drums. Vogel said the number of times they’ve played together is still in the single digits.
Collaborating with practiced ease, the group said it’s not the playing that presents a struggle — it’s getting together in the first place. With members scattered across the state, Twin Suns spent weekends traveling from city to city, splitting time between Fernandina and Gainesville to record and rehearse.
“We just had to make it work,” Sjuggerud said.
Vogel said listeners can expect a high-energy performance from the Twin Suns’ debut stage. The group noted their vibrancy in both emotion and volume — “We’re loud,” Powell said — and said listeners will connect with the genuine emotion emitting from their sound.
“You’ll feel it too because we feel it,” Vogel said.
Contact Heather Bushman at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @hgrizzl.