Experimental-electronic trio Space Cubs occupy a particular niche within the Buffalo music scene. A wildly adventurous act with avant-garde ambitions, a stunning light show, and a commanding visual presence, the group defiantly pushes against the safe boundaries that that define pop music and live performance. Originally conceived as a solo project for singer/songwriter Suzanne Bonifacio, Space Cubs have expanded their ranks with the addition of Adam Pressley (guitars/visuals) and Shawn Chiki Lewis (production/lighting). Longtime visual collaborators of Bonifacio’s, and well-established artists in their own right––Pressley creates graphics as Frenchpressley, while Lewis masterminds the performanceart subversion of Lesionread––their increased involvement in Space Cubs’ music has deepened and refined the group’s sound and aesthetic. Their new album ‘The 4th Age’ is a testament to the trio’s collaborative spirit; Bonifacio’s sonorous voice and emotively-poetic lyrics sit intertwined among off-kilter beats, mood-whiplash dynamic shifts, and evocative soundscapes equal parts haunting and heavenly. An extraordinary record that rewards multiple listens, ‘The 4th Age’ showcases Space Cubs’ uncompromising commitment to pushing their art into spaces unknown.
Suzanne, how has brining Adam and Shawn into the fold changed your creative method? Was it challenging adjusting to this new dynamic, or were you able to trust your bandmates’ talents and embrace this change?
Suzanne: A lot of both, and still challenging, but worth it. How it’s changed my creative method is actually one of my favorite parts of working with these two: I’ve been able to dig deeper into small details, specifically the way I produce vocals. Shawn’s beats and Adam’s guitar parts have given me a lot of new ideas for where something is going. My writing process is still something I take time away for. It’s always been essential, and “going out on a limb” is more possible when I have time alone. When we bring it together, it’s a lot of listening and talking, but super rewarding in the end.
Shawn: It’s been challenging. You want everyone to trust each other all of the time, but everyone makes mistakes, and everyone can benefit from guidance. We’ve all experienced bruised egos along the way. I know and try to remind myself often how lucky I am to be collaborating with Suzanne and Adam.
Your new album, The 4th Age, shifts seamlessly across genres: pop, noise, Grime, IDM, ambient, industrial, post-rock, downtempo, among others. As musicians do you consciously set out to blur genre distinctions, or is this stylistic synthesis simply a byproduct of your creative process?
Adam: While we may share similar tastes and influences, I believe all three of us have had varying musical and life experiences that let us approach the creative process in very different ways. I think the ultimate goal is to feel comfortable letting go, and allowing those experiences to flow and formulate freely into something that feels both exciting and natural.
Shawn: Suz and I are both really into artists like Beck and Björk, who dabble with all sorts of genres, mostly out of curiosity.