Jul 3, 2023
The music of Sugarfuzz is full of pop melodies and catchy hooks
Forever on the hunt for new tunage, or so it seems, I recently came across a band out of Georgia who calls themselves Sugarfuzz. The band features members of Atlanta rock bands Hanging Francis, Chain Poets, My Rebel Episode, and the Bloody Hells with Greg Kaegen (vocals/guitar), Kenny Tsao (bass), Gary Spano (drums/vocals) and Johnny Powell (lead vox/rhythm guitar).
Having just wrapped up the recording for their debut album, the men of Sugarfuzz were nice enough to let me listen to an advance copy so I could give my perspective on the music. Recorded at Furies Studios in Blue Ridge and Marietta, Georgia, and produced by Ed Burdell (of Magnapop), this album rocks from start to finish. With no fillers and every song being a banger, Sugarfuzz have managed to craft a solid recording full of tunes that’ll make you want to hop in your car and roll the windows down with the stereo blaring.
Beginning with the track “Are You with Me,” which has a riff reminiscent of the intro for the 90’s comedy show Kids in the Hall, each song after that sets the stage for a refreshing and nostalgic album full of fun, sing-along tunes. “Boy Meets Girl” is another stand-out track, and the guys currently have a music video on YouTube with the song for everyone to lay their eyeballs on.
In fact, I feel that once it’s released, the Sugarfuzz debut will be one of the feel-good albums of 2023, if not 2024, to coincide with the 90’s alt-rock revival currently beginning. The band is looking to release the album in Fall 2023, so we’ll have to just sit back and wait for now, but there are plenty of samples of their work to check out either by canvassing the band’s social media or by catching them live at a music venue near you.
To get a better feel for the musicians behind the sound, I reached out to the band so we could chat a bit more in-depth. You’ll want to listen to their music after reading this article, I’m certain of it. Check out our conversation below.
MaM: Guys, thank you for chatting with me. I want to start by asking when can we anticipate this amazing album you sent me being released? It is so good!
Johnny: We are kind of holding on to it for a little bit, but we’re thinking sometime in the fall. We are sitting on it to see what kind of anticipatory buzz we can get on it first.
MaM: The entire album is solid with each song jamming. It reminds me of the great albums of the past where you could put the CD in, press play, and just go!
Johnny: That’s exactly the kind of idea we had when we started this project. We got together after admiring each other’s work in other local bands and then started writing together about a year and a half ago. We just started cranking out a bunch of songs together and then we brought the other guys on board. Kenny was playing in a cover band with me, and I invited him into the group. Ya know, we were playing stuff like Hall & Oates and stuff to get people dancing (laughs), but it never really got off the ground. It was fun, but this is really my passion. This original stuff. We wrote it as a whole record, though. All of us admire records, but it seems everyone does singles these days.
MaM: Oh, I get it. I remember when actual albums did exist. (laughs)
Johnny: We got together with this guy, Ed Burdell, who is an old friend of ours and he has a log cabin up in Blue Ridge in the mountains of Georgia. He always wanted to record a band up there, so he invited us up and we went and recorded the album in a weekend after much comedy and maybe too many drinks. (laughs) We did the basic tracks in one day.
Greg: It was a six-and-a-half-hour session and we cut all the basic tracks for all the songs.
MaM: That goes to show the cohesiveness you guys have as musicians. You are already vibing.
Greg: Plus, we went up on a Friday and started playing on a Saturday. That Friday, though, we got to hang out together, just us guys, and we bonded and then we made a record. It felt great from the moment we started playing.
Johnny: The producer actually produced Magnapop and that’s one of his most notable production credits. He’s truly a master. He’s got great microphones, too, and we had one up in the loft recording everything as it was happening, but he’s a zen master at production. He really found some good sounds with this basic batch of songs.
MaM: This album sounds like what a 90’s rock revival should sound like. Truly. Now, a bit of a deeper dive into the band history, what initially drew you together? Was it more because of like styles?
Johnny: I don’t think it was necessarily stylistic, but Greg and I both fronted bands and would support each other. We always admired each other’s songwriting and guitar playing and I always toyed with the idea of writing with Greg. It just never happened until a year and a half ago and when we did get together, we discovered it was effortless.
Greg: So, one day, Johnny is setting up microphones for us, and I just plugged into one of his amps and I started playing the opening riff for “Don’t Tell Me That,” and by the time he’s done setting up the mics, he grabs a pad and pen and starts scribbling. He just starts writing this verse over the song I was playing and the song came together in about an hour. It took no effort. It’s all come together easy.
Johnny: We wrote almost all of it in the rehearsal space and would stop each other when something sounded cool and then we would come up with a verse or chorus melody to go over it, and it just fell together naturally. We’re just getting rolling and just getting started, so we are hoping to have some great gigs later this summer and fall.
MaM: As far as your sound, did you have a sound you were going for initially going into this project?
Johnny: We didn’t really design it. It’s just what fell out of us.
Greg: There was never a discussion about it, honestly. I wasn’t looking to get the monster ultimate guitar sound. I had nothing I wanted in my head. I decided to just plug into an amp with no effects or anything. We weren’t shooting for anything, and it just came out the way it came out. Very organic.
MaM: As far as future aspirations go, what can we expect?
Johnny: The sky is the limit. We just want to make music and have fun doing it.
To experience the music of Sugarfuzz for yourself, hit one of the links below and keep your eyes and ears peeled for their debut album coming soon!