By Keira Zoumadakis
Sunhills started all the way back in 2018 – originally as a solo act. Drew Nicholson released the first EP Roll Your Windows Down in October of 2019. He played every instrument, recorded, mixed, and mastered these five dreamy songs. In 2020 Drew released “You Love Me ‘Cause You’re Bored,” the final single as a solo act.
The more I listen to Roll Your Windows Down, the more I long for warmer days. As a frontman, Drew Nicholson knows how to continuously involve the crowd at every live show, no matter if it’s acoustic or full band. His voice will scratch your brain in just the right way.
In its current format, Sunhills consists of four band members, with Nicholson on vocals and guitar, Cameron Zitting as the lead guitarist, Leo Fernandez as the bassist, and Sam Olson as the drummer. Sunhills has now released two more singles as a four-piece. “Sugar Coated” is their longest song yet, coming in at 7 minutes and 58 seconds. “Inside Outside” is their most recent single to be released. Sunhills is currently working on their debut album, which will be released by late summer of 2023. The band has developed a strong local fan base – especially after they opened for The Backseat Lovers at The Depot in December of 2021, which brought a wave of attention their way.
Sunhills has big plans for 2023. They kicked off the year at The Beehive in February, providing support for Over Under. They’re hitting up Whysound in Logan, UT with Pale Dream and Sammy Brue in April. After, this local band will be taking on Kilby Block Party 4 in May. Keeping it modest, frontman Drew Nicholson said, “We would like to play a show or two, maybe selling a t-shirt and a few CDs sounds cool.” When asked about Kilby Block Party, he said, “We will bring our gear and hope for the best!” Sunhills is hoping to go on their first tour later this year, but many things are still up in the air.
For now, the priority is completing their debut album that will be released later this year. This album will still include Sunhills’ roots as dreamy garage rock but will also enhance many emotional components. These will tie together with more euphoric, ethereal, and heavy alt-rock elements in a new way.
The lyricism will still be vulnerable, however. Nicholson has a certain writing tactic where he is able to express his own individual vulnerability through his personal experiences while still keeping it vague enough for the listeners to connect their own lives to their music – showing enough to get the emotions across but vague enough to project your own experiences onto.
Lead guitarist Cameron Zitting says that one of the biggest inspirations of this album was the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City. They tend to pull more from emotion rather than a specific sound. “We love how textures and soundscapes can tell a story,” says Nicholson. Sunhills’ upcoming record has a lot of heavy themes like isolation, loneliness, heartbreak, religion, and existential thinking. The band wants this record to tell the truth of emotion in the moment.
As Sunhills has evolved into a full band, their sound has changed beautifully. Both Nichols and Zitting believe that if you were to listen to one Sunhills song right now, “Sugar Coated” would help you to catch the vibe of their sound. This track is one of my favorite singles a local band has put out. It has all the right elements to it: beautiful guitar work, incredible synth waves, the perfect amount of bass, and eclectic rhythms. It makes you want to dance and cry and laugh and give everyone a hug around you. Attending a Sunhills show is one of the best things you could do for yourself.
Make sure to follow Sunhills on Instagram and check out “Sugar Coated” below. You will be groovin’ for eight minutes straight.