Happy to be back


POSTED: Friday, September 04, 2009


It's evident, even over the phone, that Brian Aubert is happy to be coming back to Hawaii and his relatives after a year's absence. The last time he was here, his band Silversun Pickups opened for Incubus at the Waikiki Shell, and now the friendly quartet returns as near as rock stars can be. Heck, some of their songs are available as downloads for the “;Guitar Hero”; video games, and the band has even played online live with other Xbox 360 enthusiasts.

“;I love that world,”; Aubert said, calling from Los Angeles. “;Usually, kids have been robbed of such physical things as playing music. But with 'Guitar Hero,' it's a new way to hear music. The game is tactile, technical and completely immersive. It was neat to play against these online players who were doing our songs, like 'Lazy Eye' and 'Panic Switch.' And it was fun to watch them play as their avatars, with their perfect club attire, and pink hair with black tips.”;

Silversun Pickups returns to the islands as tour veterans, having performed in support of their debut album, “;Carnavas,”; and its hit tracks “;Lazy Eye”; and “;Well Thought Out Twinkies.”; They're in the midst of an extensive tour backing their follow-up recording, “;Swoon,”; and latest hit, the propulsive “;Panic Switch.”; The band's sound is still distinct, with Aubert's whisper-to-howl vocals buoyed by the sweeping sonic attack created by his guitar, keyboards by Joe Lester, bass by Nikki Monninger and drums by Christopher Guanlao.





        » Where: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.

» When: 8 p.m. tomorrow


» Cost: $30 general and $50 VIP, all ages


» Info: (877) 714-7668 or


» Website:




While the band's profile has certainly grown, Aubert said they still consider themselves to be grounded, and they're supportive of musicians in the L.A. indie scene they rose from.

“;We still have a lot of musician friends in Los Angeles who we pay a lot of attention to,”; Aubert said. “;In fact, when we're not on tour, it's a hobby of ours to go listen to other bands. I think it's really important for every town to support their own local bands, because I know it's sometimes really hard for bands to get exposure in their own cities.

“;In fact, I think it's almost irresponsible for radio stations to not pump their local bands. It's great to be in the position to bring bands from L.A. with us on tour, like what we did with the Happy Hollows. It was their chance to get out of the scene, play for others and watch them shine.”;

AS FOR THE sound of the Silversun Pickups, Aubert said in developing the sound they created on “;Carnavas,”; “;we knew we were in love with that kind of sonic atmosphere. We're fans of big, loud music—big, blankety things and textures. We didn't want to abandon that sound on 'Swoon.' We tried to move as naturally in our music in the studio, and make things hard, not just technically, but emotionally as well. We wanted to create music that you felt could almost unravel at any time.

“;One thing we love is that we were born as a live band. That's where our hearts are. In that hour and a half onstage, we really enjoy it, we're almost obsessed with it. That immediate experience between the band and the audience ... I still get off on it.”;

And look out—Aubert said that, inspired by his trip back home, he might incorporate the word “;humuhumunukunukuapuaa”; somewhere in tomorrow night's set.