Sunny War is a blues-punk artist whose childhood of traversing the country has influenced her awesomely unique sound.
Kyle Warner: You are well versed in both the blues and punk worlds, do you feel like your childhood of constantly moving from city to city has influenced your vast musical style?
Sunny War: My nomadic upbringing definitely influenced my musical style. In Nashville (my hometown) I took free blues guitar lessons from a bluesman named James Nixon who encouraged me to pursue my “funny” fingerpicking technique. In Detroit, I witnessed real “sangin” at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church with my grandmother. That same grandmother took me to see B.B King. In Denver, my mother worked at a goth/punk cyber bar called Cafe Netherworld, where I would shoot pool every day after school. Cafe Netherworlds jukebox introduced me to Motorhead, The Ramones, and Skinny Puppy. When we finally moved to Los Angeles a boy in middle school taught me how to play “Punk Rock Love” by The Casualties on guitar. A year later I discovered Bad Brains and I was never the same after that. I got a mohawk, started drinking with gutter punks at the beach, and ran off to San Francisco with a guitar and a sleeping bag.
KW: Venice Beach has seen the birth of so many musical careers, how do you feel like performing there has affected your career?
SW: I remember busking on the Venice boardwalk for beer money when I was 16 or 17. I had no idea back then that I’d be busking for the next 10 years and paying my rent and bills! I’m ironically grateful that nobody ever hires me when I try to find a job. It forces me to try and make music work. I’ve gotten a lot of work from playing on the boardwalk. I’ve been invited to play weddings, parties and even Ayahuasca ceremonies! Lots of people pick up my cards on the boardwalk and now I get a decent amount of gigs each month.