Pearl Sugar is the songwriting vehicle of prolific Western Massachusetts-based musician, Chris Bugnacki, whether working alone or with regular bandmates Dave and C. The year may only be halfway done, but Chris has already released a compilation of recordings from 2016-2019, and two new records, March’s Eat My Kids and June’s self-titled offering.
Pearl Sugar exist very much in the bedroom-pop tradition, Chris producing everything from their home studio and largely writing, recording and performing everything themself. The freedom this recording method offers is evident in the eclectic array of sounds Pearl Sugar explore, Eat My Kids nods to the likes of Elliot Smith or Elvis Depressedly before giving way to the more grimy electronic manipulation of the self-titled offering, which nods to a hitherto unexplored Aphex Twin influence. This pick-and-mix approach to sound keeps listeners on their toes, take the way the introspective title track Eat My Kids slides into the drum machine and vocoders of Me And My Songs (Over There), or the Pearl Sugar LP’s brilliantly disturbing aside That Thing You Do, all glitchy beats, looped alien vocals and a nagging sense of dread. Pearl Sugar’s music fits into a grand tradition of musical obscurities, people who exist outside of any categories and make music for the sheer joy that creativity brings. While they’ll never trouble the charts, the world would be a less interesting place without these mavericks around.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Pearl Sugar?
Pearl sugar is me when I’m alone and then my bandmates Dave and C join on stage and in the home studio at times making them too, in a way, Pearl Sugar.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Our first show was at this cafe in CT I used to work at. For the poster, I threw a white wolf and some ol’ English type on that ish and packed that little place to the brim. I used this way wonky Yamaha electric piano and Dave actually played guitar (he’s the drummer now). C’s bass work was only a dream at the time. I’m grateful our paths crossed.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
While I do indeed dabble in various art forms, music has has always been the steadfast passion. I started writing and recording my own songs at 13 and kept leaning into it more as time went on. The first Pearl sugar songs were written in 2016 during a shift in my life. Music has undoubtedly led and pushed me off of many “cliffs” and continues to do so. I love the feeling.
FTR: What can people expect from the Pearl Sugar live show?
These days Pearl Sugar live performances express and exude raw power, stripping all synth and drum machine elements leaving guitar, bass and drums to deliver gnarly NRG to the various spaces we pop in. No show’s vibe the same. We pick up what the audience puts down and catch what’s up, then rock at the same time, pulling them in real close.
FTR: What’s next for Pearl Sugar?
We’ve got some tight shows in the works with some lovely bands for the summer. We’ll have some diy cassettes of our recent albums “Eat My Kids” and the self titled, “Pearl Sugar” as well as other trinkets. It’s gonna rock. Keeping busy, busy.
They Listen To…
285 Alex -Clock
Tia – Early Bird
good luck mini – big moon
Racktom – GMC ad (Music Only)
domsentfrommars – quicktea
Pearl Sugar/Eat My Kids are out now. For more information on Pearl Sugar visit https://pearlsugar.bandcamp.com/.