|Photo by: Facebook|
"Two guys making catchy songs to play at parties," reads the Facebook description of pop-punk/math rock band Sure Plus. What a humble mission statement. Wouldn't the world be a better place if more groups had such modest aspirations?
Consisting of Grant Engstrom and Spencer Radcliffe, one-half of the similarly-styled quartet Difficult Dogs, Sure Plus play in an ultra-stripped down guitar-and-drums duo format. Taking Difficult Dogs' Friday Dragon's Cup spot on the Lobsterfest lineup, the two will bring the bubble-tea joint to previously unheard-of hardcore heights.
ACRN spoke with both Engstrom and Radcliffe to discuss their history, sound and wild party shows.
ACRN: When did you guys decide to start playing together?
Grant Engstrom: Difficult Dogs was supposed to play a show at our friend's house, and Brad (Knilans, guitarist) went out of town, and they still needed another band to play, and they were having trouble finding one. So, Spencer and I just decided to scrape Sure Plus together.
ACRN: Did you guys come up with new material right off the bat?
GE: I had some songs written previously, so we just took those and Spencer wrote drum parts for it. And then, we just molded them a little different from the way they were written, and then we wrote an original song that both Spencer and I worked on together.
ACRN: Do you feel it's a different dynamic, with kind of a more stripped-down sound than Difficult Dogs?
GE: I'd say so. Yeah, I mean, it's just guitar and drums, but normally we try to play really loud, and I'll set up through like two amps and run them in stereo, so there's like sound on both sides. It's a lot simpler.
ACRN: Do you guys plan to take on more bookings for Sure Plus now that Difficult Dogs is on hiatus?
GE: I don't know.
Spencer Radcliffe: Not right now. I'm graduating.
ACRN: I saw you guys had some of your new songs on Bandcamp. Do you guys plan on recording any new material in the future?
GE: Yeah, we did plan on recording just like a two-song release, but we haven't got around to it, because we just got done recording the Difficult Dogs album.
ACRN: What do you guys see in the future for Sure Plus?
GE: Just playing some more shows next year, but summer-wise we probably won't be doing much, because [Radcliffe] will be gone, I'll be gone as well, so I don't know what the future holds right now.
ACRN: Describe what a typical Sure Plus show is like. I know you guys described it to me before as "babes, beers and buds."
GE: (laughs) Typically, that's how it goes. If I were to want any, all the Sure Plus shows to be the same, I would base them around our show at Millfest, which was just shirts off, partying while we play, jumping off of amps, going just buck wild. (laughs)
SR: It's all about loud, hard, and fast.
ACRN: Do you guys plan to pursue any other musical projects while you're off of Difficult Dogs and Sure Plus?
GE: Yeah, I mean, I plan on trying to get something together with a couple of dudes living in Athens late this summer, but right now, I have nothing else going.
ACRN: Do you see that being the same kind of music as Sure Plus?
GE: There'll be like little hints of it, but [we'll] probably move toward different things, just to change it up.
ACRN: I guess I'll end with the typical question we ask people, what can we expect to see at your show?
SR: Ken Engstrom.
GE: Yeah, my parents, just Ken Engstrom? Nothing else?
SR: Ken Engstrom with his shirt off.
GE: I don't know. Ken Engstrom, probably with a Harley t-shirt on and sunglasses.
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