"We've been life partners for 10 years," said Erica Quitzow. "We run the recording studio together, we run the label together, we do it all together."
"The comment we get most is 'wow, I can't believe you are the same people playing in these two different bands,'" said Setting Sun leader Gary Levitt. "People are really shocked that such different music can come out of the same batch of people, I think that's pretty cool."
Erica Quitzow has been making music for a number of years, starting in various bands around L.A. then moving on to her collaborations with Levitt in Setting Sun. In addition to singing, she plays violin, bass, cello, drums, synths and guitar. She branched out from Setting Sun a few years ago to start her own project, simply titled Quitzow. She released her second full-length, Juice Water, earlier this year.
She describes the record as, "crazy '80s weird dance pop."
"My first album was cathartic emotional music, and I've just been on this journey toward making music that creates a rush of pleasurable endorphins. A lot of pop music does a good job of utilizing elements that can get under your skin and make you feel good, take you out of your pain. I want to learn to do that, I want to be a painkiller through my music. I want to take someone who's hurting and give them a rest from it, give them a rush of feeling good and dancing."
Setting Sun, on the other hand, is the brainchild of Levitt, who has been writing and composing crafty indie folk for the better part of the last decade. Levitt and Quitzow both started out in the Los Angeles area, but moved to upstate New York around 2006. Setting Sun's fourth full-length record, Fantasurreal, was released earlier this year.
"I think it's a crossover of folk and indie and psychedelic and electronic. I'm starting to call it electro-acoustic pop rather than indie pop. The past albums have been heavy on strings with a little bit of synthesizer, but this one has lots of horns, strings, and lots more synthesizers and random electronic sounds," said Levitt. "It's a natural progression from spending time in the recording studio, just constantly trying new things and experimenting with new sounds. But the focus is still on the song and the hook."
Quitzow and Levitt have always toured together; it makes sense to them emotionally and economically. They've also partnered to run their own record label and recording studio in New York. But as their respective bands garner more and more attention, they'll inevitably have to part ways.
"We tour together out of convenience and for fun, but we're thinking about branching out a bit and touring with other bands that maybe we have a more synonymous sound with. Quitzow and Sunny Sun definitely appeal to different people," said Quitzow.
"It's come in handy because we get to travel together and we both love playing twice, playing two sets and sharing a band," said Levitt. We've done it for two years now, two European tours and a couple U.S. tours--and it might have run its course for now. We've been talking about switching it up a bit."
Both bands have experienced limited success. Levitt blames that in part on their move from California to New York.
"I think we kind of shot ourselves in the foot on that one," he said. But neither seems too interested in the whole money thing and the couple is happy touring in their car and sleeping wherever they can.
"Right now we're touring as a three-piece in a Subaru. It's our tour bus, the Subaru tour bus. It's incredibly cheap on gas, environmental and the air conditioning cools off the entire car, which is quite sweet," said Quitzow. "You end up sleeping on a lot of college kids' dusty carpets, with people smoking and partying all night. But it's not as challenging and grueling as you might think; it's been pretty nice. We've played some good shows and been put up by really nice people in comfortable houses with cats, puppies ... it's been amazing."
Unfortunately, Boise didn't leave the best impression last time the couple came to town.
"I'm not sure if this is principle," said Levitt hesitantly. "But I think I got roofied in Boise. We got put up by someone and we went back to their house, and they gave us a bowl of macaroni and cheese, everyone in the band, we all ate it and woke up the next day not remembering what had happened--none of us remembered going to bed. We remember eating macaroni and cheese while watching some science fiction movie, and then the next thing we knew were waking up. It was really freaky, I tell that story all the time and the fact that it happened in Boise. It was very strange, we all were like, 'What the hell happened?'"
Regardless, Levitt and Quitzow are happy to bring their bands back to Boise, and look forward to bringing their indie rock double feature to the Bouquet.
"We've always played at the Neurolux and they're a really nice batch of people. We're playing the Bouquet this time, and I'm really psyched. This will be our fourth or fifth time through, and it'll be nice to be back."
Monday, Aug. 9, FREE. The Bouquet, 1010 W. Main St., myspace.com/thebouquet.