When I was in the 8th grade there was a kid everyone make fun of for eating mashed potatoes with his bare hands, but you know what? That kid grew up to be me. The prolific Justin Chemoriah has been recording music under the name High Sunn since he was in the 8th grade, and probably rarely eats mashed potatoes with his bare hands. Now 18, the Bay Area native has built up a back catalog that would make most artists envious. We recently had to opportunity to talk to Justin. Check it out!
1. Top 3 favorite skateboarders?
RYAN LAY, NICK MICHEL, HYUN KUMMER
2. What music have you been into lately?
MOM JEANS, COLD HART, JUICE WRLD, ORIGAMI ANGEL, ANDREW YOUNKER, CASTLEBEAT, THE OBSESSIVES, TONER, and HAKUJA
3. Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
With my dad’s money: Misfits’s “Collection 1”
With my money(allowance hahaha): My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade”
4. Subs or Dubs?
SUBS OF COURSE! EWWWW DUBS!
5. Who would win in a fist fight? Tony Hawk, or an adult version of Otto Rocket from Rocket Power?
Otto Rocket my guy. He is my boy.
6. What is the worst advice that you can give me?
Carrying two cups of coffee while skating is completely safe.
7. What was the last show you went to?
Well, I watched Teen Suicide a few weeks ago when I played with them. Does that count? If not, then I saw The Drums with my gf.
8. We’re trying to come up with a slogan for the site. Any suggestions?
“Hey! We welcome all over emotional pieces of shits who love writing something called music.”
9. If you could switch bodies with any character from “Everybody Loves Raymond”, who would it be?
Frank, cause I want to be closer to death. JK! I love life. That was too much of an edgy answer.
10. My friend David moved to Venezuela a couple of years ago, and I haven’t really talked to him much because I’m bad at texting or talking on the phone. How do I start a conversation with him after all this time?
Send him this text: “Trynna link and watch sum anime?”
Born Loser Magazine: To start things off, can you introduce yourself?
Justin Cheromiah of High Sunn: Hi my name is Justin Cheromiah. I am the founder and songwriter of the music project, High Sunn. I’ve been working under this name for 4 years now. It all started when a 8th grade boy wanted to be like FIDLAR and Wavves, so he got a Tascam recorder for his birthday and started writing 1-2 songs everyday. He then transitioned into a garage rock songwriter to a dreamo songwriter. LOL. I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 9 years old. I’ve never experimented with any other instrument other than drums, but I’m not so good at that.
BL: Do you remember what first sparked your interest in music?
HS: Whenever I listened to or watched a BALZAC music video, my interest in music sparked greatly. They’re this japanese horror punk band that I was heavily influenced by when I was I first hit double digits in age. During that time I was also interested in thrash metal and black metal so the hardcore stuff was my shit. I wanted to get better at playing guitar, cause I wanted to look cool like them hahaha. They were my idols. For some reason though, I transitioned into liking lo-fi bands like WAVVES, Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing, and everybody off of Burger Records. I think it’s when I discovered Ty Segall, THEE oh Sees, and other bands of that up and coming indie wave between 2012-2014 that this transition became so clear. My dad also helped me get into bands like NEW ORDER, THE SMITHS, THE OCEAN BLUE, THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, OMD, and SECESSION, so he really influenced my taste in music.
BL: You started recording and releasing music when you were really young. In what ways have you seen your sound change as you got older?
HS: OMG. A HUGE DIFFERENCE. I LITERALLY sounded like a FIDLAR/BASS DRUM OF DEATH/TOGETHER PANGEA KID COVER BAND HAHAHA. Now i feel like my music has matured. Well hopefully hahah. My style is sort of 90s alt/dream pop i guess. I can’t really describe what kind of genre really. I try asking my friends too. They don’t know. They just title my music “dreamo”. So like that’s chill. Hahhaaha. I draw influences from a lot of bands like pavement, wavves, and beach fossils when it comes to production. Also, I feel my song structure changed slightly. Before I relied too heavily on “chorus verse chorus”. I feel like there is more substance in the tracks I write now. Especially with layering.
BLM: What is your recording process like now vs. when you first started out?
HS: Well for the first two years of High Sunn, I would use the same Tascam 8 track recorder that burned out recently. I would just plug in my Roland drum machine and direct input my amp into the Tascam. It was just a pretty simple setup. Then I would add effects after on ableton or whatever I used back then. Sometimes I wouldn’t do post production at all ahhaa. After my album “Fake Wisdom” came out, I relied heavily on my friend Tristin who would add better effects and crazy good drum tracks. I would just send the guitar and vocal files to him through google drive and he would work his magic. I then ditched the Tascam and got one of the audio interfaces so it would be easier. I used that a lot to write the demos for “Hopeless Romantic” and “Missed Connections”. The only releases that I used the audio interface on was “Teardrop Party”, “u stole my heart”, and “Bliss”. Everything was made in the bedroom besides “Hopeless” and “Missed”. Regarding my time in the studio, I got hit up one day by my friend Jordan telling me that his friend was looking to book me for studio time since they both loved my music. I was like for sure. So I found the dude’s email in my inbox and it all started from there. The magic between Dylan Wall and I resulted into two studio releases that satisfies me greatly and got the exposure I wanted. Both releases were recorded in the studio from 2-3 days. Surprisingly both of the albums are consisted of pretty old songs that stayed as demos for a long time. I’m glad Dylan helped me find the right delivery. I owe him a lot. Same with my friend Tristin. Will never forget what those two did for me and continue to do.
BLM: It's crazy that you're only 18, yet you have years of experience under your belt. Do you think music is something that you would consider doing full time?
HS: Shit if music could pay for a house, bills, my education, and all the necessities in life then hell yeah. But, right now, I don’t think so. I’m gonna be focusing on a career of computer programming when I attend USF in August. Although, I might ride the wave right now since I know this opportunity might not arise again. Especially, since my music is making charts right now. I need to take advantage of my status right now. Im sure it will die down if I don’t focus on it. So, I’ll try my best to balance.
BL: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t pursuing music?
HS: I would probably be into professional gaming. That’s what I did when my music wasn’t getting buzz like it is right now. I used to play semi pro Counter Strike and played a lot of OSU. HAHA WHAT A NERD HUH?! Or I would be focusing on skateboarding. Glad I found music.
BL: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, ‘Missed Connections’?
HS: Missed Connections sums up all these stories attached to this inanimate figure that I sing to. A lot of songs are derived from situations I hear or see. For instance, to be honest, a few songs are influenced by anime. After watching “Ocean Waves or “5 CM per second”, it was eminent what I wanted to write about. I write in the mindset of this middle schooler who explores instances of romance even if they’re just made up. His fascinations and curiosity seems to emit throughout the album. The inanimate figure is lurking in every corner of the middle schooler’s mind. The only song that holds gravity to real life is “Those Last Words”, which reflects on someone liking you but you don’t share that back since their mask is visible in plain sight and their intentions aren’t pure/genuine. Overall, the album speaks upon the insecurities of an adolescent mind.
BL: What would you say sets this album apart from your previous work?
HS: PRODUCED. Hhaha. In my opinion, the production in this is pretty damn good. When I listen to it while comparing to some of my favorite bands, I’m like “WTF, my shit sounds clearer than these songs that I thought sounded so produced.” Also, I feel like the songwriting is more tight. The delivery is there. With it being a studio release, you get to the freedom and opportunity to try to create the sound you want. I’m very pleased with the quality. It’s more put together. No messy vocals or fucked up guitar parts. Though, it still has that rawness IMO.
BL: Talk to us a bit about Blind Love Tapes.
HS: Blind Love Tapes is a super small tape label that I run. So far I’ve released acts like Jinsang, Cold Hart, and Original God. Originally being a label for my friend’s band, I wanted to release some of the music I was really into. Recently I’ve been releasing a lot of trap influenced acts. It’s really crazy that I got to release some of my favorite musicians. It’s kind of idle right now due to the past months of schools and focus on High Sunn. Usually tapes run from 25-50 copies. HMU if you wanna snag or look up the name on google.
BL: What advice would you give someone that wants to start recording?
HS: Just fucking do it lol. I’ve talked to people who are so anal about getting the best setup right from the get go. I’m like all you have to do is either get a digital 8 track recorder or audio interface. Don’t worry about pedals. You can do all that stuff with your DAW. Make a goal for yourself too. Maybe try to aim at writing a whole album in a week or two. It’s always good to set a schedule IMO, since people get lazy (especially me).
BL: What would you say has been your biggest challenge so far as far as music goes?
HS: Probably touring. Since, I’m my age, I can’t really do anything too crazy. Yeah my parents support me, but to an extent. They want me to focus on school which is totally understandable. Especially with all they sacrifice to put me where I am at. Although, I would like to play more shows outside the Bay Area. The farthest I’ve been, regarding shows, is San Diego. I get a good amount of offers to be placed in sick ass lineups, but would have to decline since they’re in places like NY, Texas, Oregon, etc. I would love to cater to my fans across the nation. But, it’s summertime, so hopefully I get more freedom to tour.
BL: Not only are you a talented musician, but you’re also pretty good at skateboarding. (I did my research) What advice would you give to people who are just starting to skate?
HS: Skate with friends. Don’t skate alone. Your confidence builds up and skating becomes more fun. The more fun you have, the more likely you are to stick with it. Also, don’t give up. Even skating 10 minutes a day will improve your ability.
BL: I read in an interview that your dad is the one who kind of got you into music. Would you say that your family is pretty supportive of your music career?
HS: As said above, they are to an extent hahah. While my dad really pushes my music, my mom is the one who is realistic. They both want me to succeed when I’m older and be comfortable. The music industry is a bitch. I know that. That’s why I am majoring in computer programming. I want to be financially stable and have nice things hahaha. Deep down, I know they want me to live a life where I can excel with my passion, but that seems too much of a dream. If my music could pay for a house, kids, bills, and necessities, then of course they would be on board. Me as well. They go to almost all my concerts which makes me smile. They are one of my biggest supporters by far. Well the biggest. HAHHAHA.
BL: Describe your dream tour.
HS: A tour with Mom Jeans.
Playing in all major cities across U.S.
Then we would hit up Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and anywhere in Europe.
BL: Are there any bands that have helped contribute to your sound?
HS: Of course.
Let me give ya a list:
Beach Fossils, The Cure, Tele/visions(Current Joys), Teen Suicide, Foliage, Toner, Pavement, For Tracy Hyde, New Order, and Bedroom.
BL: Who would you like to collaborate with?
HS: I would love to collaborate with Cold Hart, Bedroom, Foliage, Johnny Goth, Current Joys, Horse Head, Killy, Say Sue Me, Zombie-Chang, and Mom Jeans.
BL: Do you plan on touring for the new album any time soon?
HS: Doing a small Southern California Tour in late June. Hopefully a broader one in July.
BL: What has been your favorite show so far?
HS: Hmm. Probably the show that my friend YiWei hosted. The Bedroom x High Sunn x Diners show was so fun. Not only was the turnout great, but the energy was great. Thee Parkside was a tight venue too. It was just a night full of dancing and laughing. I got to meet Noah (Bedroom) which was a blessing. I’ve been listening to his music for a while and it’s crazy to say that I had the opportunity to play alongside him. Also, I sold all my merch I had that day. LOL
BL: Worst show that you’ve played?
HS: The show in Chino, CA. I was touring the Natural Instinct album at the time and it was my first time playing outside of the Bay Area. The turnout was terrible. Only the bands and one other person was there. Also, the venue seemed like the Chuck E. Cheese's of concert halls. The spirits were low. What a great way to kick off the small tour huh.
BL: What are you currently working on?
HS: A new High Sunn full length.
Collaborations with other artists.
My emo side project , “call us dead”, album
BL: What can we expect to see from High Sunn in the future?
HS: More bangers LOL. I have so many songs lined up for y’all. Expect a new production style too ;). A LOT more releases. Hopefully more shows and merchandise announcements as well.
BL: Is there anything that you want our readers to know about high sunn?
HS: Drinks > Solid Food
BL: To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
HS: Do you like boba? BL: Fett
Do you want to link? yes
What anime do you recommend me? Cowboy Bebop is the only anime I've watched
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would just want to live in my car and travel.
Chinese food or korean food? Korean!
Listen to High Sunn here:
Keep Up With High Sunn Here: