IndieInterviewMusic

18pm interview: Just two friends making honest music

Beginnings

Having grown up side by side, it’s no surprise that Los Angeles-based alternative indie band 18pm, made up of Ryan England and Zach Sulak, are on the same wavelength when creating introspective music.

By coupling themes of loneliness and reflection with transparent and repetitive lyrics, the duo is able to powerfully portray the rawness of human emotion.

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“We’ve just gone through a bunch of life experiences with each other,” Sulak said. “It stems into how we make our music, how close we are to each other, and how natural it feels to create together.”

Zach Sulak (left) and Ryan England (right) perform in the music video for “Let Me Down”

The name 18pm compliments the band’s candid content by drawing from the natural beauty of golden hour.

“I watched this video that had a string of numbers and then ‘P.M.’ after it,” Sulak said. “I kind of liked that. The time, 18:00 P.M. is 6:00 [P.M.], which is [the] golden hour. I figured that [the name] worked because one of my favorite times of [the] day is the sunset. Everything looks amazing at that time, and the name sounded pretty cool, too.”

It seems as though the duo was always on the brink of something creative. Their budding first-grade friendship withstood the test of time, blooming in their middle and high school years.

“I remember freshman year of high school we had a class together,” Sulak recalled. “We would just sit in the computer lab on Spotify just making playlists and listening to music.”

How 18pm Creates

The two have only recently started to take their passion for music to the next level. In 2019, 18pm released a single, “Invisible,” and a self-titled EP, 18pm!. In 2020, they dropped another single, “Control,” which has already claimed the spot as their most popular song on Spotify.

Cover of 18pm’s May 1 single, “Control.”

Much of the writing and recording they do occurs in Sulak’s apartment—set up with speakers, a laptop and some guitars. While sonic elements are absolutely crucial to 18pm’s vibe, the pair also prioritize visual components of their art, such as music videos.

“[Sulak handles] shooting videos, editing them, and making them look the way that they do with the 18pm feel,” England said. “It’s a very self-made, DIY feeling, but it’s not low-budget thanks to [Sulak’s] abilities.”

Currently a film student at Azusa Pacific University, Sulak aspires to one day support himself off with his filmmaking. The videos for 18pm are shot using his camera and the two make conscious efforts to represent themselves in an authentic way.

“With our music videos, they’re not crazy or flashy,” Sulak emphasized. “We want it to be just us performing, people to see it’s just us playing these songs. All we want to show is our music and our vibe.”

Because of this, 18pm is most inspired by artists who stay true to simplicity.

“When Mac Demarco released Salad Days, that was the shit,” England laughed. “Anybody who did anything indie had to be on that. We didn’t really take much as far as musical inspiration from anyone, but he created this space within indie music where it no longer had to sound like it was this massive, big production, with a high budget studio and producers and this and that. He opened the door for people like us to just make music and release it without much reserve. While he isn’t a massive inspiration to us musically, I think that really kickstarted [18pm] because at that point [Sulak] and I were trying to make music. We’ve been trying to make music since back in middle school, but I think that that just poked the bear and eventually got us to this point.”

New content

Currently, 18pm is busy working on new music and visuals, but they don’t want to rush a release.

“We have quite a bit in the works,” England explained. “A lot of ideas to toss around, but I would say expect a new project pretty soon. I don’t know when, but hopefully soon.”

Sulack provided simple advice on behalf of the group’s sincere artistic approach, telling listeners and fans to just, “try to enjoy the music as much as we enjoy making it.”

In an industry where artists frequently lose themselves chasing elaborate lifestyles, 18pm is a breath of fresh air. Whether you choose to watch a music video or to tune in on a listening platform, 18pm is sure to amuse you with their freshness and ingenuinity.

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