Justin Cheromiah of High Sunn Shares a Peek Into his Intimate, lo-fi World

California-based musician and songwriter, Justin Cheromiah a.k.a High Sunn, has musically accomplished more by the age of 20 than most people do before the age of 40. Cheromiah’s lo-fi indie project started when he was only 14 after he received a Tascam 8 track for his birthday. 

Photo by: Sara Gibbs

Photo by: Sara Gibbs

“I was influenced by a lot of lo-fi bandcamp bands at the time. I would watch interviews of small bands talking about their at-home equipment and wanted to be like them. Ever since I was little, I wanted to write my own music, but never knew how to approach it. So when I got the Tascam, I just tried to emulate how bands like Wavves and Beach fossils would record their early demos. From there and so forth, I've been recording or writing almost everyday,” Cheromiah said. 

Since the emergence of High Sunn (a name chosen with the help of one of Cheromiah’s friends from middle school), Cheromiah has released over 30 singles, EP’s and LP’s. Scrolling through his discography can feel like diving into an endless hole, but one you definitely want to fall into. In 2016 alone, Cheromiah put out eight LP’s and managed to make each one sound unordinary and unique next to one other. He skillfully sings and plays the guitar, but seeks help outside of his expertise to record and perform his jangly, dream pop melodies.

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“Usually I would start with a catchy guitar riff and loop it to add some melody. I find myself humming to the guitars to get the general basis of how I should lay down the vocals. Before I would just record the song with a drum machine and send the recorded guitar and vocal parts  my friend, Tristin, who would improve the structure with drums and synth. I usually stick to this method since the riff creates the whole flow of the song,” explained Cheromiah.

Everyone who plays music with Cheromiah is a friend. His bandmates perform with him at shows and helped record the 2018 LP Missed Connections and 2017 EP Hopeless Romantic. 

“Joe is my drummer. Fredy is (was) my lead guitarist and Ari is my bassist. I met Joe through friends and mutual. Through Joe, I found Fredy. We hopped on a Skype call and bonded over a game called Civilizations 5. Then I met Ari through both of them. Currently the roster for my live band is shifting but they are all my buddies. Tristin is the one who has been there with me since day one. Since my late 2015 releases! He recently worked on my new album Our Perception by adding drum, synth and mixing to the songs I crafted. Big ups to him. My long lost brother. I have never wrote with anyone else,” Cheromiah shared.

Currently, High Sunn has no shows coming up due to Cheromiah’s increasingly hectic college and work schedule, but he has some fond memories of touring with other acts like Day Wave and T. Rexico. Cheromiah says 

“[My favorite show would] probably be opening up for Day Wave at the August Hall in San Francisco since the audience was huge and everyone there fucked with me. Orrrrrrr. I would say this DIY show I played in San Diego with T. Rexico and a few other bands, since it was just a bunch of homies there supporting. Good tight crowd who genuinely cared about the atmosphere and my music. It was a memorable road trip with my band and girlfriend,”

High Sunn was born out of Cheromiah’s intrigue and love of the lo-fi genre, because of its simplicity and honesty. Listeners feel close, as if they’re right there in the room with Cheromiah when they hear his twangy riffs and stripped down vocals. It’s the type of music that echoes in a tight space. After years and years of seizing this at a young age, Cheromiah, adds deeply personal touches to his newest album Our Perception. 

“These songs are what I feel from a day to day basis. I want people to not be afraid of expressing their emotions and be open. Dance and swoon to my music. Also, Our Perception is basically a love letter to my significant other and how they made me realize a lot of things I under estimated,” Cheromiah said. 

The High Sunn team and Cheromiah certainly capture what a lifetime of swooning, dancing, spinning, crying, smiling, jumping, or anything of the sort sounds and feels like. A noble musical achievement if there ever was one. 

-Allison Kridle

Delaney Motter