Sun Gods to Gamma Rays
Gig Seeker Pro

Sun Gods to Gamma Rays

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Pop Dream Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Feelin' It Out"

Bartosz Lampart finally got his way.

The 18-year-old high school exchange student from Warsaw, Poland, caught his favorite band, Minneapolis outfit Sun Gods to Gamma Rays, at one of their only shows he could get into underage.

“I remember hearing them in the car with my host family and trying so hard to write the lyrics down,” he said. “I fell in love instantly.”

He’d been waiting for months. As show time drew closer, Lampart thought of the first time he’d heard the “cosmic ensemble” play their ethereal blend of dreamy rock with splashes of drone and jazz.

When Lampart became active on the group’s Facebook page and approached them for a quick autograph session after their set, the band was totally surprised.

“He was the first person that really dug us that none of us knew at all,” said Peter Bregman, the band’s resident Rhodes piano player.

Even though Sun Gods to Gamma Rays received positive press for their EP, “The Water, The Wave” late last year, they’re still finding their balance as a band.

The band started from vocalist Brianna Kocka’s solo project, CAETANI. Kocka needed a backing band to play in a Magnetic Fields tribute compilation in 2012.

Once the outfit discovered their styles meshed well, they started crafting the band’s now-signature aesthetic.

Sun Gods to Gamma Rays play meditation rock — highly layered instrumentals with a heroically deliberate rhythm section, Kocka’s hauntingly delicate croon and the unmistakable effect of Bergman’s 200-pound Rhodes piano. Listening to their songs feels like waves lapping against your brain.

It’s fitting, because the song from which “The Water, The Wave” gets its title swells into a rhythmic suite with a runtime of 7:15. Each pulse of the bass paired with Kocka’s fragile coo is as hypnotic as it is comforting.

Bassist Brian Gollnick said the band’s niche sound came out of experimentation and surprise.

“I don’t know what it is about our rhythm that ends up working,” he said. “But somehow, each of us will lay something down, and it all starts coming together out of nowhere.”

Their sound comes from feeling the groove rather than textbook music knowledge, Kocka said, and her most recent lyrics have been influenced by how words sound more than their meaning.

This instinctual take on music is embraced by all members of the band.

“We’re all in touch with how we feel every day,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll come to rehearsal and feel like a total tool, and that’ll really affect what happens there.”

Kocka’s father, Steve Kocka, said his daughter has always been in tune with her emotions. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because when he played in his band The Battle Creek Boys in the ’70s, he said he worked the same way.

“There’s always been music in the house,” he said. “Brianna was doing stuff in ninth grade that I didn’t grasp until I was much older.”

That sort of quick development continued in her work with Sun Gods to Gamma Rays.

“We’ve been writing faster and faster as we move forward,” Bregman said.

The band speculated they’ll release a full-length record in fall 2014.

“We only have three new songs, so I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions, but we’re starting to groove more,” Brianna Kocka said. “It feels dance-ish.”

However, they’re more focused on getting prepared for their second appearance at the Mid West Music Fest in April and refining their sound.

“Being in a band is like being in a polygamous relationship,” she said. “And it’s awesome.” - Minnesota Daily

"10 Twin Cities music acts who deserve to be famous"

"The atmospheric dream-pop act Sun Gods to Gamma Rays just released their exquisite debut EP, The Water, the Wave, earlier this month. (Prior to that, the sound evolved fluidly from the solo project of frontwoman Brianna Kocka, Caetani, into a pulsating quintet.) The collection has a stirring elegance to it, with plenty of space for the listener to be immersed and taken on Kocka's captivating lyrical journey. The EP's simmering, expansive title track perfectly captures the adventurous musical spirit and boundless talents of the band." - City Pages, Gimme Noise Blog

"Introducing: Sun Gods to Gamma Rays"

When listening to local music, it can sometimes be tough to resist the urge to assign TC bands a “local handicap,” in effect giving them a discount pass simply for being from the Twin Cities. It reduces “music criticism” to pure cheerleading, and in the end neither bands nor listeners really benefit. Still, I am guilty of this phenomenon, just as are pretty much all of our local media outlets. I want to make this point because I was listening to Radio K the other day, and Sun Gods to Gamma Rays’ “Not Worth Anything” came over the stereo, and it is to the bands’ credit that, without any knowledge of where the band is from, I immediately went to the K’s playlist to find out who they were. Sun Gods to Gamma Rays are, I found out, a local band. And a very good one at that! They play melodic dream pop draped in melancholy piano and ethereally reverbed guitar chords. The band is fronted by vocalist CAETANI, who’s lovely intonation seems to fall comfortably somewhere between Polica’s Channy Leaneagh and Beach House’s Victoria LeGrand. Backing CAETANI are Paul Flynn (guitar), Brian Gollnick (bass), Peter Bregman (electric piano) and Mitch Miller (drums). You can check out the track that was my introduction to the band below, and if you dig it you can stream the band’s new EP at their bandcamp site. You can also see the band perform tonight at the 7th St. Entry, where they’ll be opening for Swedish duo Deer Tracks. - Reviler

"We Will Rock You Review Round-Up By Jon Hunt"

And speaking of shoegaze, another group that’s putting an interesting twist on that oft-imitated sound is the amazing Sun Gods To Gamma Rays, featuring the magnificent Brianna Kocka aka Caetani, who has one of the best voices in town — alternately hugely powerful and intimately cajoling and possessed of enormous amounts of control. Their debut EP is simply terrific — I detect some cool influences right out, including Massive Attack (those dubby basslines!), Portishead, the usual array of shoegaze bands like the aforementioned Slowdive and, if I’m not mistaken, local faves like February and Astronaut Wife. But they put a nifty twist on the sound — it’s mysterious and a little foreboding, the sound of a misty moor or a dimly-lit twilight with a single candle burning, all cool percussion syncopation and weird sonic washes, nebulous guitar figures and cool basslines. And it’s all bolstered by some great, great songwriting — “Not Worth Anything” is dark and deeply trippy, “Rise, Ascend” reminds me of mid-period Pink Floyd in the best of all possible ways, and “You Thought You Had It All” is the kind of coolly danceable classic that Portishead and Morcheeba used to spin out so marvelously. And “Burn Me Though” is another one of those songs that, in a perfect world, would be a massive, massive Current hit and bring these guys local acclaim. If it doesn’t happen, it’s no fault of theirs — The Water, The Wave is an exquisite record, and a great, if too-short, hint at great things to come from this magnificent little band. - Letoile Magazine

"Sun Gods to Gamma Rays: Listen to Us While Floating in the Ccean Under a Sky Full of Fiery Stars"

Minneapolis band Sun Gods to Gamma Rays have hatched upon a trippy new sound, and impressive one at that. Their new EP The Water, The Wave brings to mind early Mazzy Star mixed with Air. The first single "Burn Me Through" takes you on an astral journey, leaving you in that space of consciousness you find in the moments right before falling asleep.

Before the band's album release show at the Kitty Cat Klub on Saturday, they spoke with Gimme Noise about their beginnings and the personal growth that came in writing The Water, The Wave.
Band Members: Peter Bregman, Paul Flynn, Brian Gollnick, Mitch Miller and Brianna Kocka

Gimme Noise: How did you all meet and decide to collaborate on Sun Gods to Gamma Rays?

Brianna Kocka: How we all met is actually a really fun story to tell, because we are all so connected in funny ways. The key factor here is Peter, our Rhodes player -- he's like the "Kevin Bacon" of the band.

Paul and Peter used to co-own a recording studio called Owl Recording together in Uptown with two other business partners, so they've known each other for years and have engineered a ton of local music together. They've also been in a handful of other bands together. Brian, our bass player used to be one of Peter's roommates. Brian also played in a few bands with Peter and Paul before we started Sun Gods. Peter and I met at the Kitty Cat Klub in August of 2011; he was running sound for my solo project, CAETANI. We hit it off, and are actually getting hitched in about a year. Finally, there is Mitch. Peter and I knew Mitch peripherally; he's in a handful of bands in Minneapolis -- Me and My Arrow, Exiles, Sunday Band, I Hate Sports, to name a few -- and while we were searching high and low for a drummer, a friend recommended him.

What is really funny and kind of odd is that a few years ago, before any of us really knew Mitch, Peter sold him his set of cymbals via Craigslist. Now those are the cymbals that he plays in the band. It just goes to show you how interconnected this music community really is here.

We decided to collaborate in the late fall of 2012. Matt Latterell asked CAETANI to do a song on the Absolutely Cuckoo: Minnesota Covers the 69 Love Songs project. My backing band at the time was too busy with other projects to play on the song, so I approached Peter, Paul and Brian about it. They agreed, and that was pretty much the beginning of Sun Gods. I guess that means we've been a band for about a year.

Gimme Noise: What's everyone's musical background, and what do they bring to SGGR?

Brianna Kocka: My musical background is pretty varied. I grew up a theater kid. At the age of 12, I started teaching myself how to play guitar, and before that I had taken piano lessons for a few years. When I was about 16 I started writing and demoing my own songs. (To this day my dad still has copies of them, I keep telling him to burn them.) By the time I was 18 I played my first show at the Acadia Cafe when it was located on Franklin and Nicollet. I played with a young Bethany Larson before she had her Bee's Knee's and Jimmy Barnett, the drummer from Sleeper and the Sleepless.

From there, I just kept writing and playing, but I didn't really consider myself an artist or musician until about four years ago. It was in 2010 that I recorded my first real album under my real name, the LP was called Write by Night. It's a folk album. Then in April of 2012 I released The Black EP under my stage name CAETANI. I'm really excited about Sun Gods to Gamma Rays for a handful of reasons. But one, albeit moderately, selfish reason is that I play the the keyboard to add ambiance and feel to the songs, which means I can really focus on my singing, what I feel is my strong suit. Honestly, I think that Sun Gods to Gamma Rays is the project I've always wanted to work on. It's really a labor of love for me.

Brian Gollnick: I started playing music in grade school. I played trumpet from 5th grade through high school -- marching band, concert band, jazz band, pep band -- you name it, I was a total band geek. At some point in high school, some friends of mine started a garage band and convinced me to get a bass and play with them. I totally fell in love. After high school, I moved to Florida convinced that I was going to pursue bass as a career, but instead I got turned on to electronic music. For years I let my bass collect dust while I was busy playing with drum machines, synths, and turntables. I didn't really start playing bass again until a couple of years ago. Playing with SGGR has really brought back my passion for the instrument and my background in production and DJing has definitely shaped the way that I approach it in the context of this project.

Mitch Miller: Growing up I had more of a passion for listening to music than playing it. I dabbled in high school with some punk, cover and weird arty bands, but I didn't start taking playing serious until after high school. The last few years I've tried to make every opportunity work as a drummer. Sun Gods to Gamma Rays' soft dynamics really appealed to me as someone who has a louder background. It's been fun and challenging to help with some of the bigger and louder dynamics and meanwhile hold back in the quiet, slow portions.

Paul Flynn: I started playing guitar at the age of 13, and in middle school and high school I performed with punk and metal bands in my hometown of Austin, MN. After graduation, I moved to Minneapolis and studied audio engineering and production, which is when I met Peter. He and I went on to form Owl Recording in Uptown with two other partners, during which time we started jamming and songwriting together. We've always worked well together, but until SGGR formed this last year, we were never able to successfully get a project off the ground. Looking back, it feels like this band has been a long time coming.

Peter Bregman: I started playing drums in 6th grade and started playing in bands by 9th grade. At some point in high school the band I was in wanted to record demos, and I decided to try to figure out how to record them myself. I quickly got sucked into the word of audio engineering and production, and it became my biggest passion. In college, I studied acoustics, electronics, and music theory among other things, and made it my goal to make records. For years I worked in recording studios and then started Owl with Paul and two other friends. I spent a ton of time working on getting just the right tones and creating a sense of atmosphere and became obsessed with creating organic sounding recordings. After learning to play piano, I began to write some music and explore building sonic soundscapes. Once SGGR got together, I had the excuse I needed to buy a Rhodes piano and run it through a ton of effects pedals, which is all I ever really wanted.

Gimme Noise: What's the story behind the album title, The Water, The Wave?

Brianna Kocka: "The Water, The Wave" is the closing track on the EP. It's a song we've been playing live for a while now, and we've always loved the song. However, once we got into the studio to record it, it came alive to us in a new way. We threw around a few other titles for the EP, but ultimately decided to go with this one, I guess because it just felt like for us. I think in a lot of ways, this track is the most representative of where we want to go in the future as a band.

Peter Bregman: The song, "The Water, The Wave" is an epic, 7-minute-long slow-burn. It's not the kind of song that would be played on the radio, but we all agreed that it was one of the best songs any of us have ever written. Naming the EP after it just seemed right.

Gimme Noise: Your song "Burn Me Through" is pretty ambient and reminds me of Feist. Where did you draw inspiration for this track?

Brian Gollnick: This song seemed to come about so naturally -- it was completely unforced. I really think that writing "Burn Me Through" was the point when we all found ourselves on the same page about where our sound was going. We all come from such different musical backgrounds that the combination of our influences really makes creating music for this project a constant surprise.

Paul Flynn: I think like most of our tunes, once the foundation was laid, we all just tried to establish a good backdrop for Brianna to sing over. It's all happened pretty organically, and since we have such varied backgrounds it's hard to point at specific influences that we all share.

Brianna Kocka: I think it's fair to say that I draw inspiration from Feist. I was listening to her record "Metals" a lot when we first started writing for this EP last winter. But I agree with Paul, we all have such varied musical taste, there isn't one place we drew inspiration from for this track. I do know that I wanted to build a lush and groovy song that kind of pumped you up at the same time. I think we achieved that with "Burn Me Through."

Mitch Miller: Peter had demoed a drum part for this song. I remember one of the first run-throughs as a band someone joked that this was the "Madonna" song. Oddly enough that helped when shaping the groove.

Peter Bregman: The chord progression for "Burn Me Through" started as a weird little theme I worked out on piano and evolved from there. It plays around with some interesting chords, but it's pretty basic overall. Once the guys played back their ideas for me, the song went in a smoother, groovier direction which worked really well with the chords. When we first started practicing it, Brianna was just chanting over the music (a method she uses a lot), and eventually worked out lyrics that fit the feel perfectly. It all came together really quickly.

Gimme Noise: Is the rest of the album pretty low-key?

Peter Bregman: You'll have to pick up a copy to find out. Just kidding. I think we cover a lot of ground on the EP. The songs are all very atmospheric, but they vary from fairly rock & roll to almost ambient, with a lot of groove throughout.

Gimme Noise: What is the story you wanted to tell?

Brianna Kocka: This album represents a lot of loss and gain in my personal life. I don't want to give away the meaning of the songs too much, because I really want people to interpret and find meaning in them as they relate to them. I will say though that the lyrics on this record are essentially about divorcing myself from who I used to be to who I am now emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This record is about emptying myself out and learning to be okay with that vast emptiness.

Gimme Noise: Where would be the ideal place to listen to The Water, The Wave?

Brianna Kocka: Probably floating in the ocean on your back, under a sky full of fiery stars.

Mitch Miller: While sharing a cigarette post-coitus with an alien on a magic carpet in space.

Paul Flynn: While traveling in a shrunken submarine through someone's bloodstream.

Peter Bregman: While sleeping in the hollow on the back of a giant armadillo.

Gimme Noise: Any key tracks off the album?

Brianna Kocka: Honestly I think each song stands on its own two feet, so it would be unfair to say one stands out more than the other.

Peter Bregman: There are only five tracks, and they're all key.

Paul Flynn: Yeah, Peter plays keys on all of them. Sorry, bad joke.

Gimme Noise: Any plans to tour?

Brianna Kocka: I have never wanted to tour -- ever... until this band. It's weird how that happens, yeah? I seriously have daydreams about touring now. I've really never been in love with a project as much as this one, so getting out there and creating a space for more people to encounter our music would be a dream come true. Once we get our LP done, I think we'll try our hardest to hit the road a bit.

Paul Flynn: Eventually I think it would be really fun, but we'd probably just start with some small regional stints. Right now we're mostly focused on maturing our sound and getting this EP done.

Peter Bregman: At some point, definitely, but we're all feeling the pull right now to start writing again and putting together some new material.

Gimme Noise: What can we expect to see at the album release show?

Brianna Kocka: Maybe I'll try out some new dance moves while channeling my inner Bjork.

Mitch Miller: I hope Brianna finally brings out her jumpsuit.

Paul Flynn: Hopefully our best performance yet!

Peter Bregman: A brief glimpse into the infinite expanse of the universal psyche. Also, a fog machine. - City Pages, Gimme Noise Blog

"Local Radar: Sun Gods to Gamma Rays"

Brianna Kocka reached out to me last year with a new project called Caetani (kay-tah-nee) which became one of my favorite discoveries of 2012. It was overlooked by many – maybe people were too scared to attempt to pronounce the name. Either way, The Black EP was really an awesome debut and would have fit nicely in a Wye Oak discography (Kocka sounds remarkably like Jenn Wasner).

The band played out live on the circuit for a little while before retreating back into the studio for an extended period of silence. The reason? They were working hard on transitioning the act into a new namesake called Sun Gods To Gamma Rays. “Caetani” still exists but solely as Kocka’s stage name – she intends to play some solo shows this summer to keep that original project intact.

As the new name suggests, Sun Gods To Gamma Ray’s style is much more ethereal than their original incarnation. There’s a lot of space imagery– Kocka drops some key words in their biography: “soundscape,” “twinkling” and “cosmos” to name a few. But they’re also quick to note a philosophical influence which accounts for the minimalist instrumentation and nostalgic, washed out lyrics.

“Burn Me Through” is the first taste of their forthcoming debut record due out early fall. Hollow drums and a groovy bass line evoke Zero 7 to an extent, with Kocka singing a brilliantly simple and catchy chorus: “I want, I really really want you / I need, I really really need you”

The entire song hinges on the repetition of those two lines, and they get more surprising every time you listen. With delicate “ahh ahhs” accompanying her voice and an added instrumental part each time the chorus restates itself, the song illustrates expert craftsmanship. This is a young band to keep your eyes on.

“Burn Me Through” is available now on Bandcamp. - Minnesota Public Radio's The Local Current Blog


Still working on that hot first release.



Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Sun Gods to Gamma Rays exist to create sweeping and contrasted soundscapes with a focus on groove and the ethereal. This dream pop quintet began writing together in the winter of 2012 and released their first EP, "The Water, The Wave" on November 5, 2013.

Sun Gods to Gamma Rays is Brian Gollnick, Paul Flynn, Mitch Miller, Brianna Kocka and Peter Bregman.

Band Members