Silversun Pickups is an alternative rock band from Los Angeles that was formed in 2002. The band currently comprises Brian Aubert, Nikki Monninger, Christopher Guanlao and Joe Lester.
The band released their debut EP, Pikul, in July 2005, and their debut full-length album, Carnavas, on July 26, 2006. Their second full-length album, Swoon, was released on April 14, 2009. Neck of the Woods, the band’s third full-length album, was released on May 8, 2012.
The band members are friends who had played together previously or in mutual friends’ bands. They began their career in Los Angeles clubs, most often at Silverlake Lounge or nearby Spaceland, and began to draw a strong following upon the release of the Pikul EP.
The band originated in L.A.’s Silver Lake music scene, home of Rilo Kiley and others.
The band was originally named A Couple of Couples, as the original line-up was composed of a pair of romantically involved couples– lead guitarist Brian Aubert was dating drummer Elvira Gonzales, while bassist Nikki Monninger was dating rhythm guitarist Jack Kennedy. After Gonzales and Kennedy left the band and Guanlao and Lester joined, the group changed their name to Silversun Pickups, which was derived from a liquor store located across from Silverlake Lounge. One of the friends would often arrive at the store late at night to buy liquor, and would be as such making the “Silversun Pickup”. In interviews, the band has said their name is more of “a state of mind”.
Brian Aubert met Nikki Monninger in 1994 on a flight from Los Angeles to London. Both of them were headed to Cambridge for a school exchange program. Aubert noticed Monninger sitting across the aisle from him stealing alcohol from the drink cart by distracting the flight attendant.
For the Pikul EP, fellow Silverlaker Tanya Haden was enlisted to play cello on the track “Kissing Families”.