Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Featured Interview: SUNS OF STONE

Canada's Suns Of Stone
Interview by The Dedicated Rocker Society

Starting off playing small bars in Ottawa in early 2012, Suns Of Stone,  singer, Alan Charlton, guitarist Jimmy King, bassist Andrew Erlandson and drummer Alex Scott, quickly expanded to playing nearby cities and larger venues. Jimmy went to college at a recording studio and upon graduation was hired on part time. The band recorded their first EP by themselves and financed it completely independently. With great reaction they buckled down and recorded their first full length album over the second half of 2012. 

Their self titled debut album was recorded in Ottawa at Audio Valley Studios and was produced by both Steve Foley and Jimmy King. The album captures the band in their essence, bringing both their hard rocking sound and southern/blues influences together. Blues inspired guitar riffs, powerful vocals and a heavy rhythm. Rock n’ roll with a modern sound and throwback edge. Influenced by the rock giants of the 70’s and groove rock from the new generation. Compared to bands such as: Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Black Crowes, Queens of the Stoneage, Led Zeppelin and Rival Sons.

Alan Charlton and Jimmy King gave us the lowdown about their self titled debut release and insight about what Suns Of Stone are all about. Here's what they shared with us.

Q: How long has the band been together? Has the band line up stayed the same?

We formed the band in 2011 and spent most of the year putting together our sound and jamming as much as we could. In 2012, Andrew came in on the bass to replace original member Doug Wallace shortly after we released our EP.

Q: What is the story behind the name of the band? Who came up with it?

Our original name, unbeknownst to us, was already taken. So that left us scrambling to find a new one. After having the first 10,000 ones quickly shot down, we finally all agreed upon Suns of Stone on the condition that it was spelled with a 'u'. Jimmy came up with the band name and Alex insisted on the spelling. In hindsight, we now realize most people assume it's spelled the other way around.

Q: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin and Black Crowes , from what we've read, are couple of ways your band's sound is influenced by. Would that be an accurate assessment? Who are your musical influences?

That would be a fair assessment although there are a ton of bands that influene us. In fact there are new ones everyday! First and foremost, we are music fans ourselves. Enormous music fans. We are heavily influenced by the 60's and 70's rock movement and to break it down band-by-band would just leave a bunch unnamed.

Let's talk about your debut release: 

Q: How long did it take to record?

We spent the second-half of 2012 recording the album in intervals. Financing the album independently brought on its own hurdles adding a longer waiting time to the release date.

Q: How many songs did you actually write for the album?

We started off with about 20 songs we considered recording for the album and by the end we had 10 lying on the cutting floor.

Q: What is your songwriting process like? Group or individual?

Jimmy is always coming up with new riffs and song ideas on the guitar. He'll usually bring a bunch of new material to the band to hear what sounds best when you add all of the instruments to the mix. From there Alex and Andrew work out the rhythm section for the new tunes. Alan will often improvise his vocal melodies and lyrics throughout the songwriting process, but its often that first idea that's the best. The songs that come together right away are usually our favorite ones.

Q: Where was the video for, "Rise Up" shot? How long was the shoot? Memorable moments (good or bad) during the making of the video?

We shot all of the footage for 'Rise Up' over three days in January of 2013 while on tour. We had a couple friends along with us to help shoot the live shots and had the band members shoot most of the off-stage moments. This video was a lot of fun to put together and was the first video we've shot independently! One night that sticks out was the night we played the Sound Academy in Toronto where we got to sign our first autographs. Since then, we released our next music video for 'Talking To Me' which was shot professionally in Ottawa.

Q: What separates Suns Of Stone from the other bands that are out there right now?

We try to be as transparent as a band as we can. We know what music we like and we're straightforward about it. What you hear on a Suns of Stone recording is what you hear live - we've got nothing to hide.

Q: As a band, what goals have you set for yourselves?

We probably have a lot of the same aspirations as most younger bands out there, but its hard to know exactly what is going to come your way and what's possible given your resources. Tour places we've never been, record another album and keep moving forward. Play as much as we can!

Q: Any plans on playing any shows in L.A.? What about playing music festivals this coming Summer?

We'd love to get the chance to get down to L.A. As of now our summer dates haven't been sorted out, so we'll have to see how everything unfolds. With our album released in January 2014 through Bad Reputation (France), we're looking to get over to Europe this summer. For now we're going with the flow, enjoying the ride and we can't wait to see where it takes us.

Q: Any parting comments or messages to your fans you would like to pass along?

Well, we have a saying up here in Canada: 'Live Long and Prosper'. We hope to do all three.

Suns of Stone look forward to a bright future and career touring and recording in the music scene. The band has big plans for 2014, both nationally and in expanding outside their homeland. True to their attitude, they will remain the same guys they’ve always been. Down-to-earth rock n’ rollers that can’t wait to get on stage every opportunity they get. They are a bunch of hard working guys with jobs and bills to pay. They’ll see you soon world. REAL soon. Catch them at a stage near you.

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