May 2002 - SUNNSHINE
Due to the reason that this webzine grows stronger and larger with every year, I asked my old buddy Georg Nageldinger about doing an interview with SUNNSHINE. We listen very often and close to their CD-EP "Engender" that was a nice little surprise in this mass of releases. Sunn-driven heaviness, focused on melodies and different dynamics, that's what SUNNSHINE is about but there's more. So, it's up to you to read what this band's about. Thanks a lot for the questions, Georg!
The band was founded in 1994 with Jeff Srsic (guitar), Joshua Kayer (bass), Kevin White (drums) and Bill Storms (guitar). Later Joe Deleon (vocals) and Chris McPhearson (guitar) entered the band. Who did the singing before Joe Deleon and why did you came to the decision to widen the band about two musicians?
Actually our Bio on our website is sometimes confusing because there have been quite a few member changes over the years. To keep it simple we have only included those who are still with the band. Here's the real story... Sunnshine was origanally formed in 94' with Josh Kayer, Bill Storms, and Buddy Apostalis. Buddy was in Buzz-Oven during the "Sore" era and he hooked up with Josh and Bill to start Sunnshine. Bill Storms was an original member of Alabama Thunderpussy. He played bass for those guys and I believe he is on the first album "Rise Again." They found Joe Deleon working in Snowshoe, West Virginia after Chris Mcpherson told the band about him. He had worked with this band from Nags Head, North Carolina called Dead Man Walking. The guys from Sunnshine at that time heard a demo of his old band and they pretty much decided he was in the band based on the demo.
For all you history buffs, Joe was actually flown to West Virginia at one time to try out for Karma to Burn back when they were on Roadrunner. For what ever reason it didn't work out but there are some demos of Karma to Burn with his voice on it that rock. From there a few different drummers were in the band but the one I remember most was Kenny Wagner once with Sixty Watt Shamen and now he plays with Half Way to Gone. Kenny and Buddy left Sunnshine around the same time or within the same year or so....hell I don't remember. They both moved to Austin at that time to rock out in Texas. That's were Kevin White and myself come in to the picture. We both joined up with Sunnshine around 4 or 5 years ago. The line up has been the same other than the addition of Chris Mcpherson. Now either I have completely confused everyone or they have learned the history of Sunnshine.
At this time I've got your EP "Engender" in my hands. Is it the first release you did together? Were there any problems in doing the "Engender" EP - I mean because of the new line-up?
The "Engender" EP was more or less already recorded way before we decided to release it. The songs were from demos we had been shopping to bigger labels. Things never seemed to work out for us so we decided to just release them kinda low key with our good friends at Underdogma.
I think the "Engender" EP doesn't only lives from heavy riffs it also sounds melodic. Still the sound stays straight, without frills and on the essential point concentrated. Does the EP express what you expect from your sound?
The EP is a very small example of years of writing. Sunnshine has and will aways be heavy and melodic. That just seems to be what works for us when we get together and write. I can't wait for fans to hear what we are doing now. Some of those songs on the "Engender" EP are 7 years old. Imagine the same sound with that many years to evolve. Some of our new stuff can be heard on our website: www.Sunnshine.com The songs that our on there now were produced by Joe Barresi. He is best known for working with Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, and he just recently mixed the new Raging Speedhorn.
In the EP-cover is no printed songtext. How important are the lyrics for you and who is writing them? Will there be printed lyrics in the next album?
We wanted to kind of just give people a small taste of Sunnshine with the "Engender" EP. Not to mention it was on a small budget. Next time around we will have more songs, pics of the band, and of course lyrics.
On the label paper your sound is compared to bands like Rollins Band, COC, Soundgarden and Tool. Would you agree with that and what about influences from bands like Black Sabbath or Pentagram? Where would you see the musical roots from Sunnshine?
I'm not going to argue with that... That's four great bands that I love. If I had to say it in my own words I would have to compare our heaviness and tone to Black Sabbath. But since we try to be much more dynamic and melodic than most stoner/doom bands we have kind of a Tool edge also I guess. We try to bring it down to a whisper and then blow out everyones ear drums in the same song. It's easy to be loud and play heavy but to me its much cooler when you have an equal dynamic to compare it to.
Am I right on the assumption that the bandname Sunnshine is somehow be connected with Sunn Amps? Is there a special reason why you use Sunn amps?Would Chris McPhearson play in the band if he hadn't had a Sunn amp - or did you say:"Yes the man's great, but he has no Sunn amp - ok let's buy one and he's on board?"
Yes the name is somewhat connected but it doesn't mean we don't play different stuff. Chris actually plays a Marshall while Josh and I both play Sunn. In the studio we play everything. I wouldn't mind actually having a Sunn and Marshall at the the same time while playing live. They sound really good together...
If this is your debut CD I did like it from the first listening. I would like to see Sunnshine live. Is a European tour planned near future?
We would love to play Europe. There are no plans as of now but I wouldn't rule it out. It's really just a matter of us getting with the right record label and I am sure everything including a trip to Europe will fall into place.
How is your relation to other bands? Are there some special friendships? Do you make sometimes jam sessions with other musicians?
Well we are from the same town as Alabama Thunderpussy so you could definately say those guys are good friends of ours. Chris Mcpherson actully had a band for a few years with Johnny and Brian from ATP. I could definately see one of those guys showing up a on Sunnshine record in the future or maybe the other way around. We also have a very good relationship with Throttlerod. We have toured with them and since then they have moved to Richmond. With Throttlerod it's almost like we are in the same band. We are always asking each other for advice and stuff. We love those guys!
If there's a concert/tour on which you take part, what would be your personal dream combination?
I would love to see a Richmond, VA rock bands tour. Sunnshine, Alabama Thunderpussy, and Throttlerod. That probably isn't that far off from happening one day. I need to bug those guys for that one. I guess a dream show would be the opening slot on the Iron Maiden "World Slavery Tour" ....how cool would that be.
Can you live on makin' music or do you dependent on doing usual everyday working?
Shit... I don't know a band that doesn't work an everyday job when they aren't on the road. You have to be at a completely different level to live off music alone. Maybe one day the stoner/doom bands will break through and we'll all live like kings. Until then I'll be at work until the next road trip.
What are the other things in your life? Are there some important priorties in your life? And what about hobbies, families etc. ?
We all do different things to keep us busy. I have been a tattoo artist for the past 8 years and I guess you could say it is my second passion. Rock music and tattoos, it goes together quite nicely.
At last I want to thank you for taking the time to answer this questions. For me it was the first time ever in my life to make an interview. Nevertheless I hope you enjoyed it a little. I think you set with the EP "Engender" a good "foundation stone" and from me the best wishes for now and the future. Is there's anything you like to say?
Well, thanks for showing interest in our music and taking the time to ask us about what we are doing. Anytime! Hopefully we'll see you in Europe sometime soon...