October 2009 - SUN GODS IN EXILE
By now, it should be clear that Small Stone Records is a record label of high quality. Each band has its individual character and when they discover a new band, you can be sure that it's a good one. One of the last newcomers is Portland's SUN GODS IN EXILE. "Ass kickin' rock 'n' roll" is one of the terms most frequently used and abused in musical discourse, but SUN GODS IN EXILE have the power of a flamethrower or a 1969 Pontiac GTO. Their debut album 'Black Light White Lines' is like a super-charged internal-combustion engine which is bursting with energy. The composition of the fuel is simple: a truckload of powerful heavy riffs in combination with irresistible hooklines. As a matter of course a strong vocalist must not be missed here. Yes, I'm so excited and thrilled with this killer band. The result: an entertaining interview with guitarist Anthony D'Agostino. Just buckle up and get going!
For our readers who aren't familiar with SUN GODS IN EXILE, please give us a short introduction. Where are you from, who's in the band and have you played in any other band before?
SUN GODS IN EXILE started a little over a year ago after I ended quitting Boston's Cortez. I had wanted to start a band like this for years, a band that is heavily influenced by mid to late 70's rock. We are from Portland Maine and the members are Adam Hitchcock - Vocals/ Guitars, Tony D'Agostino - Guitars, JL - Bass and Johnny Kennedy - Drums As I said before I was in Cortez and we put out a EP on Buzzville Records and did a small tour in Belgium which was great. JL is the guitarist in the band Ocean who are highly regarded in the doom metal scene.
I don't usually like to ask these type of questions, but from where came the name SUN GODS IN EXILE? It's a very inspiring name.
SUN GODS IN EXILE is the name of a book about the Dzopa tribe of Tibet whose ancestors are said to be half human half alien. To be perfectly honest I have never read it but heard about on a television show like Alien Encounters and the name stuck.
Your debut album 'Black Light White Lines' is excellent! You prove that rock 'n' roll is still alive and your songwriting abilities are really impressive. How long did the album take to record?
Thanks! I think Rock and Roll will always be alive and well but right now the only good Rock is underground. This album took a weekend to record all the basics and a couple days to do vocals and guitar solos. I feel like if you know what your doing you do not need 6 months in the studio like the mega bands of today. I feel like the get in and out approach keeps it raw and ballsy.
What inspired and influenced you?
I would say what inspires us the most is the heavy rock bands of the 70's namely Skynyrd, AC/DC, Foghat, James Gang, Molly Hatchet, Thin Lizzy etc... From modern bands I would say bands like Dixie Witch, The Four Horsemen, Kyuss, The Brought Low....
You seem to be huge fans of American muscle cars. Who came up with the genious idea for the cover artwork?
I wanted a muscle car theme but the idea and artwork is from Joey Toscano who is in the band Iota. I really like what he came up with and we actually have that image on our bass drum too.
Does anyone in the band owns one of this street monsters?
Yes, I own the 71 Chevelle SS as seen in our Hellwell video. Jl used to own a 76 Pontiac Lemans.
How did you guys hook up with Scott Hamilton's label Small Stone Records?
I always wanted to do a record with Small Stone it has always been my favorite indie label but I have to give the credit to our engineer Benny Grotto for getting us the deal. After recording a couple tracks he immediately sent them to Scott's Email and it all fell into place from there.
You recently played at the Stoner Hands Of Doom Festival in September 2009. I can well imagine that is was an exceptional experience. Tell us about your impressions, anything exciting to report?
The SHOD fest was a lot of fun but unfortunately we were insanely hungover from our Brooklyn gig the night before to thoroughly enjoy it. However we did meet some good people, great bands and had a great set that night.
Do you have any plans on going overseas and touring? Somewhere I have read that you would like to tour with Stone Axe. Is that true?
I really want to get to Europe and we are trying to find a European booking agent right now. Everybody I talk to is too busy to take on additional bands. Hopefully you will see us over there in the next year or two. We did a small east coast tour with Stone Axe during the SHOD fest and it was great and yes I would love to do more touring with them.
What are the members of SUN GODS IN EXILE listening to recently? Do you buy a lot of records and CD's?
I do but I am not sure about the rest of the band. I just got Pat Travers '8 + 8', Rick Derringer 'Live' and Tia Carrera - 'The Quintessential' this week and they are all great.
What do you all do in your spare time, when you aren't playing in the band?
Work! I own a house painting business, JL is a cabinet maker, Adam a bartender and JK a cook. For me it's Motorcycles, muscle cars, hiking with my Wife and Bernese Mountain Dog.
And finally, what's next for the band? Any plans for the future?
Right now we are recording a song for a split 7" with Stone Axe. We will start recording our next Small Stone release in early 2010. We will be doing a little regional touring and hopefully a tour down to and a appearance at SXSW.
Thanks a lot for your time. I can only hope that you will come over to Germany as soon as possible. Any last words?
Thank you for the interview. We are ready willing and able to come to Europe hopefully in 2010 if we can find a agent in the near future and Germany is at the top of our list. I hope everybody enjoys 'Black Light White Lines' for what it is: a straight Hard Rock and Roll Record!