Monday, June 1, 2015

Taken by The Sun Interview

(completed by Mark Cichra, guitarist)

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

First of all, thanks for taking the time to interview us. Always appreciate getting the chance to talk about our music. Anyway we’re from Chicago; we’ve been a band since about 2011 and released a demo EP two years ago. We’re all just big fans of all kinds of metal and want to mess around with sounds that we love and try to create new sounds.

2.Recently you have released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

If I have to give a short simple label to our sound I’ll call it experimental metal. We’ve got a lot of the tones and textures of doom metal, some of the songwriting sensibilities of post metal, and some of the riff-writing of death and thrash metal. We throw it all together and try to have it all make sense. It’s definitely an experiment!

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

Like a lot of doom-inspired metal bands a lot of our lyrics present aggressive or threatening images and moods like war and violence and destruction. But some of our songs are more idiosyncratic; “Volatile,” for example, is a very personal song. “Fuse” is a reflection on images of astronomical events. So you can see we range from broad, abstract conceptual lyrics to personal, contemplative themes.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Taken By The Sun'?

On a high, more profound level we like the name because it can be an image of decay or rebirth. It can be an image of decay, with the sun burning and destroying and pulling time away from us, and then of rebirth, with the sun’s movement representing time passing so that decay ends, the day starts again, and there is a chance for renewal. On a much simpler level, the name is a nod to TV documentaries about ancient aliens, which we love. The image is of people who have disappeared and are believed to have been abducted by aliens from the sky, or “taken by the sun.” It’s a fun name because it works in many ways.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

One of our very first shows was opening for one of Wino’s bands, Premonition 13. It was an honor to be on the same bill as Wino, who has done so much for doom and stoner metal. We’ve also opened for Cancer Bats, whom we really like. I would say our shows are a bit more aggressive and frenetic than our album might suggest. I know that some of us wish we could be in a grind band, ha! We’re not quite at that level of aggressiveness, but we try to make the live show raw and intense while still staying true to the album arrangements.

6.Do you have nay touring or show plans for the future?

We’re trying to organize shows around the central US states for the summer and we’ll branch out from there.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

We’d love the chance to be on a label someday; we haven’t been approached by anyone, nor have we really tried to market ourselves to a label. At this stage in our development there’s a lot we can accomplish using our own resources; we’re looking to grow a bit before we approach labels so we have can a strong proposition for anyone interested in us.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of post metal?

Positive. It’s been great to see that audience in general understand what we’re trying to do: take the sensibilities and experimental attitude of post metal and add some of the raw aggression of other  types of metal. Of course  not everyone likes every experiment that we tried with the album, but in most of the conversations we’ve had and most of the reviews we’ve read people get what we’re about and appreciate it.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We’ve talked about it and we’d like to be more deliberate about focusing on the more aggressive and intense side of our sound. There are a lot of post-metal bands that do slow, drawn-out, artful layering with tons of atmosphere and melody; where we have an edge is in taking that as a foundation but still hitting listeners hard with more of our death and thrash influences. Kris is a strong, violent singer; Justin’s drumming is thunderous, especially with Bill’s bass; Pat developed a guitar sound that really cuts through. We’ve got to use these elements with even more commitment on our next album and really flatten listeners while still providing intelligent, experimental elements in our sound.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Post-metal bands like Neurosis and Cult of Luna are big influences; Chicago bands like Pelican, Russian Circles, and Minsk (whom we should mention especially because Sanford Parker engineered the album) are important to our sound. We all love the classic thrash bands like Metallica and Megadeth. Lots of us are big Faith No More fans. Pat the other guitarist loves 90’s Florida death metal. Today we listen to lots of our peers in the Chicago metal scene; we dig the guys in The Atlas Moth and some unsigned bands around here that people should check out like Pale Horseman, Snow Burial, and Scientist (in which Justin and Pat also play).

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Kris our singer probably does the most interesting work outside of music: he restores vintage Cadillacs. Bill our bassist is a big sci-fi fan and has made his own high-end costumes and stuff like that. Aside from that now that I think about it most of our interests have something to do with music! Many of us play in other bands, Pat used to be an amplifier technician, Justin works at a music store, I build and modify guitars.

12.Before we wrap upthis interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks again for talking to us, and thanks in advance to anyone who checks out the album. It represents a lot of hard work so it’s something that we’re very proud is finally out there and getting to metal listeners around the world.

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