Cumbria’s best kept secret, and darlings of the tech community, The Sun Explodes have begun the finishing touches to a much-anticipated, as of yet unnamed new EP. With a lot’s of nice, pretty things on the horizon, I spoke with vocalist Dave Maclachlan and Guitarist Alex Adamson about said nice, pretty things. As well as YouTube sensations, Terry Wogan, and getting naked as a protest to the hardcore scene.
Hey guys. We interviewed you lot last June, how’s it been going since?
Dave: I’ll let you answer that one Alex, I talk too much. (laughs)
Alex: I dunno really, we did a tour with Press To Meco didn’t we? That was fun. We’ve also been recording the new EP, and that’s all done now. It’s in the process of being mixed, we don’t have a date yet, but we hope that with the PR campaign, you see it maybe around the summer time.
Dave: I reckon it’ll be about 3 or 4 months.
Alex: Yeah, about that time.
Dave: That makes me really sad as well, as I thought we’d have it out by February. But..
Alex: I cry every time! (laughs)
Dave: No, I actually did! I’m so fucking sick of this EP, I just want it out. (laughs)
Alex: We’ve heard these songs for maybe over a year, maybe more. I remember one of the songs that’s on there, we began writing in the summer of 2013 I think it was.
Dave: Is it the one with the really annoying fucking chorus?
Alex: Yeah that’s it. 18 fucking months, and we haven’t played it live yet! (laughs)
Have you played any of the new songs live yet?
Alex: We’ve played three of them, but not that one we’ve had for 18 fucking months. (laughs)
Dave: We played one of them in Basingstoke, we’ve never played it live before, but also, none of us really knew it. It’s funny, because other Alex (Harris, guitar) is really mental about everything being as perfect as it can be. He didn’t want to do it, but we bullied him into doing it anyway, and the five people that were there all knew we were shit, it was so bad. Jamie (Harris), our drummer just made it up towards the end and there was loads of shouting. It was just horrible. (laughs)
Alex: The set went really well, except for that. Press To Meco were trying to big us up “Yeah mate, that was sick yeah, sick” No, it wasn’t sick at all (laughs)
Dave: So that’s what we’ve been up to.
How was the rest of the Press To Meco tour?
Dave: You shouldn’t go on about other bands, when you’re going on about your band, but they’re very, very good. They write great songs and they have this formula down where they’ll appeal to everyone. But they’ll really appeal to all the tech heads who like all the gear and techniques. Their guitarist Luke can play stuff even really good guitarists can’t play ,but then can sing really complicated harmonies over the top. Live they’re really fun, really engaging, really likable.
They have this kind of Aliases thing, where we don’t know how Aliases function. You look at the Press To Meco lads and you imagine them all on a bouncy castle, and you think how the hell are you coming up with all this great stuff. But yeah, it was our privilege to tour with those guys, they were great.
Alex: They’re one of those bands where if they don’t make it, then there’s something definitely wrong with the music industry.
Dave: They’ve got a pop sensibility there, with pop choruses and pop hooks, but also really technical things that make you smile Like when they play something really complicated and hard, but they pull it off like it was nothing.
Alex: I was trying to niche them, and to me, it sounds like if you crossed Sikth with the Beach Boys. It’s absolutely insane.
Dave: Funny story actually, I’ll make it quick. When we played in Brighton, Luke plugged his amp in and it set on fire. Then the bass amp caught on fire, then the sound desk caught on fire. Like proper fire, not just smoking a bit.They had to use our gear for the rest of the night.
Alex: Big up to Kemper profile amps, they really performed that night.
Dave: Luke’s proper old school, he wants his valve head. He knows how to get his sound out of it.
Alex: His rig blew up, and other Alex patched his rig into the Kemper and with patch changes, was ready to play in under 15 minutes. It was ridiculous. Shout out to Kemper, you guys are amazing!
Dave: Yeah, give us free stuff.(laughs)
So since last year you guys have become somewhat of cult heroes among the Tech scene. Is this something you agree with?
Alex: I’ve noticed that Dave is everywhere.
Dave: I’m a proper attention seeking minge. I always have been, but in a really subversive sort of way. I think what me and Alex agree on, is that you get to meet lots of other bands you like, and other lads and lasses you like as well. I don’t think we’re cult at all though, it’s just me and Alex dicking around a lot. We are quite serious about it though, and we’ve always prided ourselves on being different.
Alex: We were talking a while ago, about whether there’s a band we all collectively like, and the closest we came was Queen. But Dave ruined it by saying he really doesn’t like Queen, so there’s no band that we all like. It brings new things to the table and we still manage to sound like a band after.
Dave: I think we probably strayed from the question there, but yeah, if you’re probably talking internet presence, then I guess that’s right.
On to your new EP, will it be different be to your last one ‘We Build Mountains’?
Dave: Well, yes and no. We made a decision that we want to go totally different this time around.It’s going to have key elements that are still there but meanwhile we’re using extended range guitars and stuff and not just be all 1-0, if that’s such a thing. (laughs).
But yeah, the one that’s coming out is saying goodbye to that era. Our first EP had massive sci-fi elements in it, because you used lots of vintage 80’s synths and stuff. Then on Mountains, we decided to ditch synths and electronics, and just go for sampled strings, and sampled choirs, it’s not synth per se but programmed similarly.
There’s a lot of that on the new EP, and there are lots of layers of vocals. Me, Alex and other Alex were in Alex’s room, just singing things 50 times.
Alex: There’s more pop vocal hooks. Which I think is really good.
Dave: I think we’re going to try and draw on that a bit more. But I think we’re going to strip some things back a little bit more, we’ve become a bit of a laptop nightmare live, so we want to put a lot more into this one. I mean one of the tracks has 99 channels of audio on it, which is like The Darkness when they track their guitars.
We’re going to be a bit more sensible on the next one though, but we thought that we’ve got these five songs on six strings, why not just get these out. It’ll be similar to the last one but it’s going to be bigger, and like Alex said, there’ll be more of a pop sensibility to it. There’s a lot more singles on there I think, we’re just trying to get some of the kids involved. Fuck that sounded creepy, didn’t it? (laughs)
Alex: The next single we’re releasing, I think, is the best single we’ve ever done. It’s got everything I love about the band. I think people will really warm to it actually.
Dave: Let’s hope so.
Alex: We’re all very happy with how it’s going and we can’t wait to put it out there and get some feedback.
Another cool thing to happen lately, was your announcement for Mammothfest!
Alex: Haha, yes we are! I get to see Psycroptic finally, I can’t fucking wait! All the bands playing there are a lot heavier than us, which is perfect, because I love my heavy music.
Dave: It’s interesting, because a lot of the time, most of the bands are heavier than us. Like back in the day, before you joined Alex, we used to play shows with brutal, crowd kill hardcore bands, and get all sorts of dodgy looks.I think that’s where a lot of my sexualisation of performances came from, it was defiant to that, a “fuck you to thinking you’re all macho,with your skinny jeans,over sized t-shirts and shit tattoos.” Don’t get me wrong, I like hardcore. I just don’t like what the scene has become over the past decade. Sorry, was making a point there.
Going back to playing a festival with lots of brutal bands, as opposed to brutal, yet technical and beautiful bands is going to be quite nostalgic, I quite like it.
That line up though,it’s pretty hench!
Dave: Feed The Rhino are there, and they’re probably one of my all time favourite bands, and Hang The Bastard. They probably have some of the best t-shirts of any band ever. All of their designs are amazing.
Alex: Heavy stoner riffs, with heavy black metal vocals, they’re so good, can’t wait.
Besides Mammothfest and the new EP, anything else planned for this year?
Dave: We’ve got stuff, but we’re not allowed to talk about it, are we?
Alex: Yeah, we can’t really give anything away. I can say there’ll be more festival dates though.
Nearly there. So are there any bands that you’ve played with,or even bands that you know of, that perhaps need more of a mention?
Dave: Arcane Roots. They’re one of my favourite bands of recent times. They’re the next Biffy really, they write huge songs, and they’ve got quite a buzz about them, but there doesn’t seem to be any overwhelming support for them. Press To Meco are amazing, Shields are also great.
Alex: I thought you would have said Polymath.
Dave: Oh yeah, Polymath are so niche I think they teeter on the edge of technical, but it’s all feel. I was blown away when we played with them. I bought their t-shirt after they sound checked, they’re that good!.
Alex: I’d like to mention my brothers band, Hellion Rising.
Dave: Shout out to little Matt.
Alex: I’ve watched that band develop from the ground up, and they work so hard. My brother lives 60 miles away and drives back and forward numerous times a week. They’ve played a stupid amount of gigs in horrible places, but their work ethic makes them deserve a lot more credit.
Dave: Synaptik are great, they’re like technical thrash. Great lads.
Alex: Valis Ablaze as well.
Dave: I love Valis Ablaze. When I grow up I want to be just like Adam, although I’ve got a metre of hair to grow. (laughs). Our boys in Orion, of course, their singer Phil is so talented, like he’s fantastic, we love them. We should probably shout out some local bands really.
Alex: State Control.
Dave: State Control are old school punk, they’re quite political, quite angry, put on a great show.
Alex: Colt 45 as well:
Dave: Yeah, they’re really flying the flag for up here, aren’t they?
Alex: They’re playing at the end of January in Carlisle, I’m really looking forward to seeing them really. Over and Out were really nice lads, they played with us at the Funeral For A Friend show.
Oh yeah, you played with them. How was that?
Alex: Oh yeah! We did, didn’t we? (laughs)
Dave: Well, it was really good, but I don’t really know any Funeral For A Friend songs. I didn’t grow up with it, so I didn’t have this overwhelming of ‘OH MY GOD,IT’S FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND!!’, I was like ‘Hi’, like the twat that I am. (laughs).
Did you grow up on Funeral For A Friend, Alex?
Alex: I was aware of them, and I had listened to the them. But they were seen as one of those emo bands and at the time I was like ‘I’m a butch metalhead, and I only listen to Slayer and Metallica, and I only drink beer and shit’.
Dave: While they were blowing up, I was still too busy trying to be Jeff Buckley live.
Alex: I was too busy trying to be Zakk Wylde
Dave: It was amazing though, and we’re really thankful for the opportunity for playing.
Alex: They’re really nice lads as well.
Dave: Yeah, they were fantastic and put on a really good show. We played that show at this venue called The Brickyard, it’s such a great venue here in Carlisle.The guys there have nurtured us since we were young, they’ve guided us to how to become a band, what your etiquette should be, how you play live, this, that and the other. We did a co-headline thing with a band from up here called the Falling Red, and the venue put on this light show for us, and went the extra mile.
Sometimes it’s tough to play there, if you’re not local, or don’t have a huge draw. But you know, it’s a small venue, in a small town, but it’s a great venue, and if anyone has the opportunity to play there, I say go for it.
Final question. If you could punch anyone square in the face, who would it be, and why?
Dave: I’ll let you go first, seeing as you’re all angry and that.
Alex: There’s a guy that me and my brother both hate, and that’s Terry Wogan.
Dave: But why?
Alex: Man, the voice annoys the shit out of me, plus I find him quite pompous. Not keen on Terry Wogan.
Dave: So not the obvious, like Nigel Farage, or the Fox News team then?
Alex: No, still Wogan. man.
Dave: So who do I want to punch in the face repeatedly, until they’re dead? I don’t know, I quite like everybody. Plus I don’t think I’d win in a fight against anyone anyway. (laughs)
Alex: Ah wait. What’s that stupid page that everyone shares on Facebook? Lebanon Radio or something?
Radio One Lebanon I believe..
Alex: Yeah, that’s the one. Whoever runs that page, I’m gonna punch you square in the fucking face. (laughs)
Dave: I know who I want to punch in the face.
Dave: Tyler Oakley, because he’s a fucking penis.
Who’s Tyler Oakley?
Dave: Right. You know how celebrities come from YouTube? Well you’re not a celebrity, you just have a camera, and it annoys the shit out of me. Tyler Oakley makes out like he’s some guru, and just walks around the mall with his mates, thinking he represents us gays. I should represent us, I’m more in touch with the gays than he is. (laughs)
Alex: Justin Bieber too man, that kid has some serious issues.
Dave: But wouldn’t you if you were thrust in the limelight at a seriously young age? Of course it will mess him up.
Alex: I don’t care, he needs to be brought down a level or two. There’s a thing called human decency, and he doesn’t seem to care.
Dave: But look how fucked up Michael Jackson got when he was the same age, he was fucked up by fame. River Phoenix too man, too much, too young.
Alex: I’d still hit Justin Bieber though.
Dave: There’s no denying that, I would too. I’d be like ‘Justin,this is for your own good’, then I’d stick my hand up his ass, and wear him like a puppet. Yeah, then I’d make him bite the curb. Fucking little bastard! (laughs)
Well that escalated quickly! Find out more about The Sun Explodes via their Facebook.
Photo by Dave Stanton