Tuesday 19 May 2015

Interview with SONS OF HUNS

Sons of Huns first blasted their way into the Stoner Rock World in 2013 when they released their excellent debut album – Banishment Ritual – with it's heavy style of Psychedelic Stoner/Garage Rock vibes and Sci-fi Movie references. I loved the hell out of it when it came out and I still listen to it to this very day.

Well Sons Of Huns are back with their even better 2nd album – While Sleeping Stay Awake – which sees the band leave their Sci-fi influences behind and focus more on the darker side of Psych Rock/Stoner Rock. As guitarist Pete Hughes – uses some of his painful personal experiences to write an album that no doubt will have you rocking from beginning to end but also asks questions about Faith, Life, Humanity and everything in between.

Sons Of Huns have managed to persuade two Stoner/Sludge Metal Icons to appear on the album. WINO appears on the blistering – An Evil Unseen whilst Dale Crover of The Melvins provides drums on Philosopher's Stone.

Sons Of Huns are here to impress you with their mammoth riffs. Before then I've been given the chance to do this interview with the guys.

1 – Hi guys. How's it going. Thanks for doing this interview. Much appreciated as we're huge fans of you guys.

Thank you very much. We're fans of your blog as well.

2 – Can you tell our readers of how the band came about and where it is today.

Peter and Shoki (our previous bassist) met in college and started a band that played around Portland a bit. Shoki was also in another band with Ryan and both projects kind of fizzled out, we all decided to jam and wrote songs at an incredible rate. Wrote an EP, 7" and an album before Shoki high-tailed it off to Japan to teach English. Aaron (current bassist) was in a band that Ryan had toured with from time to time and Aaron offered to play bass for us and pretty much saved our asses. After touring North America on Banishment Ritual and writing new songs with a new member, here we are today with a new release about to drop July 21st on Riding Easy.

Banishment Ritual cover art

3 – Before we start talking about your new album. We have to talk about your debut album – Banishment Ritual – as it's a fave of mine. Did the response to that album surprise you in anyway as it won a ton of great reviews.

We're very grateful for the acclaim that album received. We felt like there's a lot of strong songs that are fun on that album so we were happy that folks dug it so much.

4 – Would you change anything about it. Or are you happy with the way it is.

Pretty happy about how it ended up. You always are your worst critic as a member of a band, so we nit pick certain things but for how long we had in the studio and the overall cost, we're pretty satisfied.

5 – What I loved about it was the numerous Sci-Fi references you included. Including the awesome Star-Wars inspired album cover. Was it hard album to write and record for whilst adding different parts of Sci-fi culture into the mix for people to spot?

No, we had the concept out from the get go, and not all the songs on the album tie in with the Sci-Fi theme, but we managed to pull it off nonetheless.

6 – OK time to talk about your new album – While Sleeping Stay Awake. WOW. What an album to release as your 2nd album. It's a very dark album compared to your first. Was that your intention to make something darker and more personal for your second album.

We wanted to make a heavier, shorter album than what Banishment was. The concept is more broad as well: death. This album's energy is way different as well. More bombastic riffs and whatnot. I guess the darkness of the album just came out with the aggression we put into it.

7 – Pete – You've used a lengthy painful time in your life mainly the 16 years you received Lyme Disease and the amount of pain and illness you've gone through since then to help you write the album. Was that a hard decision to go through. Did recording this album provide a sense of healing or closure to the painful times you've gone through.

My life has increasingly become consumed by pain, isolation, and doubt. There was no 'hard decision' to make, it's just the card I was dealt. I'm trying to use it as a means to self-discovery. That's been my experience so it's all I know to write about. No physical healing, since I'm still sick as hell, but closure in a sense as a few of the songs were haunting me so it's a relief to get em out!

8 – From listening to the album I can see why you called the album – While Sleeping Stay Awake. But for people who haven't listened to the album. Can you tell our readers what to expect from the album and why you decided on that title.

'Dormiens Vigila' is an alchemical phrase that reminds us to be ever vigilant, to pierce through the oblivion and let nothing escape us. Our concentration single-pointed, allowing nothing to deter us from our resolution. They should seek to reveal the true cause of their suffering. They should also expect to bang their heads!

9 – You have two Sludge/Stoner Metal icons appearing on the album. WINO and Dale Crover. How did you manage to convince those guys to appear on the album. What was it like working with those guys and did they provide any helpful hints or advice to you guys.

We knew Wino from being direct support for Saint Vitus on the North American leg of their 35th anniversary tour. Wino would tell us he'd love to do a song on our next album, and when we found out we were recording in LA, where he lives, it just worked out. He came in a killed the song we wrote for him. We're like old friends that don't skip a beat, even though we don't see each other often. He knew Toshi from the Shrinebuilder album so we all had a good time in the studio.

As for Dale, Toshi pretty much offered his services and thought it'd be a good idea (which it was) to feature him on a song. We tracked everything in the Melvin's rehearsal space, which also doubles as Toshi's studio so it wasn't a stretch for Dale. We're so grateful to have such awesome musicians want to be a part of this album.

10 – You worked with Toshi Kasai on the album. How was working with Toshi on this album and what did be bring to the Sons Of Huns sound.

All you have to do is look at Toshi's body of work, and you know you're in good hands as a heavy band. Working with Toshi was a dream. He's very creative, knows the thought process of a song and suggested a lot of great ideas during our time with him in the studio. He just knows what crushes and how to bring out the best in everyone. We love that guy so much.

While Sleeping Stay Awake cover art

11 – I love the album cover. Can you tell me who designed the cover and did you have much input into the overall design of the cover. And what does it mean to you as a band.

The album art is by Shi Yin, an artist living in Japan. We feel it fits with the centralized theme: death.

12 – We have to talk about your home town – Portland, Oregon. Which is fast becoming one of the best cities in providing us with killer Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal bands. I'm a huge fan of the Portland scene. What's the vibe currently like in Portland. And can you tell us any other great bands to check out from there.

Portland is a great place to live and be from, but unfortunately it's losing it's charm. Venues we used to love to play are now being destroyed for condos and other junk. Guess this is how it goes. The musical community is excellent and supportive. There's a 1000 shows a night and that's great because it fosters a good work ethic for bands to get better, build their fan bases and eventually bring what's great about this place to different parts of the country/world. All the bands we like and recommend are already pretty well established and acknowledged by your readership.

13 – Do you guys still play gigs in Portland or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We still play a steady amount of gigs here. I am sure it's high time we get out on the road again!

14 – Your new album is being released by RidingEasy Records once again. Was it an easy decision to stay with Daniel at RidingEasy. Did you have any other offers from different labels.

We signed a contract soon after Banishment was released and we started touring to support it. It's been nice to work with a single person at the label. He's always been very energetic about our releases so it was an easy decision to work with him. We've been on the radar with other labels, but it's been nice to get the attention we've had from Daniel and RidingEasy.

15 – Are there plans for you to tour overseas in the near future or so. Or is still to early to do at this point in your career.

We'd like to get overseas soon, especially Europe. There's always offers, just nothing that's come to fruition so perhaps we'll get over there after this release.

16 – Well guys thanks for doing this interview. Before we go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thanks for the questions, Steve! Thanks to all our fans for their support and we can't wait to shred in their midst again soon!

All the best with your new album as it's a fantastic record. Thanks. Steve.

Wait until your hear While Sleeping Stay Awake as it's a brilliant Stoner Rock album with a powerful message attached. Sons Of Huns have delivered something special here. You can find out when the album is released on July 21st 2015 through RidingEasy Records.

Thanks to Sons Of Huns for doing this interview and to Dave at US/THEM PR Group for arranging this interview.

Words by Steve Howe and Sons of Huns

For More Information