The SunPilots have been hitting stages all across Europe and Australia for some time now as they treat their fans to some fine and refreshing independent rock. The band has already toured the UK, as well as many regions of Europe and Australia. “On average, we do around 4 to 5 shows and 2000 to 3000 kms of driving a week,” says front-man Raj Siva-Rajah.
Now, The SunPilots have their sights set on touring the United States in 2014. Currently, the band is on a short break but will soon be reuniting in Berlin to begin work on the follow-up album to their epic last release, “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues.” Recently, I sat down with the band’s lead singer, Raj, and here is what he had to say.
KELZ: Tell the readers who The SunPilots are? Where are you from?
THE SUNPILOTS: We are an Australian band made up of myself (Raj), Bob Spencer (guitarist), Adil (bass player), and Tom (drummer). We have always been independent. In 2010, we left Australia and began what we call the Gypsy tour, which pretty much translated to living on the road full-time. Most nights, we couch surf with fans. It has been intense, but we have seen a lot of the world and met a lot of awesome people.
KELZ: Who are some of your musical inspirations?
THE SUNPILOTS: It is different for all of us. Personally, some of the bands I love include Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age, The Who, Incubus, and Radiohead. I also grew up on grunge, so Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Nirvana are some other favorites.”
KELZ: Inspiration behind your latest album, “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues?” Favorite tracks?
THE SUNPILOTS: It is about humanity’s need for security, and the freedoms we are willing to trade in return. My favorite tracks at the moment are “The Piper’s Mirror” or “Sex & TV.” However, “Exodus” is the most fun to play live since it is what we normally finish our set with.
KELZ: How did the idea come about to use animation for your videos?
THE SUNPILOTS: The album is a story in 8 parts. The great thing with animation is there are no restrictions- you can create a world as big as your imagination. We would have loved to do animated vids for the whole record if we could have afforded it.
KELZ: What is your creative process when it comes to creating new music?
THE SUNPILOTS: It is different every time, but usual Bob and I bounce ideas back and fourth until we have a basic demo. Then, we jam them with rest of band and it develops into a song.
KELZ: Favorite city to have toured so far?
THE SUNPILOTS: Every place we’ve been so far has a different appeal. But Berlin (Germany), Marseille (France), and Rome (Italy) are in my top 10.
KELZ: How do you feel about touring the United States next year? Where do you want to travel to most here in the United States?
THE SUNPILOTS: We are really excited. It will be a 3 month, coast to coast tour in Fall 2014–60 to 70 shows in total. The thing we are looking forward to the most is seeing the entire country. Not sure if we will make it to all 50 states, but we will get pretty close!
KELZ: What made you release your album, “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues,” for free?
THE SUNPILOTS: We wanted to get our music out. There is no point in creating something if noone hears it. Also, as an independent band, we do not have the cash for radio promoters or whatever. We just tour a lot and rely on our fans to spread the word. We decided to give “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues” away for free and ask people to share it on Facebook or Twitter in return. If they can afford it, they could also donate something or buy a signed CD. Our fans have been great–it has been downloaded a few thousand times already. It will be officially released on iTunes etc. in January 2015.
KELZ: What about the new album?
THE SUNPILOTS: We have been touring for so long that it is hard to find time to write. The break has been great–there are lots of new ideas brewing and we are heading into the studio in Berlin (Germany) in January. If all goes well, the new record will be out around September 2014. I am pretty sure it will be another concept album. Just because we really love telling stories through our music.
KELZ: Dream collaboration or artist you would love to tour with?
THE SUN PILOTS: That is a pretty long list. We’d love to tour with Radiohead, Tool, Coheed and Cambria, Incubus, and Pearl Jam.
KELZ: What is playing on your iPod right now?
THE SUNPILOTS: “10,000 days” by Tool, Florence and The Machine, Delerium, Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, some classical music, and Tori Amos.
KELZ: During downtime, what do you like to do?
THE SUNPILOTS: I love politics, gaming, paintball, hiking, photography, and writing. However, the great thing about loving what you do is that your day job is fun, too.
KELZ: Where can fans keep up with the band and download “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues?”
THE SUNPILOTS: You can download the album from www.thesunpilots.com/sugarcoated, and keep in touch with us on www.twitter.com/thesunpilots, as well as www.facebook.com/thesunpilots. We are on there talking to fans pretty much every day. Of course, you can also come and check out a show when we hit the States!
Interview By Kelly Newsome (Kelz)
The SunPilots Official Website–Free Album Download
Image Courtesy of Jason Briggs (label manager at Honeytrap Records) – Used With Permission