“We don’t just want to be one of those bands that are just a phase or a trend.”
Riding high off the release of their first EP, As I Take A Breath…, Essex 4-piece Sun Arcana seem keen to continue to show the world just what they are made of. Acoustic Sessions is a delicate reimagining of a trio of tracks from the EP – Oxygen, Fracture and When I Turn Cold. Perhaps most significant is the fact that the guys decided to live track the record which gives the release a bare-bones feel – it’s an honest representation of the way the band performs. Of course, alongside this may come a certain sense of vulnerability, however, Sun Arcana are not ones to shy away from a challenge…
We were lucky enough to have a chat with drummer Ryan Daniels about Sun Arcana’s approach to writing, releasing and performing music as well as a bit of insight into what the future is shaping up to look like for the band:
Congratulations on the release of As I Take A Breath… we absolutely love it. How does it feel having your first ‘proper’ release garner such a positive response?
It feels amazing. We recorded those tracks back in May of last year, so it has definitely been a long time coming for us. We received such positive feedback from all of the single releases, which only made us more excited to release the full E.P. We all worked so hard to get those songs to where they are today so there is nothing more rewarding than to hear such positive feedback.
Thematically, what are the ideologies behind your craft – would you say that you have a story to tell?
We like to tell stories in our music that are loosely based on personal experiences. The amazing thing about music is the way it allows people to interpret the song in their own way to fit their own experiences – sometimes even without them knowing that they are doing so. We also like to experiment with writing from various points of view, sometimes even multiple points of view in one song – and these may even change from time to time, depending on the songs structure. And of course, whatever is going on in the world at that certain moment in time can also plays a part in how we approach the theme of a song.
What fuels, influences and inspires your creative process?
As we’ve said before, I think the great thing about this band is our diverse taste in music, and we really try to embrace that during the song writing process. I grew up on Pop-Punk, Harry is a massive Muse fan, Tom loves Kendrick Lamar, and Jules is really into Oasis. So that’s kind of a challenge in itself. We try to real all of those influences in to what we want Sun Arcana to be. Yes, we are a rock band, but we love to merge all of our influences into huge riffs and catchy choruses, and aren’t afraid to throw in some 808 hi-hats and Michael Jackson influenced guitar tones
Acoustic Sessions is a great complement to As I Take A Breath…. Was the decision to lay down alternative versions of the track one that was made early on, or was it something that you always had in mind throughout the process of producing the EP?
The idea behind the acoustic tracks came a little later on, around the time of our first few single releases. It was definitely a conscious effort to include a little bit of everything on this E.P, and we wanted to take that ethos even further with the, Acoustic Sessions. As soon as we started to jam out the songs with a more of stripped back instrumentation, we were blown away by how good they sounded. The songs took on a whole new theme whist still retaining their narrative identity. It was fascinating to see how these songs that we have had now for over a year, evoked emotions that we had never even considered before.
Naturally, live track recording brings about a whole new set of challenges that you may not have faced previously. What do you see the next challenge being in your careers?
Yes, definitely. Any musician knows that when you’re all tracking live in the same room, it adds a whole new level of pressure to your performance. As for what what’s next, we want to hit the road. We can’t wait to get out there a play as many shows as we can, not only to better ourselves as musicians, but to also spread the name of Sun Arcana and make our own mark on the live music scene.
Being able to replicate the quality from a studio recording whilst playing live is surely crucial for any successful band. How do you approach your live performances – is there any elements that you’re particularly proud of or, oppositely, do you recognise any areas that you are looking to improve?
I answered the last question before I knew what was coming up next. I swear. As for now, we approach the two fairly equally. Our writing process probably plays a massive part in this. We usually demo the ideas in Logic, and then we like the jam them in a rehearsal room, and this is usually the first time that we have all played the song from start to finish – as individuals, and as a band. From there, it is clear for us to see what is working and what isn’t. And furthermore, what needs to be added or re-worked. So, the foundation of our sound is always the four of us, and then from there we use a backing tracks live just to add some depth and/or any electronic elements (drum samples, sound effects, subs etc.)
In addition to supporting The Maine on the road in June, you guys have nailed down slots at The Great Escape, Download and 2000trees festival. Just how pivotal could this summer be for Sun Arcana?
This will almost definitely the most crucial time for the band. This is our chance to show the fans that we’re serious musicians who can not only write but can also play. And furthermore, these shows will allow us to play in front of audiences who may never have heard of us before. Which may sound daunting, but in actual fact, it is a great chance for us to put on a show and ultimately increase our fan base.
What would you determine to be the highlight of your careers so far?
It has to be the recording of our debut EP. It was the first time that any of us had lived and breathed music in the attempt to create a body of work, and we were definitely ready for the challenge. The demos were sounding great live as well as through our speakers, so we could not wait to get into the studio and record them with the amazing, Chris Coulter. I mean, even the raw audio was blowing us away. Hearing the songs slowly build form the ground up was definitely an experience that none of us will ever forget.
What would you say is the biggest struggle of your careers so far?
The biggest struggle for us so far would probably be growing up and seeing the people around us work jobs that bring in a steady income and overall stability to their future. But that’s the name if the game. It’s what we signed up for and this is what we’ve all wanted from a very young age. We’re not the first musicians to go through this and we’re definitely not going to be the last.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
I think like most bands we would want to look back on we would consider to be a successful career. We don’t just want to be one of those bands that are just a phase or a trend, or a band that just has that one hit, or sound. We want to move forward and constantly evolve, and the best musicians that we can possibly be. We want to look back and know that we made a positive impact on people’s lives and hopefully, leave behind a legacy that any decent band would be proud of.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! We’re looking forward to seeing you in action this summer – you’ve certainly earned your spot on our ‘must see’ list.
You can check out the band’s acoustic rendition of their track Oxygen here: