INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Despite having formed a decade ago, at high school, Staffordshire collective This Sun No More are only now in the process of putting together their debut album.
The band’s journey over the last ten years has, at times, been difficult, with numerous line-up changes, but now, the outfit are at their most settled, having established themselves on the local music scene with an atmospheric brand of post-metal.
Prior to their recent set at Chords Against Cancer in Uttoxeter, I spoke to the band’s vocalist/guitarist, Pete Hill, and drummer, Andy Wheeler, about the release, due out early next year, and some of the experiences that they have had since 2008.
How did the band form initially?
PETE HILL (vocals/guitar): Well, it started with me jamming with a drummer I know, and he kind of wanted to just do Iron Maiden and AC/DC covers, so we were just jamming, and one of our guitarists now, he started off playing bass, during one of our practice sessions, picked up someone’s guitar, started playing this nice atmospheric post-metally thing, and from that point, we decided to work on something like that instead, and that’s pretty much how it started.
How did the name This Sun No More come about?
PETE: I don’t know.
ANDY WHEELER (drums): I think it was always Joe’s plan, he’s our lead guitarist and main songwriter, to do a concept album based on ‘Dante’s Inferno’.
PETE: To be honest, I’ve never really grasped how Joe came up with the name.
ANDY: It’s something different, and all of the good band names were already taken.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
PETE: So generally, it starts with Joe writing a few riffs, stringing them together, and then he’ll bring them to the rest of us.
We all have an idea of how it’s going to go, we’ll say, “We’ll do a few bars of this, a few bars of that“, and then we will, we have three guitarists and a synth player, all start writing little bits to add to all that, and then make a few changes once we all start jamming it together.
ANDY: We just kind of go with the flow.
What inspires the band lyrically?
PETE: At the moment, we’ve nearly finished doing our first album, and that will be a concept album dealing with ‘Dante’s Inferno’ and the nine circles of Hell, so that’s what we’re doing at the moment, but we also take inspiration from all sorts of things.
ANDY: Stuff to do with what the circles are all about.
PETE: Yeah, and there’s quite a bit of Star Wars in there! (laughs) Also, I’ve taken some lines from ‘Moby Dick’.
ANDY: Basically, we write about the cultures that we’re interested in.
Last year, you brought out an EP, entitled ‘The Black Thread’. How was the recording process for that?
PETE: It was really good. We practice at a place in Stone called Tower Studios, and recently, the guys who run it installed a recording studio.
The recording process itself ran smoothly, we felt, as we’ve been practicing there for years, and we know the owners.
ANDY: Anthony Weaver, who mixed the EP, helped us out a bit to make sure it was the strongest it could possibly be, and yeah, it was a fun process putting it all together.
PETE: It was nice to have some input from somebody from outside the band, and Anthony is very musically intelligent, so it made for a smooth process.
And how was the reaction to the EP when it came out?
PETE: Generally positive. I think we got a couple of decent reviews online, but unfortunately, it didn’t go very far, because shortly after we had finished recording it, at the time, we had a female vocalist called Charlotte, so we had recorded the EP with her, but she left the band shortly afterwards, so we decided to rework a lot of the songs, and to make the vocals less clean and more shouty overall.
ANDY: We also incorporated more synths into the sound, which sort of filled in the gap left by removing Charlotte’s vocals, but ‘The Black Thread’ doesn’t really represent who we are as a band anymore.
PETE: Yeah, we’ve still got a few songs like on the EP on the album, but now, we’re focused on pushing the album forward when that comes out.
When do you think you’ll have the album out by?
ANDY: Early next year. We’ve still got two songs to record in the studio.
PETE: And sort out the extra bits.
How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?
PETE: Oh yeah, it’s great. We’ve been going for about ten years now.
ANDY: In that time, we’ve had members coming in and out, me included. In the past, I’ve been the synth player, then I left, then re-joined as a drummer, the bassist now used to be the drummer.
PETE: We’ve had all sorts of weird line-up changes, but we’ve been constantly gigging throughout, and that’s really our bread and butter.
Like I say, we’re only just getting around to finishing our first album, so we’ve put a lot of time in gigging.
ANDY: The initial sort of group that started the band have all been friends since high school, pretty much, so gigging together, we’ve all always been on the same page, really. We’ve always had that some connection, so it’s been good.
PETE: That’s what you do it for, the love of the game! (laughs)
And finally, album aside, what has the band got planned for the near future?
PETE: So, after the album comes out, we would like to do a full UK tour, just go up and down the country, playing at venues in major cities and further afield, and then look towards writing more music for our next album, just keep the momentum going.
ANDY: We’re not sure if we would do another concept album.
PETE: We’ll see how we feel when it comes to writing some new material, so yeah, the plan for next year is to basically get the album out, push that as far as we can, and see if we can get onto festival bills and the main gig circuit.
THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM THIS SUN NO MORE WILL BE RELEASED EARLY IN 2019.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: