Q. and A. with "Ahimsa Sunrise"



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Ahimsa Sunrise is an over the top metal band from Dubois, PA. With an aggressive sound and all the attitude in the world, they look poised to make their mark on the metal scene. I had the great pleasure of speaking with them. As always, I wanted to get underneath the obvious and understand what makes them the musicians they are. Here is how it played out:

Q: So, for the readers who aren’t familiar with you, tell us about the band.

Brian: We’re a 4-piece screamo/metalcore band from PA. Our sound is diverse, while featuring brutality and atmosphere in a catchy sense. We take pride in our energetic, live shows. While achieving great experience and some success along the way, we’ve been a band for around 5 years now. Currently we’re unsigned, not managed, and definitely ready for that to change.

Q: Where are you guys from?

Jarrod: We’re from Dubois, PA. It’s a small town in western PA..

Q: I’m always fascinated by where band names come from and you certainly have a unique one. How did it originate?

Pat: Ahimsa means non-violence and Sunrise is a new beginning. So to me it means a non-violent beginning – a brand new day, or a clean slate for humanity.

Jarrod: We wanted something different that would stand out and grab peoples attention. Ahimsa means to do no harm. It originates from religions of ancient India. Ahimsa is against the hurting or killing of living beings, which is something we all agree on. As far as sunrise goes thats the beginning of everyday, so its sort of like a new beginning. Little did we know that people would have such a difficult time pronouncing it. I mean it’s really not that hard c’mon say it with me AH-HIM-SAH.

Q: If I had to compare you guys to one band I might say Sepultura (among my favorites). The diversity of vocals, the guitar solos and the driving bass and drums seem to be stock elements of your sound. Talk about your sound and influences, who you look up to, etc.

Brian: I can definitely see where you get that comparison from. From the surface we may not fit into a similar genre but when you dig deep down we both have a knack for combining many different elements of heavy and atmosphere, and just have a desire for creativity. Most of us listen to a ton of different styles and have countless influences. Some of our modern day influences that also kind of fit into what we’re doing include Underoath, Circa Survive, A Skylit Drive, The Devil Wears Prada, and Coheed and Cambria.

Seth: Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with effects and delay since we started. That’s what drove me to play guitar and I think that is the style I mostly bring to the band – the space and atmospheric feel.

Q: You guys have played a wide range of shows and festival atmospheres. What have been some of your favorites and what is your current touring schedule?

Pat: Taste of Chaos and Warped tour have been by far the most exciting and fun tours to be a part of. Right now we are writing a full length for a hopeful label release followed by touring.

Jarrod: My favorite would have to be Warped Tour. It’s a great environment and there’s such a wide variety of music. To be able to play the entire tour would be mind blowing. At the moment we recently recorded some new tracks, are writing more, and look to be touring soon.

Q: You have a lot of songs up on the website. Is there an album forthcoming?

Pat: Yes, we are writing a full length right now.

Brian: We recorded 5 new songs recently that have gotten considerable attention from managers and labels. 3 of them are on our Myspace page. Our goal is to pick up a quality manager and label that will allow us to record our other new songs so we can combine them into a full-length release. We’ve had a tragic summer, because of too many people close to us passing away, so some of our inspiration has been drawn from them and our experience.

For Seth:

Q: Your vocals range from high pitched melodies to growling screams (for example, “save it”). How did you develop your singing chops and how do you think it effects the group’s sound?

Seth: I’ve just slowly developed my sound. I never really sat down and said I want to sound like anyone. I just started singing and it definitely isn’t what I expected, personally, at first. Being told you sound like a girl singer wasn’t the intention I had when I began. haha I still think there isn’t a band our there that has this high pitch of vocals with such a brutal scream. As for the screams, that is just something I cannot explain. It comes from deep within and is something that is difficult to do. There are people that can scream, but then there are screamers that can scream. We are talking highs, mids, lows – all ranges. I think I can do a lot of different styles of screams and have a very broad range, which brings a difference.

For Pat

Q: (Unless I’m mistaken) I hear a lot of double kick drum beats in your playing. Is that a big part of what you’re trying to do and is that part of your own style or more suited to the band?

Pat: Yes it is a part of my style and I try to play what feels right for each song. In my opinion heavy music just wouldn’t be the same without a lot of double bass pedal. However, in a band that is also part space rock you have to back off at times.

Q: “Black sky rescue” features what I might describe as ‘smooth’ guitar solos. Is that Seth or Jarrod playing those?

Seth: We both do some of that in most songs but you might be referring to Jarrod in that one. We never really say who plays what with guitars since we both play many of the same roles. Both of us write heavy riffs, atmosphere leads, etc. Whatever we come up with we play, sometimes we even exchange riffs and make riffs for each other. Our main goal is what’s best for the band. We know we are far from being the greatest guitar players in the world, but we are creative and that is what makes us “Ahimsa Sunrise”

Q: What do you feel the role of the guitar solo plays in your music?

Jarrod: The guitar solo is an important part of music. I wouldn’t say it’s a giant part of our band, but when needed it can definitely complete a song. Many times I feel bands over do the solo and it becomes dull. Less is more, shredding in every song gets old. I think it makes a solo stand out that much more when you bust it out only occasionally.

Stepping back a bit to the more general:

Q: What do you see as a trend in music today you guys like? Something you don’t like?

Pat: I like how social tools like Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook are allowing our fans to interact with us on a daily basis and know what we are doing in our lives. I do not like the constant decline in physical album sales.

Brian: I completely agree with that. Another thing I don’t like is the popularity of generic music. Society has embraced bands like NIckelback – I mean, come on. Haha. And what happened to music television? Do they show anything on MTV other than reality shows nowadays?

Q: Top five favorite bands of all time? (as a group or individuals)

Seth: Coheed and Cambria, Glassjaw, A Skylit Drive, Underoath, and of course Circa Survive. Those are the bands I listen to most.

Brian: Tough question. I’d say Led Zeppelin and The Mars Volta for sure. If Circa Survive and Coheed & Cambria keep it up then they’ll be included. I’m one short… hmmm…?

Pat: Very tough…I can tell you the top five albums on my play list right now. In no order: Lamb of God – Sacrament, The Devil Wears Prada – With Roots Above and Branches Below, Circa survive – On Letting Go, A Skylit DriveAdelphia, and Marilyn Manson – The High End of Low.

Jarrod: Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Coheed and Cambria, Sublime, and the Deftones.

Q: Where do you see heavy music headed going into the end of the decade and beyond?

Seth: There are just things out there that keep surprising me. The sky is the limit.

Pat: Making a bigger push to the forefront of the music industry.

Brian: Maybe our style of heavy music, and the bands we’re like, will become an even bigger part of heavy music’s future?

Hear more from Ahimsa Sunrise at:

www.myspace.com/ahimsasunrise

I love their music and I love their attitudes. I’ll be rooting for them to get signed and expand. Ahimsa Sunrise represents another great group you can follow, here, in the Continuum.

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