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Who thought that rock bands like Aerosmith or AC/DC don´t have anybody to follow their footsteps any more, should lend an ear to that band, and also keep an eye on them. Sunset Riot from Sydney is a new hope for the scene, not only rocking their home country Australia but also on the way to their first US tour. This very charismatic act will surely get more attention in the future. STALKER talked with singer Del Rio.
Hi guys, you just have been on tour in your home country how was it?
We always love playing shows, but this tour was especially awesome, because it just kept getting bigger the longer it went.
Could you please introduce your band to those who t don’t know you yet.
We´re a five piece rock n roll band from Sydney, Australia. What do we sound like? Well, we´ll leave that up to you, but we like to think of ourselves as rock´n roll bandits who bring the energy, fun, sweat and party back to rock´n roll. Our live show is pretty full on and we don´t hold back.
Where did you meet each other and how did it all began with Sunset Riot?
It all began with our lead guitarist JP. He had the vision for the band and the rest of us joined thru mutual friends and advertisements placed in local newspapers.
Why did you choose the name Sunset Riot?
The name "Sunset Riot" has a spiritual connotation. We all have different takes on the specific meaning of the name, but it is a reference to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ where the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom, dead people woke up and started walking around and there was an eclipse. Pretty crazy stuff! We all love to have a good time and we love rock´n roll but also believe in God, so I guess for me "Sunset Riot" is where the two meet. A passion for music and moving people beyond their own boundaries in all aspects of their life.
Who writes the music /lyrics, or are all in the band responsible?
We are completely collaborative when it comes to writing credits; we credit every member as an equal, because we believe that despite who brings in lyrics or music, the feel of the song would be different depending on who plays it.
You were founded in 2009, so you are a quite “new” band, are there some goals you’ve already reached in these two years together that you are very proud of?
We have been incredibly blessed in our short time on the ´scene´ to be able to do quite alot actually. By the time we turn 2 we will have played over 110 shows, which is more than a lot of bands amass in 4 years and we´ve already worked with a couple of Australia´s finest producers (Steve James and Mark Opitz) and one of the premier photographers (Tony Mott). Playing in front of 3,000 people on a floating stage in Darling Harbour was a career highlight as was sharing the stage with LA Guns and the Trews and playing at the same festival as Emery and Switchfoot. I must admit, still being around after 2 years is a major accomplishment in of itself. At the end of the day we just want to play and if we can look out into the audience and see people singing along and/or smiling, as cheesy as it sounds, we get excited!
What is your dream, what do you want to achieve with your music?
Quite frankly we want to be the biggest band in the world. I know it sounds like a lofty goal, but we want to be playing as much as humanly possible. We want to see people singing our songs and we want to know that people are entertained and moved by what we do. We do what we do, because we love it passionately. and anything you are passionate about must be perfected. We´re in the business of trying to move and entertain an entire planet...until then we´ll keep tweaking and working as hard as we can to perfect what we do.
Where do you see Sunset Riot in 5 years?
Touring full time with a couple of albums under our belt. We want to be on the road full time as soon as we can, definately within 5 years.
What do you think are the biggest differences between the Rock-scene in Australia and Europe ?
I have only briefly experienced the rock scene in Europe (during my week long stay in Finland for Trash Fest IV) but I would say that in my experience rock is much more widely accepted in Europe than in Australia. Europeans seem to be much more open to new music than Australians, although the scene here is growing. A landmass size and population difference also contributes alot. We have far less people here spread out over a much broader area, which makes it hard to tour.
Why should people listen to Sunset Riot, what do you have what other bands don´t have?
I think we have a lot of the good things everyone loves about old school rock´n roll with a new twist. We draw from a wide variety of influences including glam and grunge which were polar opposites to one another. More than anything though I believe we have honesty and raw energy to offer. A lot of bands today play the right notes, but are either playing someone else´s song or they don´t believe in what they are playing. We don´t have either of these problems. because we write our music and we play from a deep desire.
What do you think is cool/totally sucks about being a musician?
What´s totally cool about being a musician is being able to stand on stage in front of people you´ve never met before and take them on a journey. regardless of who they are or what their social status is that´s your job, to take them somewhere else. That´s really cool if you can do that. Having no money and being constantly broke is the hard part. Not having enough time to spend with friends and family is also another industry hazard.
What was the most absurd thing that happened to you guys concerning Sunset Riot?
Probably playing with L.A. Guns in Melbourne. We didn´t land the support slot, but were originally supposed to be playing the after party. The day before the gig we were told that the after party moved, so we would still play but it wasn´t the after party. Then about 7 hours before the gig the L.A. Guns show got cancelled, so in a weird twist of events they ended up with us, playing before we went on stage at our show!
Del you kind of remind me of the young Steven Tyler when it comes to vpice and and stage-acting, so is that your big influence? What kind of Idols do you guys have?
Yes, I do take alot of inspiration from Steven Tyler. He is constantly improving and, to me, he is one of the best frontmen in the business. He´s got the attitude, the stage presence and the voice. I also take alot from Chris Cornell, who has a raw sense of power about him. JP (lead guitar) is a massive fan of Slash and Jimmy Page, which shows alot in his playing style as well as his dedication to his guitar I think. Jazz (bass) takes alot of inspiration from the Edge (U2) and Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) while Ziggy Scott (rhythm guitar) cites Joe Satriani as a major influence . Resh (drums) is a big fan of Sugarfoot (ex Michael Jackson drummer), Mike Johnston, Eric Moore and Benny Greb.
I just saw your first official Video to “Rattlesnake” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMQGRhrA9W8) It turned out really cool. I was positively surprised that there are no girls in the video, and for once it is just focused on the band. So what do you think, does Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll really belong together, or is there also another way to enjoy Rock Music?
I think the heart of rock´n roll is actually freedom and rebellion, expression of self, not "Sex and drugs etc". Rock´n roll from the day it started has been about expressing yourself freely. Elvis Presley played Gospel music but he danced, which was unheard of in his day, but that was how he freely expressed the music that he felt. I think that as rock´n roll progressed it became associated with sex, drugs etc, because socially speaking that kind of a lifestyle wasn´t accepted, so it became a medium for people to rebel. These days it´s expected that the lifestyle of excess will go with the music, but doing what´s ´expected´ goes against the entire ethos of rock´n roll, which is freedom and rebellion. I fully believe that you can play the music that we do without having the lifestyle of ´sex, drugs n rock n roll´. I´ve always been drawn to the idea of being completely free, which is why we play the music that we do.
What are the plans for the near future? And especially, any chance that we see you soon in Europe?
We are heading to the USA for our first overseas tour in June/July/August then we´ll back to Australia for some more touring before we head back into the studio for some recording. We actually just had a ´goals´ meeting as a band and Europe is somewhere we definately want to play within a years time.
So if our readers are now interested in your band, where can they get more information?
Our facebook page is probably the most up to date all the time, www.facebook.com/sunsetriot. We also have a website, www.sunsetriot.com, a youtube channel, www.youtube.com/sunsetriot and you can search for us on twitter, tumblr, reverbnation and myspace. Our music is available on iTunes also. We´re always keen to hear from our fans especially ones who haven´t seen us yet but want to. It helps us to plan for where we should tour.
Thanks a lot for your time. I wish you guys all the best and keep rocking!
Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Tony Mott Date: 2011-06-01