Sunday 17 April 2016

Interview with SUNNATA

Polish Sludge/Doom/Stoners – Sunnata – released a superb debut album – Climbing The Colossus – which got them noticed within the Sludge/Stoner Metal world. It was a highly progressive album packed full of great riffs.

Since then Sunnata have been touring, honing their craft and have came back with their incredible new album – Zorya. Zorya is quite a different album to Climbing The Colossus and it's already winning rave reviews from Cvlt Nation, Terrorizer and ourselves of course amongst other cool publications.

It's been a while since I last spoken to Sunnata. I was given the change to catch up with Rob (Drummer) from Sunnata to see how the band started, what the new album means to them and other cool stuff that you can read below.

Hi Rob. Good catching up again Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Hey Steve! All’s good, actually even better than we ever expected. We have just released our new album “Zorya” and the feedback we’re getting from people brings huge smile to our faces.

Can you give a brief history of the band. How the band came together. And did you know each other before you formed the band or played in previous bands with each other.

It started in 2008, back in the days of Satellite Beaver, our previous, stoner rock band. We have all met because of this band, didn’t know each other before. Sunnata was born by the end of 2013, as a result of huge change of musical perspective that has grown inside our minds.

We are here to talk about your excellent new album Zorya. What can people expect from the album.

They should prepare themselves for walls of fuzz, delay and reverb confronting the monolith of absolute silence, haha! We like it slow, heavy, trance-inducing and extremely catchy. No comparisons needed, because everyone have their own, individual references. We call it “ritual heavy music”. 

Photo by ELI

How would you describe the album. As it has quite a different sound from your debut album.

It’s definitely more heavy, but on other hand - not that aggressive as our debut. “Zorya” is more complex, organic, has bigger flow and it’s not “straight-in-your-face” type of album. We wanted it to sound huge, with lot of space, so I highly recommend to close your eyes and let it take your for long journey.

Zorya has received some great reviews so far. Has that surprised you the response the album has received so far.

You never know what to expect. Our perception is limited and filtered through prism of individual experience, so we are very grateful to see that “Zorya” is gaining good exposure and reviews from journalists we care about, including You, Cvlt Nation crew or Terrorizer Mag, to name a few. We did our best and it seems it profits.

Did you do anything differently when recording this album compared to your debut album. If so, what things did you do differently.

Well, everything was different from top to bottom. Firstly, while “Climbing the Colossus” was more like transition between both bands, “Zorya” is written and arranged and with 100% focus on what we wanted to do.

Secondly, recording process - all the instruments were recorded live and we did that under two days. It gave more organic feeling and recreated that specific energy that is generated during our live performances.

Last, but not least, we had more time to think, talk and play over every detail, so we felt more confident and comfortable during the recording session.

What inspired you when you were writing and recording the album and what was the overall recording experience like for the album?

There’s no specific inspiration behind “Zorya”. You will find there whatever you’re looking for. Such freedom was also an important part of recording experience. We went where we wanted to, felt good with that and - thanks to Satanic Audio crew - had gotten a chance to express and produce album without compromises, sounding the way we imagined it to.

Looking back on your first album, Climbing The Colossus, is there anything you would change about that album. If so, what would you change.

We prefer to look forward than backwards, but if you really want to know, we would definitely change sound of that album. Unfortunately, mistakes we’ve made back then unallowed us to do so. Besides this, we like this material and play lot of it live.

Over the last couple of years you have toured over Europe. How was the fans reaction to your music when played live and will you be doing any more tours in the future.

Oh yes, we did some touring, not very excessively, but around 150+ shows. You can probably imagine, that our live shows are the reason why are we in all this mess.

Reaction was very enthusiastic, which is good, especially that we have shared stages not only with doom/stoner acts, but also grindcore bands like Antigama for example. I also remember Laura from Kylesa coming to us after the show we’ve played together, saying “I don’t know what it was, but I really liked it”. Neither do we, but we like it too.

We are doing some shows in Baltic countries, festivals in summertime and we are about to book long, European tour in fall. We need to tour, we want to tour, so we have to tour. 

We have to talk about the excellent album cover. Who designed the album cover. And how much input did you have into the final design of the album cover.

All hail Jeffrey Smith of Ascending Storm! Great artist, pro and passionate about his work, who led us through entire creative process towards final result, which blew our minds. The one who can turn “we would like some clouds and spacey, gloomy landscapes” into real piece of art.

What is the song writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to an individual or a group collective.

Song writing in our case is something unbelievably strange. Basically, process looks like: we share ideas, talk them over and then magic happens. This is how songs are made. Collective wizardry.

What is your equipment setup when playing live or recording in the studio. Do you have an advanced setup or a basic setup.

I play ukulele and marimba, Szymon beats the shit out of cowbell, Adrian and Michal rips the tambourine and shakers apart.

For studio purposes we are more into classic stuff like: Matamp GT, Sunn T, Sound City, Marshall VBA400, etc. Add oversized Ludwig drums and various pedals, including Russian Big Muff, Pharaoh Fuzz, Small Stone Phaser, TC Helicon vocal effects and many more and you’ll get the impression. Nothing really extraordinary, but carefully chosen. Sometimes Szymon has to play the show from backstage, cause his pedal-board can’t fit the stage, seriously.

Thanks for doing this interview Rob. All the best with the new album.

Thanks for support Steve. See you on the road.

Words by Steve Howe and Rob from Sunnata

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview and for Rob taking the time out to talking to me. Zorya is available to buy on CD/DD now.


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