Places Around the Sun kindly asked us to share one of their videos recently, so we thought we’d push out luck and ask for an interview as well…
Hi there! We all live in Lisbon, Portugal although we came from different parts of the country, me (Antonio, lead singer) and Ricardo (our drummer) are from Madeira Island, Alex (our bass player) is from Torres Vedras and João (our guitar Player) is from Lisbon.
How did you meet?
I met Alex during college, we were in the same class in film school. I knew he played bass and we were already friends so when it came time to get a band together he was the first person I thought of! João was in the same band as Alex at the time, although I didn’t know him that much, I liked a lot of the stuff he was writing for their other band so when we got to know each other and played together it just clicked!
Me and Ricardo go way back, from when we were playing with our own bands in the Metal scene in Madeira Island but we never actually played together until he joined Places Around The Sun which is crazy to think that all those years with our bands sharing the stage and we never jammed! I’m glad we play together now!
How long have you been playing as a band?
It all started in 2013, but we only played our first show ever in 2014, so we’ve been a band for about 7 years, although we only really started taking it seriously since 2017!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
I always wish we had a cool story of how we got our name, but the truth is that we had to change our band name not only because we wanted to but also a company here in Portugal threatened to sue us because our name was too similar to theirs. So we made a list of names that sounded cool and the name “Places Around The Sun” just sounded so cool to us! And it is a name that has earned it’s meaning in all of us since then.
What are your influences?
Our influences vary a lot! But the one that is the most present is Queens Of The Stone Age.
We love a lot of different music, we listen to King Gizzard and The Lizzard Wizzard, Tool, Them Crooked Vultures, among a lot of other artists! Even some pop references, like Billie Eilish and Rosalia, anything that sounds inspiring to us gives us that drive to make more music.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
That question is very hard to answer since we’re too close to our music and sometimes it’s hard to distance ourselves enough to tell without bias what makes us unique. But I can tell you what we love, we love fuzzy dirty tones, groovy riffs and sometimes those heavy stoner riffs that just make you feel the most badass person ever! And we do love vocals! Almost every song we have specially on this new album is filled we vocals, back vocals are our treasure!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Not that it is a conscious decision, but all of our songs talk about personal things. Feelings stuck within us, existential questions everything in that realm and I make sure to give my own personal experience with some kind of positive turn out when I write about something looking back, because I know a lot of the things I go through, a lot of people go through them as well since we all are in the same, everyone in their own way but still. At the end of the day I use it as an outlet and to have something that gives me perspective and if it relates to anyone in any way shape or form that’s a big win for me. Some of the stuff we talk about is unanswered, we do leave a lot of questions in some of the songs. I like it that way not only because that’s the best way to spark something in anyone but also there are a lot of things you don’t understand and probably never will, and that is fine! So knowing someone else maybe has the same questions as you do it can give you a sense of relief of “thank god I’m not alone on this” and it makes it just a little bit easier to go on with your life.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
How many shows I do not know really, we’ve never really counted them, but we’ve played our fair share of live shows!
We like to mess around with the structure of some of our songs live, we extent some parts we even play them completely different from what’s on the recording. Anything we feel is fun for us to play and for the audience to dance to.
For example we have a song called “Shots On The House” which is usually our closer in a show and on the outro of the song we always have fun with it and the tempo of the song so we can leave everyone with a big and loud goodbye.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
I don’t think we have any really wild stories but we do have some funny ones.
Once in one of our shows we were going up the stairs to the stage and I tripped so hard that the sole of my shoes ripped off. I tried to play it cool but after the first song they were just getting in the way so much that I explained what happened to the audience and encouraged by the people I just took them off and played barefoot for the rest of the show, it was actually freeing!
Also about 4 years ago we were getting a little bit sick of playing of our first album and it was a really dark time for us, we weren’t writing new stuff and rehearsals were just boring in general and it did get to the best of us and we were just waiting to explode against each other. We had a gig booked later that week and by the time we were getting into the stage we couldn’t even look at each other so everyone decided it was a good idea for everyone to go into their own corner and drink the pain away. Needless to say the show was horrible and we played the worst we ever played, luckily it was a show for a few friends and something behind closed doors. At the time it wasn’t funny at all, I spilled wine all over one of my guitars by accident, I forgot some of the lyrics, and everyone else in the band was just playing their part not connecting with each other at all, our friends made sure to come and tell us after how bad the show was and now is just a funny stupid gig story we have between us. And everything is fine we took our lesson from that and we definitely wrote down why and what lead us to that much tension and we’ll never do it again!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Ricardo our drummer plays a Yamaha Maple kit, which just sounds amazing and is very suited for our sound. I play a Gretsch, João plays a Telecaster and Alex has an Aria bass, and he also sometimes uses a Mason bass that we know nothing about, because it was a second hand purchase but it sounds so good! When recording that’s the bass of choice for us!
We also use a lot of pedals for the guitars and bass because it is a really big part of our sound, in order for me to sing a switch pedals at the same time without having to dance around the pedal board that much I had to get a pedal switcher with everything connect in a way that I don’t have to worry too much about what I’m doing with my feet.
Guitar and bass pedals are a serious addiction of ours and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop soon!
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We are currently working our way up for the release of our new album, coming out in September this year!
We released the first single “Chasing Tails” and we are about to release the second single “Lost I Am Found” in mid July!
We are really proud of how the album sounds and what it talks about, it’s something really personal and I got into some really deep things going on in my life and dealing with anxiety and depression. Everything is much better now and this quarantine really helped me to get my mind straight. The album is self titled, because it really made sense since we feel like it’s the best representation of us as musicians.
What are your plans for the next 6 months or so?
We are now giving it all on promoting the album and meanwhile preparing ourselves to play live, so as soon as it is safe to go out and play we’ll do it the most we can. Right now our main goal is to get our music out there as much as possible and play as much live shows as we can when it is safe again! Until then we have a few plans for online related content!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
We’d love to open for a band like Queens Of The Stone Age or King Gizzard and Lizzard Wizzard! It would be and honor to share the stage with them really!
And if we could have someone open for us it would probably a band called “Polivalente” from Portugal, they are really good friends of ours and I had the most pleasure recording and mixing their album last year, and they are really amazing musicians and in my opinion visionaries within the prog rock scene, they’re doing it like no one else!
Thank you for this interview and the support you’ve been giving us! Take care guys! Hope to see you all soon!