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Saturday, May 30, 2020
GIK Acoustics - Europe
GIK Acoustics - Europe
The Moshville Times

Interview: Mick Burns of Feral Sun

I always enjoy getting contacted by Rachael at Enso Music Management as she always adds quality bands to her roster that should be heard by the masses out there. Rachael knows how to get bands to the next step on the ladder, but she also has to let the band’s music do the talking. Feral Sun are a multicultural band with lots of musical influences but with a single that unfortunately brings a message too close to home for some folk. Feral Sun want to spread this message with the song “Blame” and unleash their emotions through this single which can only be commended and the fact that it’s a damn fine tune in itself is also a bonus. Thank you Mick for the interview and I wish you guys the best of luck. For fans of Alter Bridge, Stone Sour and Seether.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

  • Mick Burns – South Africa
  • Jay Stephenson – United Kingdom
  • Andrea Murgia – Italy
  • Mark Hosri – Lebanon

How long have you been playing together as a band?

Well with our new line up around 2 years but, had breaks in between as members had to be out the country.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Well… it’s a mixture of rock, heavy rock and metal with a melodic edge that we sometimes describe as “Beautiful and Fat”. Although we can be put in the same category as bands such as Alter Bridge, Seether in terms of our style, Feral Sun has always had that little something different which our fans would say on a few occasions. Whether it be that our approach to writing songs is slightly different or perhaps that our drummer Jay comes from a hip hop / rock background meaning that his beats are normally not your typical rock beats that you would expect to hear on certain parts… we not entirely sure!

In April, you are releasing your latest single “Blame”. How does it feel to get the new song out there for the masses to hear for the first time and how have the reviews been so far?

Aaaah man… it’s exciting indeed! Getting to this point has not been an easy road and we hit a few hurdles along the way but, in the end we got there and can’t wait to unleash it to the world. This virus will not stop us and we hope it brings some positive vibes to what is quite a grim situation. The reviews have been fantastic so far, even getting a 10/10 and amazing comments regarding the song and production, which I must add Jason Wilson from Stakeout Studios did an epic job, especially with the amount of time we had!

Being active for a number of years now, how would you say it compares to that of your earlier material and do you think you have found the sound you strive for or will Feral Sun continue to keep experimenting?

Well, we were stoked to also get great reviews from our debut album Evacuate along with our singles being played on many stations around the world which absolutely blew our minds but, we feel that the new material has gone up a level and perhaps maturing a little, along with a whole lot more energy and beauty that our long term fans would expect. At this point, we are keeping an open mind to song writing but, trying not to steer too far away from the style and sound we love. Every day we get someone new that finds our music and lets us know they like our sound or a specific song, like our ballad “Breathe”, so I guess it’s a bit of a “If it’s not broke, why fix it”.

How often is the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio? Where do you get together and record?

We aim to rehearse twice a week doing late night rehearsals. In terms of recording, we have recorded live demos in our rehearsal room and when it comes to getting ready to go in to an actual recording studio, we would lay down some rough demo’s at our bassist, Andrea’s, house. Both our album and the new forthcoming singles we recorded at Stakeout Studios where the likes of Don Broco, Fightstar, Reuben, We are the Ocean and more have recorded.

How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Feral Sun a band where all members contribute to the songs?

To be honest, Mick being the main songwriter in the band would normally come in with an idea, whether it being a riff or the structure to a full track. Each member then brings their instrument into the song along with any ideas, if they feel a part needs to change slightly or whether it does not work at all, we discuss and try all ideas until we all agree it works. Other members in the group especially our lead guitarist Mark has a few great riffs and song ideas that we have been looking at recently but, no matter who writes the song, to us it’s will always be Feral Sun’s song, as the song would not be complete without each instrument.

Is there a main lyricist within the band? What are the lyrics for “Blame” based on?

In terms of lyrics up until now, Mick is the only lyricist within the band but, all members are welcome to bring forward lyrics if they feel they have something to offer. Mick wrote these lyrics based on his childhood experience growing up in what most would call, a broken home. It’s not written entirely to the point of his life but, towards the issue of domestic violence and the mental and physical issues that go with it.  It’s deep, and a subject that not many people want to talk about but, it’s a massive issue that many have to deal with in this world that occurs behind closed doors.

Being a four piece band and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?

When we first got together trying to write new songs it was a bit of a mixed bag, where one song goes smoothly and another our styles and influences would not meet in the middle. As we progressed, all members started getting a feel for the style and working towards writing songs that would complement the next. Of course there will always be negotiating, and sometimes it can feel a bit like a tug o’ war with each member trying to push his idea but in the end that’s what makes it worth it, as it’s that struggle that makes you smile from the inside out when a song is born!

How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on more bigger tours and further afield in 2020?

So far it’s not been too bad to be honest! We try book gigs out of London on weekends as most of us don’t work weekends, and then London shows any day of the week where we take time off work if needed. We also try book ahead of time which gives our employers enough notice.

How hard is it for a band like Feral Sun to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?

It is very hard, especially as none of us come from wealthy backgrounds to ease the pressure of making the show go on. It’s also a bit of hit and miss, where you could play to decent crowds and sell a few items and then play a gig in a small venue and be surprised to make more than the bigger shows. I guess it’s the same struggle for many bands so we just hope to at least break even and be able to get to the next show.

Before the internet, magazines and fanzines were the places to find out about new bands and trends. Now publications are replaced with thousands of websites catering for all genres. Do you think that some of the passion has been lost or do you think that the internet has been a good thing for music and Feral Sun?

It’s a bit of both, as I used to love going to the stores to get the latest rock or metal magazine or pick up a rare CD that I have been searching for but although some magazines still do hard copies, I think those days are now long gone and unless you embrace it, you will just not get to where you want to in this day and age. There are what seems to be endless avenues and platforms to promote your music on and sites that you can share your music, reviews etc. Having money would make you reach your audience a lot quicker especially if you want to reach the masses but if you continuously work at it with passion I feel it may take longer but you will get there in the end… or so we hope!

You are now on the Enso Music Management roster. How has it been to work with them and what are they doing to help push Feral Sun to the next level?

Yes we are and stoked to be a part of the Enso family. We are still quite new to the roster but, so far it’s been an absolute pleasure working with our Manager Rachael who works day and night to drive all bands under her wing to the next level. Always looking for opportunities is what a band wants from their Manager, and Rachael has gone past our expectations, even with this virus putting a stop to all we had planned, she has been working and doing all she can.

What are your plans for 2020?

Well as mentioned, this virus cancelled plans and nobody expected the world would be at a standstill and at this point we don’t know when things will start moving again, so I guess we just going to take it one day at a time.

Being from the London area, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend and give a shout out?

Yeah… do check out our good friends Metasoma, Temples on Mars, Marisa and the moths, Deadly Circus Fire to name but a few!

A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?

Well for me (Mick) personally in no particular order:

  • Pearl Jam – VS
  • Seether – Poison the Parish
  • Breaking Benjamin – Dear Agony
  • Alter Bridge – Blackbird
  • Sevendust – All I See is War

Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?

We would like to thank you Moshville Times for taking the time to chat with us today and for your support! We would also like to thank everyone who has been following us over the years for their continuous support and love, and if you only just heard of us and like what we are doing and our music… then welcome to the “Feral Tribe”.

Blame is out April 24th

Feral Sun: official | facebook | twitter

About The Author

Ricky

As Trevor Peres of Obituary once said, "Anything to do with Death, Dying or being Chopped In Half, then I'm into it". Been into death metal since the late 80's and a lover of dark ambient, its simply a case of opposites attract.

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