Let’s dive straight into the interview with Kyle and Justin from Sunmancer. Kyle, the seasoned guitarist with over 22 years of experience, and Justin, the powerful vocalist, are brothers who have been shaping Atlanta’s metalcore scene for years. Their musical journey began in the late ’90s, inspired by the heavy sound of bands like Deftones. Together, they’ve weathered multiple band iterations, culminating in the dynamic force that is Sunmancer. Today, we get an exclusive glimpse into their shared history and the evolution of their sound.
Let’s dive into the featured track on the compilation. Can you share the inspiration or story behind “Fatalist”?
Justin: All of my lyrics are open to interpretation, but when writing “Fatalist” I had a theme in mind pertaining to the monotony within certain aspects of existence. With said monotony ultimately leading towards a choice between self discovery or self destruction.
Walk us through your creative process. How do you typically approach writing and composing music? What was your creative process like for your debut EP “Nothing Ever Happens”?
Kyle: A song generally starts from a riff that either Jeremy or I write. Sometimes we collaborate with each other and write the song together, other times we go off on our own and finish the instrumentation ourselves and show the band once the song is complete. Everyone then gives their input and we make some changes until we are happy with the music. Justin adds his vocals last.
Who or what are your major influences in metal? How do they impact your own musical style?
Kyle: I think my influences are pretty easy to hear: Killswitch Engage, The Black Dahlia Murder, Coheed and Cambria. The guitar playing in KsE and BDM is just so tight and controlled, and their riffs are so good. I would practice their songs so often when I was younger, and it helped me become a really tight guitar player. I absolutely loved the album “in Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” by Coheed; I’ve always wanted to write epic choruses like they do.
Justin: My earliest influences are Deftones, Glassjaw and Vision of Disorder.
What challenges have you faced as an artist in the scene, and how have you overcome them?
Kyle: The social media aspect of being in a band can be exhausting, 10-15 years ago this wasn’t a thing; now we have to constantly post material to stay relevant and capture the short attention span of viewers. It’s something to get used to – before we could just focus on writing, recording, and releasing a song, now we have to be mindful of the online content that we will need to create to support a release and engage people.
How do you see the scene evolving, and what role do you believe your music plays in that evolution?
Kyle: Music trends are a bit like fads, they come back every 20 years or so. We are all fans of early 2000’s metal, and that’s the kind of music we write. We aren’t trying to ride some new trend in music, or attempting to reinvent the wheel. We write what we think sounds cool, and hopefully people will agree with us.
Justin: Compared to when my brother and I toured in our original band over 10 years ago, everything is more catered towards social media. Having to navigate our music in this different landscape has definitely been a challenge, but it’s something we are quickly learning to adapt to.
Share with us some of the most memorable moments in your musical journey so far.
Justin: Kyle and I have several memorable moments touring the United States in Broadcast the Nightmare, it is a little tough to pinpoint one specific moment. I would have to say just having the opportunity to wake up in a different city every day to perform music I love with close friends gave me some of the best experiences of my life.
Do you have a personal favorite among your own compositions? If so, which one and why?
Kyle: I enjoy all the songs on the EP, but I think “Descender” is probably my favorite. It’s the first song that Jeremy and I wrote together, and that process showed me that we work well together.
Justin: I don’t necessarily have a favorite within the five songs we released. I enjoy listening to each song throughout the EP in its entirety.
Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
Kyle: Jeremy and I are always writing. Right now we have at least an album’s worth of new material that we’ve recorded pre production demos for. As we grow as a band, I get more and more excited to share our newer material with listeners. We may be releasing new songs in the second half of 2024 at a relatively steady pace.
Justin: Sunmancer has new material that we will be releasing in the coming months and I personally have a project in the works with our bassist, Dan Nelson. We’ll have an EP out sometime this year.
What does it mean to you to be a part of our compilation? How has the experience been for you?
Justin: It has been an easy process so far. I am looking forward to seeing what the response will be for the song we included in the compilation and hope to gain a few new fans.
Is there a message you’d like to convey to your fans who will be discovering your music through this compilation?
Kyle: Thanks for listening!
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would it be?
Kyle: I’d love to work with Adam D. of Killswitch one day.
If you had to pick one instrument (besides your primary one) to master, what would it be?
Kyle: I’ve always really thought that cellos sound so cool, so that would be fun to learn to play – either that or drums. I’m not coordinated enough to learn drums, though.
Justin: I probably would have tried to practice guitar or piano more often.
What’s your all-time favorite metal album, and why? One album that you always return to.
Kyle: I’d have to say a toss-up between “Alive or Breathing” by Killswitch Engage and “Toxicity” by System of a Down. “Toxicity” is why I wanted to learn how to play guitar, and “Alive or Just Breathing” introduced me to metal.
Justin: I don’t necessarily have one all-time favorite record. It would be a tie between Deftones “Around the Fur” and Glassjaw “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence” for nostalgia and because they helped integrate my love for writing music and performing live.
Are there non-musical influences that find their way into your music? (e.g., literature, art, science)
Kyle: There have been a few times that I have written material that is a nod to a video game soundtrack, or to convey the feeling in a scene of a movie/tv show that I enjoy.
Any final thoughts or reflections you’d like to share with our audience?
Jeremy: Thank you to Prog Sphere for letting us be a part of their latest compilation and keep an eye out for new songs, videos and show announcements from Sunmancer coming out throughout this year.
Where can our audience find more about you and your music?