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Son of the Sun rises again

Courtesy of Son of the Sun

You could make the argument that Son of the Sun is the most exciting band to come out of the Queen City in years. They won Buffalo Spree’s Best Band award in 2009, and in 2010 released a killer album, The Happy Loss. Now the band is back, with a new EP titled Almost Not There, and Joseph Stoker, guitarist and keyboardist, discusses the new release, upcoming shows, and influences.

Buffalo Spree: What makes your new EP different from your previous releases?
Joseph Stoker: I think it’s a natural, healthy progression of five guys making music together. With every song, it becomes more of a band. Considering we didn’t start as a five-piece band, it’s really become a fine-tuned machine. I think it has a bit of a different sound to it. On the nerdy end, it’s a little more produced in the sense of it being made in a controlled environment, but it’s still just five guys in a room.

BS: How would you say your sound has developed?
JS: The first EP was just myself and Zak [Ward, vocalist-guitarist], so it definitely was more of a studio thing where we pieced it together. [Almost Not There] has an energy that you can’t beat when you get five people in a room. I think the average person would be able to point it out. There’s just an energy going.

BS: Where did the title Almost Not There come from?
JS: I saw that in a book, and it sounded like a cool phrase. Kind of like with all album covers, it just sounded cool, and then you come up with some big, deep reason why it works. I think, like with a lot of things, like the album, like the band, like any relationship you might have, it goes through a lot of things and sometimes it almost didn’t make it. It’s sort of like being grateful for the things that you have because they could fall apart at any moment. So that’s the real long, hippy version of what it means, but really, it just sounded cool.

BS: What’s next for you guys now that the new EP has been released?
JS: We are in the middle of a little string of pretty decent local shows with lots of outside venues. We just want to keep playing. We are still working stiffs, so we have to do it in small bursts. We try to go out, at least in our region, and play as much as we can. We also want to record again. I’m kind of addicted to that.

BS: What are your current and past influences?
JS: There’s the obvious: The Beatles, Dylan, and currently Roxie Music. The classics like Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers and that whole sound definitely influence us. We are also influenced by modern bands like the Flaming Lips, Radiohead, or Wilco, and this under-the-radar band called Yellowbird. There’s so much. We are all kind of record whores, so we all have tons and tons of music. I think having a balance of the old and the new, you can always keep a fresh take on yourself. You can hear a band sometimes, and they are a total retro throwback, but it’s nice to have a foot in each time period.

BS: Has Buffalo influenced you at all?
JS: I think it has to, whether or not you are actually aware of it. I know the seasons have influenced me. In the winter, I find myself being miserable. That’s not to imply that I make sad music at that time, but the climate affects me. Buffalo also has great people and great circles of music, art, and food. Buffalo absolutely seeps into the music. There are also a lot of people who think we are from California when they listen to the music, so maybe it’s also the yearning for the other side.

Son of the Sun will play a late show at Buffalo's Noir Ultra Lounge on Friday, July 22nd.


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