Interview: Exclusive chat with Sam & Oliver from Sunfall!

Continuing our exclusive interview series, we caught up with vocalist Sam and guitarist Oliver from Guildford based Heavy Post-Metalcore quartet Sunfall. Having witnessed their live show at Caliber Management’s half-dayer at The Lounge Bar in Alton, we can safely say, their future is so bright, it will burn your retinas…

Your set at The Lounge Bar was fantastic! How was your experience of the Alton half dayer?

Sam (Vocals): Thank you so much! The Alton half dayer was fantastic! It was great to play with all the bands who are a part of Caliber and also get to meet them all as we are such a new addition to the roster. It felt like a big “mates fest” and I couldn’t help but chuck a mosh to the likes of Arkdown, Starve to Survive, Carbine and Bound in Fear! For me personally, it was also great to be playing with my mates in Break Fifty again. I know Matt (bassist) and Ollie (guitarist) from when I first moved to Guildford and we used to have wild nights out all the time, so it was great to be on the same line-up as them again! Every band played fantastically though and it was great to run about and have fun all day!

Your guitarist Oliver stepped up to the plate and played bass for Carbine. How did that come about?

Oliver (Guitars): Funnily enough, a year ago exactly, I was filing in on bass for Carbine on their tour with Pay No Respect. The local scene down here is very tight knit and we all know each other one way or another. Back then I had just started playing guitar for Bound In Fear and the lads in that band knew Alex (Carbine’s vocalist) very well. And from what I am aware; when Alex was looking for a fill in, they had recommended myself for the job. So having done that, I guess it was a easy decision to quickly get me back up there again with Carbine; and I loved every second of it!

What was it like getting started in the Guildford Metal Scene? Have bands like Polar helped pave the way?

Oliver (Guitars): Having a couple of years prior experience in the Guildford/local scene, it was a very warm and welcoming experience for Sunfall. The amount of support and love we’ve been shown from our piers and show goers alike has been absolutely unreal. And we say it to each other all the time that we’re incredibly blessed to have this monumental support, and we’re grateful for every ounce of it. And as for bands paving the way, while all these bands such as polar are doing amazing things, I’d have to give this one to the show goers in the Guildford scene. Every time we’ve played in Guildford there have been people there who know none of the bands playing and are there to enjoy new and good music, and turn up regardless of the bands playing and show some love. Then you have promoters such as Link from Pathfinder promotions who goes out of his way to bring in amazing bands he believes and Joe from Progressive Promotions bringing in the big bands everyone wants to see. Regardless of the bands playing, the Guildford scene is alive and healthy!

News has just come out that Guildford council are shutting the Star Inn down as a music venue from December 9th. That venue is the beating heart of the Guildford scene and it’s truly tragic that it’s going so I’d like to add a bit onto my answer. “Though, having said that the Guildford scene is alive and healthy. It’s a low blow and a Kick to the face to hear that from December 9th, 2018, “The Backroom” at the Star Inn will cease to exist as a music venue. The place is a MASSIVE piece of musical heritage, and has been so giving and supportive of our scene, it’s been Sunfall’s and countless other bands absolute favourite place to play in Guildford. Our manager himself played countless shows there growing up, hell; The Stranglers played their first ever show there. Neil Young, a developer was told countless times that the venue was in the immediate proximity to a location he was converting into flats and that its not a good idea to build flats there, despise the fact it was known that music was played there the flats were made. Long story short a noise complaint was made. Guildford borough council told us all that the venue was at no risk of being affected by the complaint but somehow they turned their back on the venue. I speak for all of us when I say we are insanely pissed off. Fuck Neil Young!, and shame on the Guildford Borough Council for being spineless bastards and essentially stabbing us all in the back just to please a property developer.

New single “Breathe” is another quality cut from yourselves. When can we expect an EP or full length album from Sunfall?

Oliver (Guitars): We currently have around 15+ demos and counting with a bunch making our live set, and are currently making our way through recording our top picks with Keir Campbell of “Kascade Mixing & Mastering”. We can’t really say much now, but there are some things happening with the band in the near future that’s having a massive impact on the tracks we are recording now. As the bands song writer, there are some songs I deep down feel need a little more time to mature, so wether it’s a EP or full length album is still to be decided. However, whatever it may be; we are hoping for a end of year release, or at the very latest, early 2019. But we do have a single or two to bridge the gap between now and then to keeps things interesting!

You’ve done a number of one off shows, so the obvious questions… Are you looking forward to a longer run of dates? Would you fancy going toe to toe with the likes of Malevolence and Harbinger or would someone like Whitechapel be more of the dream?

Sam (Vocals): We’ve actually played with Harbinger 4 times now, we love those guys and they’re super damn talented! Every time Sunfall is together at any show, at least one of us will be miming what we like to call “the riff” from the start of their track “Darkest Days”, we can’t get enough of it! Malevolence are a band that I also highly look up to in this scene. To me, they’re like a modern day Pantera infused with hardcore/deathcore elements. I saw them live for the first time when they were on tour with Despised Icon earlier this year and they were fantastic. I didn’t realise the guitarist was the one who did the crazy melodic vocals the band has in a few of their tracks, and hearing it live it sounded just like it did on CD. Absolutely blown away, if we ever got the chance to open for them I would be over the moon! Whitechapel as well would be a dream come true! Phil Bozeman is a massive influence to me for my low range of vocals and just overall I love Whitechapel as a whole. They’re one of the best bands in their genre and come to think of it I have never seen them live! But yes 100%, Whitechapel would be up there as a bucket list band I would love to play with, I’ve been listening to them for nearly a decade!

You’ve mentioned your song “Snake” and it’s attachment to Mental Health. In the current climate, was it easier to write a song about such a deep and personal subject or were you concerned about any stigma attached to it?

Sam (Vocals): “Snake” is the most personal song I have ever written lyrics to. It’s about a time where I hit rock bottom in my life due to suffering with OCD/Intrusive thoughts. It was such a dark period of time for me and I felt like I needed to write about it in a song, I have come leaps and bounds since then as it was over 4 years ago, but when I look back I am so glad I am in such a better mind set in this present day. Mental health to me is ridiculously important, even when I was suffering, everything external was amazing, I had wonderful friends and a relationship that I had just gotten into, I was doing well in my studies so I should’ve been over the moon. But my own mind had me think not and I was dragged down every day because of it. To describe the feeling, it was like someone was squeezing my head 24/7 and there was something in my chest about to burst out. As bad as it was though, I’m glad it happened because I would’ve never found out all the coping methods to treat the problem and make it go away for good. The whole time period made me way stronger as a person and I am certain I will never feel that low ever again. As for writing the song and having stigma attached to it, that process was completely fine. I am proud to say I know longer suffer with OCD/Intrusive thoughts so writing the lyrics didn’t bring back any “triggers” or anything that spiralled me down to start feeling like that again. I am completely over the incident and I look at it as a necessary part of my life to help me grow as a person. As for mental health in general, I think it’s the most important thing in your life. Your external world might be going to shit and there might be stresses with your job, family etc. But as long as you’ve got a strong mind and you’re able to deal with it and fix the situation in a calm and confident manner, it makes things so much easier and you realise that there’s honestly not much to stress about. My message though to anyone suffering with mental health, please speak out and get help, you WILL get better, I never thought I would be able to get over my problems but here I am 4 years later and I feel the best I have felt in a long long time. Taking that first step is always the hardest to admit you have a problem and/or tell someone about it, but I promise you from there on things will only look up!

Sunfall’s debut release is currently in the works, but you can purchase singles “Breathe” and “Extremis” over at bandcamp.

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