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From the Swamps of South Carolina – An Interview with Behind the Sun

Behind the Sun, Opeth,Behind the Sun is a forward-thinking, progressive metal band hailing from the swamps of  South Carolina. The quartet consisting of Guitarist / Vocalist Jesse Hank, drummer Nathan G. Day, bassist Brian Sisk, and guitarist / vocalist Morgan Murray, bring an original, spellbinding, and technically savvy style on their newest record Post Solis. They are loud, boisterous, and thought-provoking, and Slickster Magazine was given the opportunity to sit down with the band to talk over their new record, their multiple musical influences, and what reminds them of their home start of South Carolina.

How did Behind the Sun form?

Morgan Murray: Through spells of the cosmic architect over the corse of eons. 
Jesse and I (Morgan) played in a previous group and immediately after disbanding we started writing the first couple songs that would turn into Behind The Sun. We took a couple of years putting everything together and the addition of Nathan our drummer early on solidified everything. Then we managed to snag our Bass player Brian and here we are, a couple years down the road
Behind the dirge of guitars, there is a beauty to the music, especially on songs like “Periapsis” can you tell us a little about where the band finds that influence?
Morgan Murray: Periapsis was written by our drummer Nathan, and is one of our favorite tracks.
Nathan Day: It just sort of happens, I think about space and shit and those are the sounds come out. I wish I could explain it better.
Who wrote “Scrawlings of the Architect” and is there any backstory to that interlude?
Morgan Murray: The interlude is part of the last four songs on the EP. Nathan fucks with composing music of all styles real heavy and we’ve had been throwing around the idea of having more strictly musical bridges between tracks. We felt it complemented the whole space opera thing we were shooting for with those tracks.

What is the songwriting process like for the band on a record like Post Solis?
Morgan Murray: It varies a little from track to track, some are purely a single members creation that we learn as a group. Other times it’s more of a collaborative process with us building on top of each other. The tracks on Post Solis range in age of each other so we’ve been working on how we approach our songs in different manners for most of our time as a band.
There is a cosmic thread that runs through the titles of each song “Periapsis”, and “Lanikea” are words that speak to something otherworldly, “Panagea” was a supercontinent from prehistoric times. The name of the record, and even the band, are beyond Earth, Is there a theme that you are trying to speak to with this record?
Morgan Murray: We are all big fans of more concept oriented material from tons of artists. Our idea with those particular songs was a loose space oriented opera with a single character experiencing the end of the world and then traveling throughout space and getting to the end of creation.
There are little snippets in these songs, like the break in “The Fall” that has a Latin influence, and the beginning of “Periapsis” that brings the funk, what influences did you bring to the recording of the record?
Morgan Murray: We all listen to a wide variety of music, and that had a huge part into it. Another reason would be that the whole idea we wanted to play with in this project is to not strictly limit ourselves to any single style. This is really an incredible time for newer artists, I don’t know if fans are more forgiving or people are just into new music, but there’s a huge blend of bands and styles right now that are amazing and it suits us.
I am a huge believer that location plays a big role in how a band sounds. You guys are from South Carolina, how has this influenced your sound, if at all?
Morgan Murray: We have had a plethora of groups in our region that we’ve all had huge boners for at times and love their sound. Everything from Nile to BTBAM and Mastodon and Baroness. There’s too many to mention. I think a lot of what we shoot for in our guitar tones comes from more of the organic and sludge bands we’ve come up around.
What is one record that you would bring with you on a deserted island?
JesseFrances the Mute by The Mars Volta
NathanWish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
BrianPiece of Mind by Iron Maiden
Morgan – Blackwater Park by Opeth
What is one record that your fans would be surprised to know that you own?
Jesse – Hi-Five Soup by The Aquabats
Nathan – The Mollusk by Ween
Brian – The Space Ghost Coast to Coast Musical Barbecue 
Morgan – Art Angels by Grimes
Who are the musicians that have had the biggest influence on you personally?
Nathan – Probably Blake Richardson from BTBAM and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater. Gavin Harrison from Porcupine Tree has been a huge influence for me.
Brian – I would have to say it’s more groups like Alice In Chains, Sabbath, Rush and Iron Maiden. Mention Lemmy and Geddy Lee
Jesse – Les Claypool, David Gilmore, Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Prince and Michael Akerfeldt.
Morgan – Akerfeldt and Loomis for days, I’ve listened to everything they’ve put hands on for years.
What is the first concert you paid to go to with your own money?
Jesse – Rob Zombie and Korn around the late nineties.
Brian – mid 80’s Stryper was my first concert I paid for.
Nathan – Dream Theater and Scale the Summit in 2009
Morgan – Sanctity, Lamb of God and Opeth in Atlanta.
What is the song that most reminds you of your hometown?
Morgan – “Them Pills I Took” by Hank Williams III
Brian – “A Country Boy Can Survive”
Jesse – “Old Black” by Earth
Nathan – some Horrible modern praise music
What is your go-to, never fail best record to drive to?
Jesse – St. Pepsi – Hit Vibes
Brian – Purson – The Cirle and the Blue Door
Nathan – Star Charts by Pogo
Morgan –  anything by Royksopp
What’s next for Behind the Sun?
We are already back to writing new music and going further down the rabbit hole. We’ve got some shows booked in the spring and trying to put some legs on this ep in the meantime.

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