-Interview- Solar Flare Sunset (5/12/22)

Solar Flare Sunset talks about their influences, the Rock music scene in general and much more.


Sounds like: Rock
From: Colorado

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Solar Flare Sunset" and is there any meaning behind it?

Our original lineup was a 4 piece, before Raul joined it was me (Ethan, lead guitar and vocals), Isaiah Long on rhythm guitar, and Cole Mandle on bass. We were all good friends from high school. When we started putting those original songs of ours together, we each made a list of five names over the course of a few days and compared when we jammed again. We narrowed it down to three and had a consensus on Solar Flare Sunset. Ethan started playing guitar at thirteen, a couple of friends had them and I wanted to learn to play. My Mom is huge into the blues and my Dad loves Rush, so I had that sort of rock and blues guitar baptism early. My guitar style is based around guys like Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour and Stevie Ray Vaughan, those are the guys I steal from the most. Songwriting-wise, I think it comes across pretty blatantly how much I/ we love the Foo Fighters, so Grohl is big, but I love Kurt Cobain, Noel Gallegher, Knopfler, Neil Peart, I love they way those guys, among other, crafted words and melodies. That rock pantheon in tandem with sharing a room with my older sister at the height of NSYNC, BSB, and Brittney Spears in the late 90s and being a lover of those 90s Disney flicks, all of that stuff is criminally catchy. I think it all seeped in my head early on.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

Our music isn't reinventing the wheel by any stretch. We just want people to have a good time, hopefully relate to whatever it is the song is about, and sing along. Playing in front of an audience is the best thing in the world.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Dave Grohl and Mark Knopfler trying to write Metallica and Led Zeppelin songs.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

A month ago we'd have said the Foo Fighters, but with the tragedy of Taylor's death, who knows if that'll ever even be possible. We would fit in well with a band like Highly Suspect, we have a similar sound to them. Opening for any major act would be incredible, really. Weezer, Alter Bridge, Slash, Queens of the Stone Age, I think we are in that neighborhood sound-wise.

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

COVID put everyone on hiatus. For us, we had just moved from Iowa to Colorado late in 2019. We'd finally gotten tight and ready to start playing when everything shut down. Cole, Raul and I were all living together at the time, so we used the time to write what became Patchwork Fantasy, which is undoubtedly our best work to date. So COVID was a mixed bag. Then right after everything opened up, Cole quit the band. We went from one obstacle to the other, but we searched and found August Koch and he fits like a glove.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Rock?

The age old "rock is dead" call is kind of tiring. It isn't the #1 genre anymore, that's without a doubt. But "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has 1.2 billion streams on Spotify, for example. People still listen to it, just maybe not as much as we do or asuch as the general population did 20, 30, 40 years ago. The internet broke everything up, so we're probably never going to get the "voice of a generation" rock band again, there are just so any options. The bar of entry for recording music has never been lower, which is certainly a double eged sword. Lots of crap gets released, but also a lot of great stuff that's have otherwise not. There's plenty of good rock music out there, the classics, and the newer stuff. You just might have to do a little digging to find it instead of turning on 94.1FM and have it handed right to you.

7. What’s the current music scene like locally there in Colorado?

Out here there are tons of spots to play and no shortage of cool and interesting bands to play in them. COVID and our bassist departure delayed our jump into the deep end, but now that we are set we are ready to be thrust into the scene in a big way.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

Considering we haven't had any because of our very limited exposure, we can't really say we've been screwed over by anyone yet. Taylor Swift has been pretty vocal about the bad faith practices streaming sites use, and we tend to sympathize with the side of the artist most of the time. She would be more knowledgeable on that than almost anyone, certainly more than a three piece rock band in Denver. Whatever she said we agree with!

9. What's next for Solar Flare Sunset?

Playing a bunch of shows, making ourselves more visible online so people know who we are when we do play shows. We've got some new stuff written and in the works, a studio visit may be in the cards for the end of the year and a new album by next summer. Maybe?

10. Any shoutouts?

Cole and Isaiah, our brothers. My dear friends from high school. This band wouldn't exist if you hadn't helped form it, and for that we'll always be thankful. Love those guys to death.