Sunrunner Discusses Current Content and Future Matters!

Progressive heavy metal rockers SUNRUNNER have five album's out, along with some EP's and a live release too. New songs are in the idea process for now, with much else also in the works too. See what else the band discusses about all below.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

We started jamming in 2007 with no direction. It was Frank Navarro who played bass and guitar, a friend named Andy Moulton who was big into jazz guitar and myself who came from a metal background. Eventually we started writing songs and Ted MacInnes started playing drums for us. In 2008 or 2009, Dave Joy joined the ranks as singer/ bass player. Andy left to pursue jazz music and the rest of us kept going. We also coined the name Sunrunner and things started to get serious. It has pretty much been the same members ever since, with a couple guys who have come and gone, but the 4 of us are still together. Kind of…

Doug Porter, a local guitar legend joined us just before we went to the studio for ‘Time In Stone’ around 2013, making us a 5 piece. Since our third album ‘Heliodromus’ (2015), Frank has taken a back seat and helped in the writing, jamming and artwork department, but decided he couldn’t commit to shows and tours. So Dave switched to bass permanently. We hired a third guitarist/ singer/ multi-instrumentalist, Erik Neilson. Making us a 6 piece.The second and third records, we all kind of switched off singing. Doug and Erik were not in the band for very long and left just after finishing the ‘Heliodromus’ record. We immediately became a 3 piece for live shows. But after gaining some nice connections during our first tour of Brazil, we found a new lead singer, Bruno Neves from Frutal. 

So in a way, we are still the original line up, but things have morphed over the years. A few members have come and gone, but it is still Ted, Dave, Frank, and myself, (except Frank only writes). And we have Bruno on lead vocals.  

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

Well, it’s not that interesting of a story haha. Back when Frank and I were roommates, we found a lost female Siberian Husky dog in the street. Now we are hundreds miles from anywhere in a very woodsy town. Anyway, we brought her home with us since she had a tag. We didn’t have cell phones yet. It was 2008 or 2009. We got home and called the owners they were happy but  couldn’t come pick up the dog until the next day. So we had the dog for a full day. We had fun with her. But we kept forgetting her name when we would call to her. It was like Sunshine or Sundog or Sunspots. We were yelling different names to her. At some point Frank yelled Sunrunner. And at that time, I might have been slightly buzzed from a few beers and a little weed. I thought to myself, that would be a cool name. I dwelled on it for a moment and said to Frank “dude, let’s call the band Sunrunner! And that was it!

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

We are from New England. I am originally from the burbs of Boston. But I have lived in the state of Maine for about 20 years. Dave is from Maine. Ted and Frank are from Connecticut. And Bruno is from Brazil. So none of us live close by. We just say we are from New England. But Portland is kind of the center hub for us. There are some really cool bands from here. Ogre, Confusatron, Doomstone. There are quite a few, but those are my favorite.

4. How would you describe your style?

Classic heavy metal with a mix of progressive rock. Not really prog metal though. We are not virtuoso musicians. But we tend to write things out of the box and there is odd time signatures involved. We also incorporate other instruments like acoustics, bouzouki, flutes and percussion once in a while. Like 1 or 2 songs per album will have some embellishments. We also try to capture the music live and keep the production at a minimum. Try to keep it raw. Also unlike prog metal which tends to be perfect and polished. We jokingly call it working class prog metal haha. We have heard the term heavy prog sometimes. But I’m not sure how accurate that is. But at the core, we play seventies and eighties style heavy metal

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

We have five full length albums released in the past 11 years. There is also a few E.P.’s in between and an official bootleg live c.d.

The first album was the most progressive. We jumped in not knowing which direction to go. We experimented too much in my opinion. So the next album, we made sure to put the rock and metal more in the foreground. So you can expect each c.d. we made, to get heavier consecutively. Also, the songs are more coherent now. In the beginning, we had a lot of longer songs. We still like to have an epic song on each album, but we have trimmed some of the excess off how we used to compose. The songs make more sense now.

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

Always. There are always riffs, demos, ideas and ambition for new songs. I have a lot of ideas myself. Working out some tunes right now actually. 

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

Covid really messed things up for that. We haven’t played a show in 2 and a half years I think. We are scrambling to find a new booking agent to set up some tours. But if we can’t, we might just stay locally this Summer and get back into the groove of playing live.

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

Well, we have lots and lots of ideas. If all goes as planned, we will have many more records to come. There are so many ideas, I just don’t know what will come to fruition. Some things I shouldn’t even mention because the likelihood of them coming into existence is small, but not impossible. All I can say is the drive and ambition is there. 

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Good question! I would like them to hear that we are a different sort of proggy influenced metal. A primitive prog metal. In fact, forget about the prog. The newer stuff we tried to make sound normal. For example, playing a simple beat in an odd time signature, smoothing out the music. And keeping the key changes less dramatic. So, the newest album, you might not even hear the prog. It is more subtle now. Well, I don’t really have the answer to this question actually. As long as they don’t think we totally suck, that would be great hahaha!

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