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August 23 , 2019
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Interview with S.U.N. Project after a visit to Israel

Who are S.U.N. Project?

McCoy: Since I was a kid, I was interested in music. I started to play guitar when I was ten years old, at eleven I started to play drums. All the time I played with several bands; music between funk, rock and later heavy-metal.

Matthias Rumoeller: I loved psychedelic Rock music since I was a child. I bought my first electric guitar when I was seventeen. I was playing guitar in different Bands since I was eighteen, mainly Rock and Grunge. From 1987 until 1989 I was playing in a band called 'Blue Stories'. With this band I released two albums but we have not been successful at all. Two years later I met McCoy when we were drinking in a bar and I asked him if he wants to join my band because we were looking for a new drummer. So he did and for the next three years we had a heavy metal band together with another guy who never got into trance.

Marco: When I went to school I took drum lessons, but the problem was that at home my room was too small for a drum set and I had problems with the neighbors because it was very noisy when I practiced. So I decided to become a bass player and bought myself a bass guitar. When I was nineteen I heard from a band that was looking for a bass player who has a bass guitar. They had a bass player before but the guy didn't own a bass so I took his place. The drummer of this group was McCoy. Matthias and I met much later after they started to play together in another Metal band called 'Authority`.

Why the name S.U.N. Project?

Marco: S.U.N. Project means: S.tupid U.nrespactable N.oise ...
...just kidding...
It's just a nice and positive name, which you can keep easily in your mind. And anyway- everybody likes the sun...

How did you discover trance? What lead the decision to move from metal to trance? What did you find appealing in trance culture for you than?

Matthias: In 1992 McCoy and me went to Goa just for a holiday because a friend of us had a house down there. At that time we didn't know about trance parties. But one night somebody invited us to come to a party at Bamboo Forest, and when we arrived we couldn't believe what we saw and heard. Normally we hated electronic music but after one hour we found ourselves dancing in the middle of the crowd. All these positive vibes made us feel like we found what we've been looking for.

Did the change between such different kinds of music was also a change in life? In vibes?

McCoy: I think for sure! Before I came to Goa first, I hated nearly all kinds of electronic music. I hated synthesizers, drum-machines and everything not hand-played. Goa showed me a new/other way of partying- wild, warm and at always open air. The beautiful people from around the world made me think different about it, and took me away from being that narrow-minded.

Matthias: When you're travelling you normally get more tolerant toward other cultures, religions and kinds of music.

You are most famous for your live show- was it natural for you to play trance music live? Did you do it right from the start?

Marco: Since Antaro (Spirit Zone) made the first single with us, we were also thinking to make a live act. But it was the trance scene, and we had no idea how to make it. So we went to parties, to see how the others make live acts. Mostly we were a little bit disappointed with what we saw. It looked like our work in the studio: two or three guys with computers and a mixing-desk. But in the end it looked like they only push the start-button- that's all!

Matthias: Even that we knew that it's not possible to play all the synthesizers and sampler-noises live on stage, because that's technically not possible in such complex music as psytrance, we thought that this cannot be all, because from our rock and heavy metal bands we were used to real live shows with real live and hand-played instruments. So we came we decided to use the instruments that we always knew how to play- Guitar, drums and bass. We think this way to do it has the most live character!

What are the difficulties in playing trance live? How it is different than other music?

Matthias: When we play a live show we use a lot of sensitive electronic equipment so one of the biggest difficulties is to keep everything running without any drop-outs or crashes. We already had things like that happening to us, for example, only a little but important cable broke and we had a big sound problem. Sometimes people spread their drinks over our electronic devices and you can imagine what this can cause. And one time there was a crazy girl that started to unplug all my electronic connections that she could catch in the middle of our show, and I almost had to fight with her to make her stop! In the old days when we still played rock music we didn't use so much electronic equipment as now, so those problems didn't occur.

McCoy how the hell do you keep up with those BPMs?

McCoy: I think it's the adrenaline together with the crowd- I fuckin´ love to do it! But I must admit that sometimes it takes me up to two days to get away the muscle aching. It's one of the hardest jobs, but somebody has got to do it!

What is more difficult as a drummer- doing this or playing metal?

McCoy: To play heavy metal was more difficult- you use both hands and both feet, and also in that kind of music you have very strong beats (sometimes double bass drumming, and stuff like that...). With S.U.N. Project I don't use my feet anymore, because the kick-drum is played by the sequencer. So I only have to use my hands, and it is more or less like a free jam session. I can play whatever I want or feel in the moment. That´s another reason that no S.U.N. Project gig is like another). In the end for me it's more fun to play trance music than heavy metal!

You were among the first to use electric guitars regularly in your tracks, now it became almost a trend- do you feel there is still a place for innovation with guitars in trance, or it's all used up already?

Matthias: This is a good question because it really becomes more and more difficult to produce guitar tracks without repeating too much and you have to keep it interesting for trancers that know guitar-trance tracks from many artists already. On the other hand, I love to play guitar and anyway the audience expects a little bit guitar on every new album of S.U.N. Project. So I'm always working on good new licks that kick ass, and also I now try to find different new guitar sounds for the future. So there is still place for innovation with guitars but not as much as years ago.

Matthias, do you have thoughts about some psychedelic guitar playing and improvising on the tracks, something more like a Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple stuff, and not just using the guitar for power? Can it be done in trance?

Matthias: Yes I´m working on it. I only have to be careful because not everybody likes long guitar solos. In northern Europe for example, progressive trance becomes more and more popular and many of those listeners don´t want to hear too much of it. In other parts of the world like USA or Israel the audience still go crazy when I get ready to play the guitar, so I have to find a good compromise, sometimes.

Since the Drosophilia album that came out in 1997 you've released another 3 SUN Project albums, more side projects albums and a lot of tracks, that's quite a lot of music for 4 years, where's the inspiration for all that coming from?

McCoy: My ideas are like fish in a slowly flowing river. I just have to sit and catch some, if they're passing by. Sometimes I can't sleep, because I have bass lines or sequences in my brain. Anyway, it is like that- we always have music in our heads!

Matthias: We are 3 guys, so we can produce more tracks than a one-man-act. Each one of us only has to make three good tracks for a new S.U.N. Project album, but of course we also produce tracks together and not always each one for himself.

How would you define the development of your music along that time?

Marco: In the beginning our trance was more or less typical old school Goa-style because in those days we tried to copy what we heard on the party the night before. I say `more or less` because Antaro from Spirit Zone signed in us in 1996 because he said that we would sound different to the rest. Anyway we used guitars, which was something new in psytrance. The second album, `Macrophage`, was still quite melodic but after that we started to go a little bit more into the progressive direction, but not too much because it has to stay S.U.N. Project. For the real progressive tracks there are the side projects like Ouija and Slap.

Can you describe your work together, how are the tracks made, how does the work is divided between you three, who does what roughly?

McCoy: With S.U.N. Project everybody is doing nearly everything! Everyone of us has his own studio and can work absolutely independent. Each of us can play, program and mix the things together. But anyway, we like to work together and exchange our ideas. And as you can see at our track lists, some tracks are made by Marco + McCoy, some by Matthias + McCoy and some by Marco + Matthias. Some were made alone and some by all the three of us. Only the guitars are always played by Matthias.

Tell us about the new album- Paranormal.

Matthias: What can we say, it was a lot of hard work like always. We tried to produce music that we would like to hear when we are going on a party. This time it was hard to give the album a nice cover because we wanted it to look a little different than the ones before, just not so much typical colorful 'Goa-like' anymore because after some years you get a bit tired of that. We hope our fans and the rest of the world will like it. We are optimistic and the album had a good start already.

How are the responses from playing the new stuff live?

Marco: The responses have been fantastic, everywhere! The audiences like the new stuff the same as the old. It's just powerful and we are very satisfied with it. Only the problems with the police are annoying. This year they already stopped two of our shows.

How was the Neve Yam party here last week? Did you enjoy the Israeli crowd?

Matthias: It was the 13th concert that we played in Israel already and we always enjoy it, because the Israeli audience is warm and hot-blooded, the people not only take power from us, they give us a lot of power back, also. The Neve Yam party was organized very professionally, and that we also liked very much, the location was nice and nobody had to be afraid that police would come and stop it. I liked it when I started to play my guitar and they burned beautiful fireworks at the same time, that was something special!

What would you mention as your musical influences?

Matthias: Since I was a child I was listening to Pink Floyd, the late songs of the Beatles, the Doors, King Crimson and a lot of other psychedelic stuff. But also Sex Pistols, The Clash, and later before we went to Goa the first time, especially Metallica. These groups influenced me a lot.

McCoy: When I started to really listen to music (in the age of nine or ten) I started with The Beatles. Later, in the end of the 70s, I enjoyed also a lot of other (rock) music: Kiss- not only did I like their music, I also liked the masks and the blood- and fire-spitting! Jimi Hendrix- he was really the wildest one, and a genius of the guitar; Black Sabbath - they showed me that good music can also be very dark! Sweet- very powerful, but positive; Kraftwerk- the only electronic music that I liked at that time.

New music came with the 80s: The Police- Very interesting mix between punk and reggae. Till today Steward Copeland is my favorite drummer in the world. I love his unusual way of playing and improvising- very free (Our song "Copeland" on the "Macrophage" album is dedicated

to him).

At that time I also enjoyed from kind of gothic music- sometimes it was also very psychedelic:

The Cure, Joy Division, Alien Sex Fiend, Bauhaus and so on...

Later in the 80s the (rock) music became harder. I liked the power of Metallica and other heavy metal acts-strong music. But also the funky-style of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers I love until today.

Until the 90s I hated Bands like Depeche Mode, because I thought: "This is commercial synthesizer-shit !!!" (Today I like them also, I try not to be that narrow-minded anymore...). The first time I started to like electronic music was winter ´92-´93 in Goa. Up from that time I was more open to "other" (non-rock) music. From the 90s I like a lot of Daft Punk, Kruder and Dorfmeister and Madonna (Ray of Light album). I'm not influenced by any other electronic/tekno music- not at all!!! (maybe that's one reason that our sound is unique!)

What do you listen to in your free time, trance and other?

McCoy: First I have to say, that none of us has a lot of free time! If you have a studio, you have never-ending work. You can work fourteen hours a day, and it's never finished. And when a track is finished eventually, you directly start with the next one. But if I find the time to listen to music, I listen to rock music a lot, also to normal radio music and sometimes to classical. I know that Matthias also likes to listen to classical...

Matthias: Yes, for example I love 'Ein Requiem' from Mozart. Of course I'm listening to trance and also to regular charts' music. If you are a musician it's good to be open for different styles because you can learn from it.

Marco: Normally now I'm only listening to the radio, because the quality of the productions is the best and I want to achieve such a good sound standard.

Future plans? Any new directions?

Future plans? We don't plan so much! We'll just continue and go on, like we always did. We never think about what way we'll have to choose now, we never say we have to change to this or that direction. We just make our own music and in the end people will like it- or not! (Good for us, that normally they do...). It would be nice to get rich by making our favorite music but unfortunately this doesn't work until now… If every Israeli would buy our CDs it would help maybe (joking!)

When are we seeing you again here in Israel?

Marco: Probably in September we will come to Israel again and we are looking forward to it! But still we don't have exact details.

Well, it's been a pleasure, both to see you again playing live (I even enjoyed that set better than the one 2 years ago, and never thought that would be possible), and to interview you. See you again soon.

More on S.U.N. Project here: http://www.sun-project.de

 Interview by Shahar
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