Lunar is a Sacramento Progressive Rock/Progressive Metal duo that showcases so much talent and potential between just two guys (and the occasional guest spot.) Having reached out to me and discovering this amazing debut album Theogony, out now through Divebomb Records; I had the chance to be able to talk to Alex Bosson (Also of the band, Helion Prime) a few questions about this new musical endeavor. Check it out!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview! For those that may be new to the band. Describe Lunar.
I’d say we’re somewhere between progressive rock and progressive metal. I think you’ll hear a lot of diversity in the sound and influences from song to song, but the biggest influences are probably Opeth, Tool and Porcupine Tree. We’re a studio project and the core “band” is myself and Ryan Erwin. We handled all the songwriting and lyric writing and then all the other parts were outsourced to guest musicians. Think similar to what Ayreon does on an album, but a little different.
Just a little under a month ago, you released your debut album, Theogony, through Divebomb Records. How has the reception been to the album since it’s release?
The reception has been overwhelmingly positive for me! Better than I ever expected. I’ve heard some feedback from fans that has all been really positive. One fan called it a masterpiece, which is huge for me. The reviews of the album I’ve read are better than I ever could have imagined. And the album even made Prog Sphere’s list of Best Albums of 2017, which I’m really proud of.
How did it feel to finally be able to write, record and release your first album as Lunar?
It feels amazing! The positive reception definitely helps with that great feeling… haha! But really, it’s just a huge personal accomplishment for me. I spent so much of my time, money and effort working on this album to make it what it became. It was frustrating at times, and at other times some of the most fun I’ve had in my life! The album took me almost 3 years to finish, which is a really long time, but it was totally worth it. I’m really proud of the final product and happy to have it out!
Lunar covers so much ground in what I love about progressive music. From the song structures to the influences to the musicianship. Was this always the mentality of the band or did it flourish into this since
I think it was always the mentality of what I had in mind for the music. Progressive rock and metal is the kind of music that I personally love the most, so it makes sense that it would turn out that way. But I don’t really set out to structure a song any particular way for the most part. It’s more of just starting with a riff or idea and letting the song build naturally from there into what feels appropriate.
What would you say is the biggest change in the band since 2014’s debut EP, Provenance?
So much has changed since then it’s hard to say what the biggest change is. The songwriting I think is a big one. With the EP everything was handled by Ryan, myself and our former keyboardist. But with this album I dropped the mentality of needing a “band” so to speak and was willing to outsource whatever was necessary to ensure the music came out exactly as I wanted and the best it could possibly be. Having that restriction lifted and getting all the guest musicians I think opened the door to allow the album to flourish much more than it would have had Ryan and I tried to handle every part ourselves as we did with “Provenance”.
Theogony features quite a number of guest spots. How did you guys land everyone to lend a hand on this
Well many of them are people that I know personally. Ryan Price who played bass and Brian Lewis who did the growl vocals are good friends of mine. The female vocals were done by my wife. And a few of the guest guitar solos were friends of mine as well. But many of them were just people who I knew of and was a fan of, but didn’t know personally. Lucky for me we live in an age where you can easily reach out to anyone around the world. So really that’s all I did. I reached out to these guys by email or through social media and told them about the project and asked them to contribute. Personally, I think it’s pretty rad the way it worked out! And we’re also in an age where so many musicians have their own recording set up, so that made it pretty easy as well. I’d send them the tracks and explain a rough idea of what I wanted them to do and over what part and then I’d just let them do their thing. They’d record their part in their home studios and then send me the track of what they did. Really one of the toughest parts was figuring out who I could reach out to who’s playing style was gonna fit well with each specific part. But honestly, there’s not a single guest appearance on the album that I’m unhappy with. They all did an incredible job!
What kind of drum setup do you use with Lunar?
I use Tama drums exclusively. For “Theogony” I used my Starclassic Performer solid birch kit. It’s a 22 inch kick (with Speed Cobra double pedal), 8, 10 and 12 rack toms and 16 inch floor tom. And on that recording a used a Tama SLP 7x13 maple snare drum. I use the Tama Star hardware and can’t endorse that enough! It is the most durable and adjustable hardware I’ve ever seen and every drummer should be using it! I use Zildjian cymbals. Mostly K Custom’s and A Custom’s with a few others in there (too many to list every single one…. The readers would get bored… haha!). And I use Pro Mark sticks.
If this is what you guys are capable with your debut album, what should people expect for the next release?
God, that’s such a tough question to answer… I honestly didn’t even really know I was capable of doing what I did with “Theogony”. It just kind of naturally progressed over time into what it became. So, the simple answer is that hopefully I’ll be capable of doing more with future releases. Hopefully the songs will speak to people musically and lyrically. I hope to step up the diversity and keep things fresh. I don’t ever just want to make the same record over and over again. Hopefully the musicianship will continue to improve, as every musician should aspire to improve, no matter what stage they’re at, in my opinion. And hopefully we’ll get some other cool guest musicians on the next record! I know there are plenty of people out there that I admire that I’d be thrilled to get to contribute on the next release. Really, as long as we continue to make the music that’s true to who we are and if people keep enjoying it, there’s really nothing more I could ask for.
What is next for Lunar?
It was such a long road to get to where we are now, that we’re just kind of riding the wave of the current release. We don’t have anything specific set in stone for the future. There will definitely be a Lunar album #2. Somewhere within the chaos of everything I’m doing, Ryan and I plan to start writing the next album sometime in 2018. That’s about all I can say for now. But it will come, so stay tuned!
You also play in the awesome band Helion Prime. What is it like to be able to show off your creativity between two quite different bands?
It’s really cool! I love being able to do both bands. They’re very different experiences for me. Lunar is like my baby… my brain child. I pour my heart and soul into it and really put myself out there. For “Theogony” I acted as kind of a director of sorts in arranging the music and writing most of the lyrics and finding all the guest musicians and directing them on who was to play on what parts and deciding what each song / part needed. With Helion Prime I don’t do that. HP is a full band and I’m just the drummer. Obviously I can still have my creative input on things (especially with the drum parts), but I don’t make the final calls of song structures and themes in HP as I do for Lunar. So I get to kind of focus on different aspects of creativity with both groups. And with HP I get to play live and tour, which I don’t with Lunar. And the 2 bands are also pretty different in style. While they both have progressive elements to them, HP is a power metal band and so my playing style is a bit different with them from what I do with Lunar.
In speaking of Helion Prime, what is next for you guys?
Well I just finished tracking drums for the second HP album. The material is really cool and I can’t wait til we get to show it to the world! The album should be out sometime in the spring or summer of 2018, I believe. We’ll be shooting a couple music videos for some of the new songs here in the next few months, which should be a lot of fun! And, I can’t talk details yet, but we have some stuff in the works for some touring in 2018 as well. Stay tuned for the details, but we’ll definitely be hitting the road in 2018 for sure!
What are you currently listening to?
Well my favorites stay on rotation for me almost daily. I’m always throwing in stuff like Opeth, Tool, Porcupine Tree, Katatonia and Haken. But as for some of the newer releases of 2017; my favorite album of this year, without a doubt has been “To The Bone” by Steven Wilson. Absolutely brilliant album! I love the new Ayreon album, “The Source.” The new Ne Obliviscaris album “Urn” is pretty great. I’m digging “In Becoming A Ghost,” the newest album from The Faceless. And I recently discovered Lunatic Soul and picked up their newest record “Fractured” and I’m in love with it! That is actually, quite literally, what I’m listening to right now as I do this interview. Oh, and I’m thrilled to get a new track from A Perfect Circle this year after such a long wait! I can’t wait to hear the album they put out to go with that new song!
What do you like to do when you are not focused on Music?
Honestly, so much of my life is focused on music in one form or another, there’s almost nothing I do that isn’t music related. I work at a music store as my 9 to 5 job. And when I’m not there I’m almost always working on something that’s music related, whether it be for Lunar or Helion Prime, or something else. Really the only thing I ever do that’s not music related is watching TV and movies. I love the Marvel comics movies and shows! I just finished watching The Punisher on Netflix and I loved it!!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. I really enjoy what you have done with Lunar and really looking forward to everything you have in store in the future. Before we are done is there anything else you would like to mention that I haven’t brought up yet?
I think you did a great job of covering all bases. I can’t think of anything you missed. Thanks for doing this interview with me! And thanks for the interesting and unique questions. Also want to make it a point to say thanks to all the fans for taking the time to read this and anyone who’s picked up “Theogony.” And anyone who wants to check it out you can snag a copy at lunarbandofficial.bandcamp.com or from Divebomb Records.
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.