“We don’t want to just put generic lyrics out there,” Ohio rocker and frontman Mike Protich for Red Sun Rising explained, “We really take the time to make sure it means something to us. And that can come from anything, but it is mostly just everyday life and the way we feel about things.” The band’s sophomore release, entitled ‘Thread‘, is a personal offering and one that won’t be confined within genre lines. “We don’t write for a genre, we just write songs that we love and sometimes it comes out really heavy. Sometimes its a light sounding song.” Mike disclosed.
During our conversation Protich revealed how this album was one that solidified Red Sun Rising as a group and is scored with inflections from their experiences. It was a creative endeavor that reveals the evolution of a band branded by originality, who started playing with the goal of being the biggest in Northeast Ohio and has landed them at the top of the Rock charts nationally.
The Feature Story: As a band, you have been making and performing music together for years. But for the sake of anyone new to your music, let’s start with your story. Can you give us some background on the band, (i.e. how the group was formed, summary of your history)?
Mike Protich: We started back in 2007. Ryan, the guitar player and myself started it in Akron, Ohio. We didn’t start playing out til 2009. We wrote music and kind of jammed with buddies for a couple of years. Then we just focused on being the biggest band in Northeast Ohio and when we accomplished that, we started to stand out and do some regional tours on our own. Then got signed and here we are.
TFS: “Thread” is your sophomore release, but you said it wasn’t til the making of this album that you felt Red Sun Rising really became a band. What is it about this album that unified you as a band and sets it apart?
MP: The first record was basically Ryan and myself writing and recording everything with a couple of studio guys. We basically wrote everything. So, even though we’ve had this band touring with us on the first record, we did 180 some shows on that record, we didn’t really become a band until we got into the studio together and for the first time being creative together, not just playing songs that were already written. We got the influence of everyone in the band throwing in their ideas and that’s where we started to connect and find everybody’s own role and their strengths and what they bring to the band. That’s why I feel like it really made us a band, because that was the first time we got to have that experience together. It really brought the band closer and made us better as a band, as far as the way we gel on stage. We all evolved as songwriters throughout that process.
TFS: Would you consider this album more of thematic album or just a collection of songs that really resonated with the band?
MP: Each song has its own identity for sure. That goes with our “Thread” mentality that we’re always talking about. We don’t write for a genre, we just write songs that we love and sometimes it comes out really heavy. Sometimes its a light sounding song. From song to song you can definitely hear each has its own identity and type of sound. Overall I think that what is great about the album, is that not every single song sounds the same and they all have their own identity.
TFS: What is your writing process like? Is it collaborative or independent?
MP: We tried the collaborative effort and honestly it doesn’t work. We tried to all write at one time together in a room and there’s just too many band members giving ideas and it is actually counter intuitive to getting anything done. I think the process still has been Ryan or myself coming with an almost finished song, or a pretty far along idea and then the band can add their input. Then we figure out the final version from there. But if there is not some kind of structure, than its chaos.
TFS: What continues to motivate and inspire you to generate new music?
MP: Everyday life. On this album I feel like even more so we dove into very personal lyrics and talking about deeper things in our own life. We look everywhere for information but, whenever we write a song, we want it to either tell a story that is real and actually from myself or one of the other band members, or that we all believe in. We don’t want to just put generic lyrics out there. We really take the time to make sure it means something to us. And that can come from anything, but it is mostly just everyday life and the way we feel about things.
TFS: You are on the road again to touring with this new music. What have you planned for this tour?
MP: We are excited to be out there and play some new songs, so they are definitely hearing some new songs. That’s exciting for the fans hopefully and for ourselves as well. We have been playing our first record for over two years now, so you’re gonna definitely hear a lot of new stuff. We are also going to probably change up some of the older songs we’ve been playing for awhile. It gives them a new spin and fresh sound. We’ve tried some different stuff out, we’ve added a couple different instruments to the live set, so it will be different there. It’s going to be a fun tour, for sure!
TFS: You’ve played hundreds of shows in the last several years. What are some of your favorite songs to play and perform live?
MP: In the past I’d say ‘Emotionless’ has always been a great song to play live. Not only because it’s dynamic and sonically has an awesome build throughout the song, which is just great for the live setting, but also the crowd. It was one of our bigger songs. Every crowd that we play, at least knows that. There’s always that energy of people singing that one. That’s definitely always been a favorite. There’s a song called ‘Invitation’ that we always play. It was never a radio single but everyone knows it because we always play it live and it’s got a lot of energy. That one is always a really fun one for us. The band switches instruments during that song, which is really fun for us. As far as the new songs, we haven’t played that many yet, which is cool. ‘Death Wish’, the first time it released, we played it a handful of times and it’s gone over really well and is fun to play. A song called ‘Fascination’ which is super vibey, it’s like one of the most vibey songs we’ve ever had and that’s fun for us too, to get immersed in the music and vibe out on that.
TFS: What are some of your guilty pleasure or must have survival items to take with you on the road for long tours?
MP: Ooo, I’d say baby wipes. The band always has baby wipes. A good baby wipe can do a lot for you, in a lot of different ways.
TFS: Red Sun Rising really models originality and not conforming to a genre or mold to find success. What advice would you give other bands and musicians in not compromising in finding their own unique brand and sound?
MP: I think it was just being true to ourselves and especially the further along you get in the industry and making more of a career. You have so many different people telling you what works and what doesn’t work and what you should do to make something work. Ryan and I especially, we always took advise. It’s not like we turned people away that were trying to give us advice, but I think we took advice from everywhere and filtered it to be like, what do we want to do. Of all this advise, what sounds right to us. I think that staying true to yourself will always win.