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Unveiling “Manifesto”: An Exclusive Interview with Sunburst on Their Evolution, Inspirations, and Creative Process

Sunburst Band members

At LotsOfMuzik, we’re always thrilled to dive deep into the creative minds behind the music that moves us. Recently, we had the extraordinary opportunity to sit down with the talented members of Sunburst as they prepare to unveil their highly anticipated new album, “Manifesto.” Known for their captivating blend of progressive metal, Sunburst has continued to evolve since the success of their previous release, “Fragments of Creation.”

In this exclusive interview, Gus, Vasilis, Kostas, and Nick share insights into their creative process, the challenges they faced, and the inspirations that shaped “Manifesto.” From intricate orchestral arrangements to the raw intensity of tracks like “Samaritan” and “Inimicus Intus,” the band offers a glimpse into their artistic journey and the meticulous effort behind each song.

Join us as we explore the themes, messages, and musical evolution of Sunburst, and get a first look at what promises to be one of the most exciting releases in the progressive metal scene this year. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to their sound, this interview is a must-read for anyone eager to understand the heart and soul of “Manifesto.”

LotsOfMuzik: Congratulations on the upcoming release of “Manifesto”! How does it feel to finally share this album with the world?

Gus: Thank you so much. It feels absolutely great. We put to much effort in it and it’s finally time to share it with the world.

LotsOfMuzik: “Fragments of Creation” received acclaim upon its release. How do you feel Sunburst has evolved musically and personally since then?

Gus: I totally think we have evovled a lot both personally and musically. These two are tied in my opinion. If you evolve as a person your music will evolve with you. If you stay the same I don’t see the way that your music will do.

We tried to do everything better this time in every step. Better songwriting, better performances, better production and better sound. And I think we managed to succeed on that.

LotsOfMuzik: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the title “Manifesto”? What message or theme does it convey?

Gus: “Manifesto” represents everything that this album is about for us. Musically, lyrically, everything that we stand for. Our work through these years.

We had various titles that were brought up to be the title of the album. But when “Manifesto” came up it was immediately obvious by everyone that this is the title of the album.

LotsOfMuzik: You mentioned that the new album is more progressive, heavy, complex, and melodic. What influenced this change in your musical direction?

Gus: I mean, we were already Progressive in “Fragments Of Creation”, we just enhanced this side of us.

After we finished the songwriting for our first album and playing shows for it we “chose” our favorite ingredients of it and we decided to build on these and add new ingredients through experimentation, which is something that we really like doing.

LotsOfMuzik: How has the feedback from fans and media for “Fragments of Creation” influenced your approach to writing and recording “Manifesto”?

Gus: Like I said before we picked our favorite ingredients from our previous album and build on them. Luckily, the feedback from the fans was the same. The fans liked pretty much the same ingredients with us. I don’t know what we would do if we had different reactions from the fans, but we are happy that we “agreed” on that.

LotsOfMuzik: Can you describe the creative process behind standout tracks like “The Flood,” “Hollow Lies,” and “Nocturne” that feature orchestral arrangements?

Gus: Absolutely. As with every song we write the music first. I come up with most of the music and then Vasilis works on the vocal lines and lyrics.

Once the song is done, even with our ideas on keyboards we send the track to our friend John Koutselinis and we start working back and forth on the orchestral arrangement.

I don’t know how easy it sounds but adding orchestras to a song is extremely demanding cause both the band and the orchestra have to work perfectly together.

LotsOfMuzik: The track “Samaritan” stands out for its intensity and emotional depth. What inspired this song?

Gus: Thank you very much! It’s one of my favourite songs in the album. As with every song of the album it just comes out naturally when I practice usually. The first thing that was composed was the opening riff and then the song naturally progressed until the second chorus where I decided that this one needed a bit of a more technical/proggy part and I came up with what you can hear in the chorus.

LotsOfMuzik: The song “Inimicus Intus” seems to explore darker themes. What inspired this track, and how does it fit within the overall narrative of the album?

Gus: Musically I believe it totally fits in the whole picture of the album. Something that we wanted to have in this album is variety. It was a big deal for us. Both musically and lyrically. And I totally believe with songs like Inimicus , we succeed on it.

LotsOfMuzik: Which song on “Manifesto” are you most excited for fans to hear, and why?

Gus: I am honestly excited for the fans to hear the whole album. It’s a complete picture and each song serves a purpose. Now if I had to pick some songs I would say the longer ones and the ones with the Orchestral arrangements would be my picks. “The Flood” , “Manifesto”,  and “Nocturne”.

SUBURST

LotsOfMuzik: Vasilis, your vocals are a defining element of Sunburst’s sound. How do you prepare and maintain your voice for the demands of recording and performing?

Vasilis: As every singer I have a bunch of habits that I usually do before performing. First of I hydrate myself with lots of fluids and mostly water, I don’t touch food at least five hours before start singing. I try as possible as it can to be calm and relaxed and of course I warm up my voice at least 20-30 minutes before every performance. Regarding the maintenance of my voice I really don’t do much except that I am not smoking, to be honest I never had and that’s all.

LotsOfMuzik: Kostas and Nick, as the rhythm section, how do you approach finding the balance between driving the songs forward and supporting the intricate arrangements?

Κostas: When we compose a song , initially we have the rhythm guitars where we write the grooves of the drums based on the riffs and during the process I’m thinking if I could play something more complex or leave the space that I imagine the voice will put melodies in so that it doesn’t cross over it’s other so to get the best possible result with the musicianship I want for the piece. Then the bass comes in and play with my grooves/fills and obviously with the guitar riffs and finally Vasilis can have a structure to work and compose at first the melodies and then the lyrics of each song !

Νick: My approach is always the same even if I compose a song or not ! I start with the harmony section which mainly is the arrangement from the guitars , and try to connect it with the groove section which is the play style of the drums ! So with the right amount of fills and the correct musical arrangement , I try to connect those two together, if I find some space for mini solos or something melodic I use it , but in the end of the day my goal is to preserve a safe space for the voice to do the main thing which is to take the song to the next level !

LotsOfMuzik: Gus, your guitar work is often praised for its technicality and emotion. How do you approach crafting guitar solos and riffs that serve the song while still showcasing your skill?

Gus: Thank you. I always approach things with what will serve the song best in mind. If it asks for something technical I will go for it. If it asks for something melodic and simple I will go for it. I try to keep a balance between the two.

LotsOfMuzik: How did working with Steve Lado as a producer, mixer, and master influence the final sound of the album?

Gus: Steve is amazing. He did an incredible work mixing and mastering the album and of course he made a huge impact in the sound of the album. He did justice on all songs and all the instruments making everything sound massive and crystal clear.

LotsOfMuzik: Bob Katsionis performs all keyboards on “Manifesto”. How did his involvement shape the album’s cinematic and orchestral elements?

Gus: We generally wanted to have cinematic and orchestral elements in the album. And since we knew John will do the orchestral arrangements for “The Flood”, “Hollow Lies” and “Nocturne” we went for similar vibes with Bobs keyboards.

But his contribution was way more than just playing the keyboards. Me and Bob actually preproduced and demoed the songs together and he had a lot of creative input in the album. He’s a great friend and our relationship extends beyond the professional.

LotsOfMuzik: John K contributed orchestral arrangements to several tracks. Can you describe the process of incorporating these orchestral parts into your music?

Gus: And here we have another brother of mine and another “outside member” of the band. John did an absolutely amazing job with the orchestras of the album. What we do is we finish the song both musically and lyrically and send it to him with some keyboards so that he can have an idea of where we are going harmonically. Then he creates the orchestras and we have some back n forth until we have the final version of the song.

He definitely took the songs to a different dimension.

LotsOfMuzik: The artwork for “Manifesto” was created by Vasilis Georgiou. How does the visual art complement the music and themes of the album?

Gus: Vasilis is a great artist and since he is the lyricist of the band, he knows exactly what the songs are talking about. He created this unbelievable cover which does something really difficult, it represents perfectly the music and lyrics of the album.

LotsOfMuzik: You’ve toured extensively in Greece and Europe. How have your live performances influenced the songwriting and production of “Manifesto”?

Gus: When we finished the songwriting process of “Fragments of Creation” we already had some of the elements that we wanted to keep and evolve. Thankfully, when we played shows we realised that these elements align with what the fans enjoyed most in our music. So we kept these elements, evolved them and add new ones.

LotsOfMuzik: Can you describe a particularly memorable moment from the recording sessions of “Manifesto”?

 Gus: I remember the attention to detail we gave with Nick when we were recording the rhythm guitars. It was so much work and so much detail, but in the end its so satisfying to listen to the final result.

LotsOfMuzik: What challenges did you face during the creation of this album, and how did you overcome them?

Gus: The biggest one was the pandemic for sure.

Kostas recorded his drum parts during the pandemic and the rest of us couldn’t be present. He did an amazing job nonetheless.

I recorded some of the guitars during the pandemic and I did this with Nick in his studio which is in a different cityand I had to travel under weird conditions. But whatever happened we faced it and here we are, releasing the album.

LotsOfMuzik: Sunburst has been associated with progressive metal giants like Dream Theater and Symphony X. How do you feel about these comparisons, and do you see them as influences or challenges to differentiate your sound?

Gus: It’s definitely an honour being compared with the giants of the genre and some of your favourite bands.

We see them as both. We are influenced by various things but we never try to sound like our influences. We only try to sound like ourselves.

LotsOfMuzik: I’ve seen “Manifesto” featured for preorder on several music outlets but also some Christian music outlets. Do any of the band members identify as Christian, and if so, how does faith influence your music and lyrics?

Gus: Sunburst is not a Christian or religious band. Our lyrics sometimes touch subjects related to religion, but they are mostly about personal struggles, societal problems, modern world and even social media “celebrities” and all this pretty much fake world a lot of people live in.

LotsOfMuzik: What do you hope listeners take away from “Manifesto”?

Gus: I hope they connect deeply with the music and the lyrics and they love the album.

LotsOfMuzik: Are you guys touring to promote the new album, if so, when can we expect that to happen?

Gus: We will try to play as many shows as possible yes. The shows will be announced as they come.

LotsOfMuzik: Thank you for your time, and I hope to see you on the road soon,

Gus: Thank you for having me. See you soon on the road.

Order your copy of the album HERE

Sunburst Album Cover

Tracklisting
01. The Flood
02. Hollow Lies
03. Samaritan
04. Perpetual Descent
05. Inimicus Intus
06. From the Cradle to the Grave
07. Manifesto
08. Nocturne

2024: Manifesto (Inner Wound Recordings)
2016: Fragments of Creation (Inner Wound Recordings)
 
Label info
Inner Wound Recordings
 
Sunburst online
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sunburstofficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunburstofficial

Inner Wound Recordings contact
Website: www.innerwound.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/innerwoundrecordings

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