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Burnt By the Sun with Dave Witte

Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the writing of Heart of Darkness?

The dark side of human nature that is inside everyone, either on the surface or deep down inside, everyone has one. Take us for example we are all happy people in our lives, but when we join together for BBTS. The anger just seems to pour out.  Mike writes all the lyrics so there are some personal issues as well, he really purged himself on this record. The record is heavily influenced by the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad I should add.

You are just about to release Heart of Darkness, how has the reactions been thus far from media? What can fans expect when they pick up a copy?

The reaction has been great and very positive. I’m glad to see people still support what we are about. People can expect the most savage record we’ve done together, we are proud of it.

When it came to releasing Heart of Darkness how did that whole package come together? What was the recording process like, how long did you have, was there any pressure on you?

We tracked all the music at Trax East in NJ & the vocals were done in Mike’s house where he could capture his emotions in the most comfortable spot possible.  We mixed the record at Trax East (with Eric Rachel, he did an amazing job!) And mastered it at West West Side Music in NJ. There was not much pressure so the recording wasn’t forced at all and did not suffer.  We did it within two weeks of studio time and Eric did some extra work mixing it here and there.

Who did the artwork and title for the album, when you look on the final project, is there anything you wish you could have done differently?

I actually forgot who came up with the title, I think it was Mike.  I love it, I wanted a savage angry record and that title was perfect!
Orion at Relapse did the artwork. We love the cover as the wolf represents many things such as grace, beauty, savagery and strength. There were some misprints on the record and some of the bonus DVD is missing from the first pressing, so we hope to have those fixed for the second run. Other than that we are pretty happy with the end result, its a great sonic illustration of where were as humans and a band.

Many of your songs are so hard and intense that they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?

I really don’t think of that before hand, we always write for ourselves and not the crowd. These songs do take on a whole other life live, we pour ourselves out while playing them, I hit as hard as I can at points to capture dynamic and create part of the force that we channel through our music.  Its very emotionally heavy and quite a release for us, and we are way heavier live than on record I think.

Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?

For this record John and I would write most of the material and then bounce it off Ted and Mike. Mike contributed an amazing riff and some soundscape material on Rust and Ted is responsible for making you feel the songs with his bass and also very helpful with suggestions during arrangement time. Mike also wrote all the lyrics, he writes to the music mostly and we’ll alter the structure if he needs more or less room for vocals.

What are the upcoming plans for Burnt By The Sun?

A European tour which is our first time ever in October, scattered shows in the US and not much else really. This is our last record together so we weren’t really thinking about the future too far after it.

How do you think the 3 or so year hiatus helped and hurt the growth of Burnt By The Sun?

Honestly we got back to do this record out of love and the need to create without expectation. It was never thought of in any other way than that, so the hiatus wasn’t really important to us. We thought we were done actually and then we were inspired to continue by the song Goliath that John wrote. I’m glad it happened and we are only proud that we accomplished the short term goal of making this record.

How was it writing a new Burnt By The Sun record for the first time in nearly 6 years (1 small split not included)? Did it feel like home, or was it hard to start back up?

It felt great and totally natural when we started writing again, the chemistry is a huge part of what makes this band what it is.

How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?

You can reach way more people with myspace and the internet.  More people will listen that normally wouldn’t. As an avid music fan, I have found a lot of music that I may not have ever heard about due to the internet.  Usually ill go and get the record if I like it that much.  I still love going to the store to buy, I like owning the actual release.

What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?

To not overplay and take away from the song, its a group effort and not a solo.  Be creative but also tasteful.

What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far? Any particular reason?

I love KEELHAUL and would play with them any day.  My favorite tour is unrelated to BBTS. I toured with At The Gates on their reunion tour and it was amazing to see them play every night as they are one of my favorite bands ever.

Describe Burnt By The Sun in three words.

Savage, intelligent & heartfelt.

If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?

To abolish slavery and all forms of discrimination.

How do you think the recession is affecting musicians like yourself? Is it at all?

People are much more selective these days about what they want to support and go see live, but the entertainment business itself is a form of release for people so it isn’t as effected as other business’ in my eyes, especially if your band is creative and makes people want to come back.

Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?

Everyone has quite a long and open listening range. We are influenced by al forms of music and everyday things. If I were to say a band that has done a lot for all of us individually, it would have to be Slayer.

All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?

You just have to be prepared and take care of yourself and body. Its very important to get enough rest and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and be in good spirits to give your best performance. Everyone has own ways, but I think this is sound advice and works for me.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for your support! An open mind goes a long way.


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