Red Sun Rising vocalist/guitarist Mike Protich uses sweet clichés when he describes his band’s new album, Thread, which hit stores March 30.
“The record is kind of like a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you’re going to get.”
Thread is a title derived from the band’s refusal to be pigeonholed. In response to questions of what its music sounds like, the group coined the term “thread”—referring to the members “threading our influences together and utilizing them as best as our abilities,” according to Protich.
“Each song is different, and you can just already tell by the first two songs that we released,” he says. “They’re completely different in vibe and in sound, and we went through every song on the record that way. We really homed in on the identity of each song.”
The two tracks of which he speaks are “Deathwish” and “Fascination,” the latter of which is paired with a music video that utilizes footage from the famed 1902 Georges Méliès-directed silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune, generally known in America as A Trip to the Moon.
“That movie I saw when I was in high school in film class. For some reason I just remembered it and it popped up and I mentioned it at some point,” Protich explains.
His bandmates were familiar with the film, so they decided to do something with it.
“We never really knew what to use it for, and then when we decided to release ‘Fascination’ – not as a single but as kind of a fan track and just get it out there – we were like, ‘That would be so creepy and cool to put it to this old silent film.’”
Thread is a bit different from previous efforts. While Protich says their 2015 major label debut, Polyester Zeal, was primarily written by himself and guitarist Ryan Williams, they’re now a “more solid band.” Thread features more influence from bassist/vocalist Ricky Miller, guitarist/vocalist Dave McGarry and drummer Pat Gerasia, he says.
“Another big difference is we went for more of a raw sound,” he adds. “We really aimed to be more authentic to what we sounded like live on Thread.”
Protich says recent touring influenced the band’s approach to songwriting on Thread. The members thought about what it would be like to perform the songs in a live setting.
“We make music for people and we go out and we play them and we want to create those moments to connect with people,” he says. “That really influenced the songwriting for sure.”
The band has also learned a lot during its career, he says, having had the opportunity to record with producer Bob Marlette for Polyester Zeal. Marlette’s resume boasts such acts as Seether, Rob Zombie and Sebastian Bach.
“Ever since we started this band, I feel like we’ve been sponges and always try to learn something at every level,” he says. “That was our first time recording with a major producer – Bob Marlette – when we did Polyester Zeal. So, obviously we learned a ton of stuff just working with a producer at that level for the first time.”
This time, however, the band worked with Matt Hyde, who has produced for AFI, Deftones, Slayer and others. His resume was an initial selling point.
“They always had that raw sound, but it sounded huge. It sounded more lively,” Protich says of those artists. “That’s what we wanted on this record. So that’s why we went for him initially.”
He adds, “Once we got in there, we realized how passionate he was about music, which is the way we are. He was down to try anything and everything.”
Rather than dominating or forcing the band’s sound, though, Protich says Hyde helped the band achieve its vision.
“I think the biggest thing with Matt is he let us really come to conclusions on our own, and he wanted to make sure that we were comfortable. Sometimes that’s all a producer needs to be, is to make sure we’re confident,” he explains. “He would just make sure that it sonically sounded the best it could sound with the way we wanted it to be. And I think that’s why he’s a great producer.”
In support of the new project, the band is gearing up to return to the state for two shows. The first will be at Club XS in Tucson on Thursday, April 5. The following day, Red Sun Rising will stop at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale. Protich is excited for the tour.
“We’re known to change up the setlist a lot and to add extended versions of songs live and jam on some stuff, so we’re looking forward to that,” he says. “And now we have two records to choose from, so we’re going to be swapping songs in and out and trying stuff out and seeing what feels good. That’s what’s exciting to me, is just having all these possibilities of songs that we can play now.”
Red Sun Rising w/Exit Drream, Pyrotechnica, Club XS, 5851 E. Speedway Boulevard, Tucson, 520.885.3030, ClubXSConcerts.com, 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, $15.50-$19.
Red Sun Rising w/Them Evils, El West, Pub Rock Live, 8005 E. Roosevelt Street, Scottsdale, 480.945.4985, PubRockLive.com, 8 p.m. Friday, April 6, $15.50-$18.