Thrown to the Sun’s brand of progressive death metal instantly caught my attention, with the band’s debut full length album Of Oceans and Raindrops displaying infusion of nice melodies without compromising the technicality. Being one of the first bands out of Turkey that I encounter also piqued my interest in the band. We talk to guitarist Ahmet to find out more about the history of the band, and the creative process behind the writing of the album.
HMT: Greetings Thrown to the Sun! The band was formed in 2010, with numerous members who are also involved in thrash band The Blame. How did the formation of the band and the current lineup come about?
Ahmet: Thrown to the Sun was formed in Istanbul, Turkey, by myself on guitar and Batuhan on drums. I was thinking of forming a band for some time and after meeting Batuhan and realizing that he is the perfect fit, Thrown to the Sun was formed. We found our vocalist Enver with the help of a musicians poll on my website, www.pasifagresif.com and after that, our friends Bahadir and Onur from the thrash metal band the Blame joined the fold.
When the band was formed, what was the reason behind choosing to play progressive death metal, seeing that members who are also in The Blame play a genre that is pretty different?
Ahmet: I was aiming to form a band and play progressive death metal, due to the fact that it has almost no boundaries in terms of things you can use to enrich your music. Some of the songs were already written when the band was formed, and the best part is the guys from the Blame were amazingly quick to adapt to Thrown to the Sun’s style. In fact, they came up with some songs like The Crumbling and Afterglow which shows that they are more than capable to write anything, regardless of genre or musical style. So it was a smooth transition for them and we are working as a whole unit right now, writing material for our next album.
What about the band name? How did Thrown to the Sun come about, and what is the meaning and significance behind the name?
Ahmet: It was hard to decide really. We talked about hundreds of names for a long, long time and finally picked Thrown to the Sun. It has no concept behind it, but it is memorable and distinctive, so we decided on Thrown to the Sun.
The band released the debut album, Of Oceans and Raindrops last year, and the music presents a balance of progressive and melodic elements. Is the band satisfied with the final results of the album?
Ahmet: The thing that we are most proud of about the album is the fact that everything about “Of Oceans and Raindrops” was done by us. The production, artwork, recording process, etc. So we are more than happy with the result. Of course there are things that could be better, but for a self release, we think it is a good one to start our career. Musically, it reflects a variety of genres. We didn’t wanna do something too technical that would make us lose the emotional side, so the main purpose was writing good songs with different characters. So yes, we use different doses of progressive and technical elements, without losing the melodic edge and emotion that we think makes it a more enjoyable listen.
With the heavy progressive elements that are present on the album, with odd time signatures and complex riffing patterns, what was the songwriting process like?
Ahmet: The writing process was full of surprises. At first, we were thinking of releasing a 3 song EP, including Ravenous Sun, Seized by Obscurity and Laceration, that were already written by me, even before I met Batuhan and form the band. After we became a complete band, we thought we should skip the EP and go for a full length, because we were writing really fast. I don’t wanna brag about it but we wrote Burning Circle, The Crumbling, The Ocean Beneath the Universe and Afterglow in two days, so it was logical to go for an actual album. Some songs were written from the scratch and some were based on some riffs and stuff that I’ve already written, some go way back to 2000-2001 actually. And as I’ve mentioned before, guys from the Blame were more than ready to write songs that would fit us perfectly, so we wrapped up the material really quick and hit the studio.
Which track, in particular, was more difficult for the band in terms of songwriting and execution? Why?
Ahmet: I think Evoker Part I: A Ground to Fall Upon took more time than the others. The intro was written long ago and we were talking about the best way to compose it. We didn’t wanna use some orchestral elements just for the sake of variety, so we tried lots of things to give a distinct character to the song. Also, Kaczynski was not the easiest song to compose either haha.
The lyrics on Of Oceans and Raindrops are also interesting, and are often deep, and range from the somewhat depressive to apocalyptic. Would it be possible to tell us the underlying concepts behind the song lyrics?
Ahmet: The album doesn’t have a lyrical concept. Some of the lyrics are about dystopias on different realms, some are more philosophical in some degree. Kaczynski is about Theodore Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber. Burning Circle is about a Neanderthal’s inner fears when witnessing a solar eclipse for the first time in his life. The Crumbling is a tribute to Chuck Schuldiner’s last masterpiece “The Sound of Perseverance”, telling a story from the point of view of one of the fellas that climb up that mountain on the album cover. Inward Reflection is about the suicide of a philosopher, and Seized by Obscurity is based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft.
How did the inspiration to write such lyrics come about, and how did interests in such topics come about?
Ahmet: We thought, if we intend to write songs that are different from each other musically, the lyrics should be characteristic too. So we picked up different concepts that we find interesting, and applied them to the songs. Therefore, a song like Inward Reflection has a really minimal concept like the inner struggles of a single person, where The Ocean Beneath the Universe is about, well, an ocean beneath the damn universe haha.
The album was also released digitally, available for download on the band’s website. What was the reason behind this, and will the band ever release a physical version of the album?
Ahmet: In this day and age where even the biggest bands complain about the album sales, we had no other option than releasing it digitally where the main purpose is to spread our name as much as we can. And it worked just perfectly. Even if we had released it physically, the album would be on internet in a matter of days anyway, so we picked the fastest way to release it and started to establish a fanbase. I’m not sure if there will be a physical version of “Of Oceans and Raindrops”, but we want to release our sophomore album under a label for sure.
Of Oceans and Raindrops has certainly set the bar high for the band’s future releases. How will the band progress in the writing of future new material?
Ahmet: “Of Oceans and Raindrops” is well received in our home country, even praised by some critics as the best metal album that was released in the Turkish metal scene for quite some time. Keeping that in mind, we are determined to create an album that will top “Of Oceans and Raindrops” and will show that we are here to stay for some time. We started writing new music the day we released our debut, so lots of new songs are shaping up real nicely. New material is more progressive, diverse, layered and maybe a tad sophisticated than the previous material, but I can assure you that if you liked what you’ve heard on “Of Oceans and Raindrops”, you are gonna like the new material.
With the release of “Of Oceans and Raindrops”, what are the band’s near future plan?
Ahmet: We have upcoming shows in the following months. We hope that we are gonna play live on a regular basis, also some tours are in talks. “Of Oceans and Raindrops” was released on November, but our promotion process is still going on. Lots of new people are finding out about us, and we are really happy about how everything is shaping up quite nicely. We also continue writing new material and we are trying to find a label for our next album. We learned a lot from “Of Oceans and Raindrops”, and we are gonna use that experience and knowledge to better ourselves in our future endeavors. You can download our album for free from www.throwntothesun.com – throwntothesun.bandcamp.com – www.facebook.com/throwntothesun
Album Review: Thrown to the Sun – Of Oceans and Raindrops