Shattered Sun will ravage the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Tour this year, playing alongside Slayer, Hellyeah, King Diamond, The Devil Wears Prada, White Chapel, Kissing Candace and a slew of other bands to rock out to. Playing June 11th at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI, keep a listen out for tracks from Shattered Sun's new release Hope Within Hatred. Kick up your hooves, throw up your horns, and stomp along to the rock rhythm that explodes into gleaming metal.
Author Marisa Williams: What do you consider to be your hometown, is that where you live now, and if you were a tourist in your hometown, what would be worth seeing?
Jessie Santos of Shattered Sun: I was born in Texas, part of the area of Corpus Christi, about a half-hour away. I consider that home, but I live in Portland now. There's an old WWII battleship that is cool to see in Portland, that and the beaches, of course.
Marisa: How did you get started in music? Did you come from a musical family? What were your early musical influences?
Shattered Sun: My dad got me a guitar when I was 10-years-old, but I didn't take it seriously and put in the effort to do it. When I turned 14, I took it seriously. I got an electric guitar, all black with mock-ups. My main influence back then was Metallica, as well as new metal, like Slipknot, Fear Factory, things like that.
Marisa: What was your first concert that you attended, and how did that compare to the first concert that you played?
Shattered Sun: The first concert was when Mudvayne released their second album. They were touring with In Flames. I remember seeing them. I'm a huge fan of Suicidal. That put me on the path to like more. It was exciting to see them. Compared to the first time I played on stage: when we first came out, we were not that big, but it was pretty cool to make the transition from watching people play on stage to being on the stage.
Marisa: What was the first album you purchased?
Shattered Sun: Listened to it earlier today, Morbid Angle's “Domination.” My mom had finally gave me a twenty to buy something, and I bought the first album I saw. I still have it.
Marisa: How do you go about writing music? What comes first for you: drums, guitars, vocals or something else? Has the process of writing changed for you over the years at all?
Shattered Sun: Let's see. I didn't really start writing 'til I was about 20. Before then, I played songs I would want to learn. It started that I would write a guitar riff, build everything on top of that, but nowadays, I don't really have a set method. Sometimes, I write lyrics from my head, then build a chord or a pattern. Ideas and songs come more naturally now. I don't have to rely on guitar riffs to make a song out of something.
Marisa: What is your favorite musical technique?
Shattered Sun: I was listening to this composer Orlandus Lassus. All of his music is really choir chamber music, and it's really nice. He layers voices in different ways to sound big and grand. I have always wanted to recreate that, but haven't done it yet, a big lyric, vocals making a giant soundscape.
Marisa: What's the coolest musical technique in your latest project, or what is something people might not expect?
Shattered Sun: The use of clean singing. I'm doing a lot more clean singing, as opposed to harsh. I'm trying to do that a lot more. As opposed to just screaming, blend both styles into one, like Opeth. I'm a huge Opeth fan. I like their songs, but... I want to follow their footsteps, but make my own path at the same time.
Marisa: What is the scariest thing about being on the road?
Shattered Sun: I would say the uncertainty of showering that day. Especially on a festival tour, being outside all day. I'm not sure how it will be. I'm weary, but I'm bringing lots of deodorant and hair ties. That's the worst feeling ever. That, and not being able to find my hair brush.
Marisa: Best or worst tour moment?
Shattered Sun: I'll have to say we were in Huntington, NY. It was a really nice day. Me and Daniel, our other guitarist, went around the neighborhood. We got to hang out with the guys from Exodus, and Steve Digiorgio, who is bassist for Testament. I'm a big fan of his bass technique, and I was able to have a good conversation with him. That was bad ass. It put things in perspective for me. That was a really good day.
Marisa: What's your favorite way to travel and why?
Shattered Sun: On the road. I'm not a fan of flying. I went on a plane; the last time was about three years ago to record music. The way we did it, we found the most cost-effective way to Canada. It wound up being a three- or four-stop flight, taking a bus into Canada. It was a lot of going back and forth. I'd rather wait it out in a vehicle. It's always good to hang out with friends, not worry. Just drive and get over there.
Marisa: What's your favorite place to travel to, and is there anywhere you have not been to that you would like to go to?
Shattered Sun: My favorite place was the Midwest and Niagara Falls. The New York town was real nice, but the venue there was an old school style theater, which was apparently haunted. I liked driving through Tennessee and other states where it's really pretty with trees and mountains. I spent of my most time looking out the window. I'd like to visit Oregon and Washington. We will be doing that with Soulfly and Decapitated. We'll be going through Vancouver, too.
Marisa: What's your biggest musical fantasy?
Shattered Sun: I would love to go back in time and watch Claude Debussy, an impressionist composure. Beautiful music... to see him play in a concert setting back then... It would be amazing to see that.
Marisa: I have three personality questions that I ask everyone. They might sound like hogwash, but I promise, there is a psychological basis to the answers ;-) First, if you were an unicorn, and you could be any color but white, what color would you be and would you have any special powers?
Shattered Sun: Black unicorn with an ivory horn, red eyes, and my special ability would be to fly.
Marisa: If you were yogurt, what flavor would you be (feel free to be creative, as this does not have to be a traditional flavor) and how would you be served?
Shattered Sun: Mixed berry in a porcelain bowl.
Marisa: Describe yourself as either a dog, a cat or a cartoon.
Shattered Sun: Maybe a cat. I have a thing for cats; but. I can't own one, because I'm allergic. I go into sneezing fits and get sick. I tend to make cat noises when I'm bored.
Marisa: Do you collect anything?
Shattered Sun: I collect CDs of all types, from metal to electronica, but also action figures, like from the Alien movie franchise. I have a closet's worth full of them. Also, I have a bunch of old gaming systems, too. I don't have a Genesis right now, but I want to get one again.
Marisa: What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Shattered Sun: I don't really hide a lot of things, so maybe listening to some pop music. That's a guilty pleasure. Friends will be like, “you listen to this stuff?” Can't listen to metal all the time...
Marisa: Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?
Shattered Sun: I like to work out a lot with my friends. You don't really see a metal dude going to the gym working out, but I don't want to get a beer belly. I guess that would be something people would not expect from me. Do whatever we can in hotel rooms, or wherever we are at, and try to make the best of it, especially with food eating on tour - lot of pizza and beer.
Marisa: What's the most important thing to remember?
Shattered Sun: Remember that good things take time. That's for sure. Whenever I think of my career in music, it took ten years to reach that goal and make it happen. A lot of times, I wanted to give up, but I persevered, and here I am now. But remember to not give up. Keep going strong.
Marisa: What was your most influential moment?
Shattered Sun: Meeting like Devin Townsend. I'm a really big fan of his. I got to talk to him about music. That's how I knew what I wanted to do. He was really inspiring, gave me hope. Also, Michael from Opeth, a really inspiring, really cool guy. Also, I guess getting the opportunity to be on the same team, reaching our goals and stuff. There's a whole bunch of things that led to being inspired, and wanting to keep going, which helped make me, like realizing it's not impossible to reach goals, even if they're hard. Can make it come to life.
Marisa: If you were not doing music, what would you be doing?
Shattered Sun: Probably art, drawing. I love to draw, too. I was actually voted most artistic in high school. I love to draw, write in general - not even music, just writing - so I'd just do something out of that.
Marisa: What are three things you must have with you when you are on the road?
Shattered Sun: Hair brush, ear phones, and a pillow. I forgot my pillow on this last tour. That sucked.
Marisa: Any advice for musicians starting out?
Shattered Sun: Write good music, even though that's very objective, I guess, but write music that you're 100 percent proud of. Always strive to make it better and better. If you're going to join a band, make sure everyone is on the same page and wants to make the band grow. If even one member is not on the same page, that can halt a band. Don't give up. It took Shattered Sun ten years to reach this point. It's all a game of luck and fate; don't give up.
Marisa: Where can people find your music?
Shattered Sun: Facebook.com/shatteredsunband; Twitter and Instagram links are on Facebook. You can also find us on the Victory Records site. Our music videos are on Youtube; just type in Shattered Sun.