My first introduction to London rockers AT THE SUN was their self-description of ‘no bullshit, no gimmicks, just straight up rock & roll,’ which instantly had my interest peaked. The five-piece, who describe their music as ‘eargasmic,’ have honed a big, exciting blues and hard-rock fuelled sound that evokes thoughts of classic rock bands of old.
Formed of vocalist Harry Dale, fellow songwriter and rhythm guitarist Kieron Heavens, lead guitarist and true axe man Chet Jogia, drummer Craig Steen – who could apparently build a drum kit that Mike Portnoy himself would be envious of – and bassist Alex Matthews, the band have have had quite a journey to reach their current position.
AT THE SUN was formed by Kieron and Alex and has gone through a few line-up changes behind the scenes but, in Kieron’s words: “By sticking to our guns of finding the exact pieces of the puzzle – which believe us, can test your patience and sanity – we couldn’t be happier with the members we have now that form the band’s line up.”
That determination has culminated in last month’s release of debut EP Breathe. We had a chat with Kieron to find out more, and asked him what people should expect from their debut: “They should expect to nod their heads and smile! We put a lot of effort into this EP and having it there just makes us so happy. The feedback has been overwhelming, we are so grateful for all the kind words, it pushes us onwards and upwards!
“For us, the greatest thing is playing these tracks live. The feeling of putting something you recorded onto a live stage is like popping a cork out of a bottle. You have spent a lot of time and effort making the record sound as good as it can be whilst representing you in the way you want, so to then be able to put all the pent up energy towards a live performance is a real ecstasy. We are extremely proud of the debut release and to have received great receptions from the crowds at each of our shows has given us the biggest satisfaction yet. We even had a few mosh pits going! People should expect a show that’s packed full of big riffs, face melting solo’s and vocals that you just want to grab your crotch to!”
The EP opens up with a funky guitar riff and driving drums in the intro to lead track Breathe. Crooning vocals through the intro are supported by bursts of guitar as it builds towards a big catchy hard rock chorus of “We’ve gotta get away tonight, cos time ain’t on our side, let’s leave before the light.” The second verse is more intense, with darting guitar riffs supporting the winding vocals before diving into another chorus. There’s a moment of calm before Chet dives into a huge solo that leads into one final rendition of the chorus followed by big guitar riffs, crashing cymbals and repeats of “We’ve gotta get away tonight.” It’s an excellent introduction to AT THE SUN, and you can check it out in the lyric video below:
And that’s backed up by Walk on Over, which is dominated by Harry’s fantastic vocals. It opens up with a cool laid-back riff that flows into an almost Guns ‘n’ Roses-esque verse opening up with the line “Sexy baby with the high heels on, walk on over to me, I was looking for something good, and you were looking at me.” It’s a sexy track with bursts of high-pitched guitar riffs intertwining with awesome vocal delivery, including the lines “I got my mind on your body and it looks fantastic” and “I just wanna turn you on until your legs are shaking but it won’t take long.” The track drops down for a moment to just the bass with light drums that builds the suspense before Chet dives into a big extended solo, which leads into a big blast of riffs and vocals, then closes out with some awesome mini drum solos and bursts of guitar.
Next up Devil In Your Eyes is a little darker, opening up with a guitar riff and light drums that explodes into a big intro riff. Vocals then come in through a opening verse that gradually builds in intensity and flows into a singalong chorus. Harry’s vocals are huge again, and there’s another awesome solo from Chet following the second verse, followed by a huge blast of vocals to bring the track to a rocking finale.
The EP closes out with Indestructible, which begins with slow, moody guitars then a darting riff that jumps into a bigger hit of guitars that flow into a laid-back opening verse. A catchy chorus follows with light guitar licks over singalong vocals, followed by a mini guitar solo. The second chorus is followed by a big guitar solo that flows into a rockier chorus with the solo continuing in the background to bring the EP to a rocky ending.
There’s more than a little feeling of Guns ‘n’ Roses about AT THE SUN, they write great rocking tracks chocked full of engaging vocals and big guitar riffs that lure you in effortlessly and evoke thoughts of rock’n’roll bands of old.
Kieron describes their sound as: “Music that gets people up off of their arses and party. It takes inspiration from all of our favourite artists to create a sound that has beefy riffs, air guitar worthy solos and vocals and rhythm that really catch peoples’ attention… we hope! Lots of bands rely on having a certain look or gimmick but we don’t bother with that – we just want to deliver some stadium-worthy rock – and hopefully look good doing it!”
You can see AT THE SUN for yourself at Shindignation, at Engine Studios in Bow, east London, on Saturday night (5 August), then The Carlisle in Hastings on 25 August and New Cross Inn on 30 August. More info on their tour dates is here.