By Rick Perez
Cemetery Sun, alternative pop’s newest sensation, is making headlines around the country with their incredibly catchy new single and video “Hard drugs/fake love.” Members Josh Doty (vocals), Austen Butler (drums), Elliot Polokoff (guitar/producer), and Jesse Mancillas (lead guitar) have produced “Fake Love” as the perfect teaser for their upcoming EP, Cemetery Sun.
Check out BoC’s interview with Cemetery Sun, where we talked about their favorite venue, experience working on a music video, and much more.
Who is Cemetery Sun and what is your music all about?
Jesse: These songs on the EP are a lot about exploring ourselves and learning what not only what makes us happy but what makes us “feel.” The music can be dark in texture but we find the light in the way we approach the rhythm of the song and in how Josh approaches his parts. I am always astounded how Josh can deliver the darkest of stories in a way that’s so nice to listen to.
If each member can sing one song on American Idol what would it be?
Josh Doty: ’The Pretender” Foo Fighters
Austen Butler: “Hallelujah” Jeff Buckley
Jesse Mancillas: ’There, There” Radiohead
Elliot Polokoff: “Dig” Incubus
Your self-titled debut EP, Cemetery Sun, is set to be released later this year. What can we expect from this EP?
Jesse: A lot of the chances we get to take this early on in our career are about finding out what we are capable of and where we can take it. Josh is honest with his lyrics and as personal as he can be. Elliot is the glue that brings all our individual styles into a cohesive piece and Austen and I are allowed to be weird. Early listeners of ours get to see us in all our unrefined glory. I think we are starting to know and understand each other better every day and it has been pretty exciting to feel like we are all breathing the same air.
Are you doing anything special to celebrate this release?
Jesse: We are planning to tour the entire US this spring and summer. We spent so much time writing that it is sometimes overwhelming to play these songs in front of other people.
What were some of the most fun and most difficult things about shooting your music video “Fake Love”?
Jesse: The director, Raul Gonzo, is a master visionary and conceptualist. He pretty much showed us stills and we let him roll with it. My car is in the video and is super old and uncomfortable to cruise around going 15 mph. Shit is super hot and I was sweating my ass off. We made it through and Raul pieced together exactly how we wanted the song to be visualized.
How does Northern California influence your music?
Jesse: Northern Cali is right between SoCal and that oh-so-dark-and-lonely vibe the Pacific North has. Seattle bands were king when we were growing up and Dr Dre, Snoop and the entire uprising of gangster rap in SoCal was an integral part of our lives. I had family in gangs and we all played in hardcore or experimental bands. It really wasn’t that hard to blend the two sounds. It was built right into our DNA geographically.
Does Cemetery Sun have a favorite venue to perform in?
Jesse: The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco is by far the nicest venue we’ve played so far. From the staff to the venue itself, it’s an all around stellar place that you feel really appreciates music and the fans. Pretty rare today.
If Cemetery Sun can share a stage with any musician, who would it be and why?
Jesse: I know we have wanted Sage the Gemini to collaborate. Don’t know if he knows yet. Hey Sage, how about a track?
For each member, what was the first song you learned how to play?
Josh: “Fat Lip” Sum 41
Austen: “Brain Stew” Green Day
Jesse: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Nirvana
Elliot: “Carousel” Blink 182
What can we look forward to in the next 6 months?
Our EP and a series of videos are coming out in the next few months. Expect to see us in your hometown this year for sure!