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[AltWire Interview] Kicking Sunrise

Pop-rock-soul group Kicking Sunrise talks about their career, living in California and more.

Kicking Sunrise is a pop-rock-soul group from New Jersey. Currently working on a new album called Take It All. The band recently talked with contributor Sam Warren via email about sound evolution, what it was like living in California to work on previous music and more.

I first wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. For our readers who haven’t heard of you, can you tell us about yourself and the band?

Joe: I am a singer songwriter from South Jersey and I grew up with Mark, our drummer. We ran into Matt at a party while he was playing music. It just so happened we needed a guitar player and things kind of just “clicked” from there. Matt was friends with Ryan and that’s how we started this “brotherhood” that we now call Kicking Sunrise.

Mark: I grew up with Joe and I played drums in his band. I’ve been playing drums pretty much my entire life.

Matt: I’ve been playing guitar my entire life, probably 20 years now. When I ran into these guys I was playing at a party. Thank god I ran into these guys because I was actually looking for a band and they were looking for a guitarist so It happened at the perfect moment. I was making music with Ryan at the time so it actually happened at the right time of our lives and has worked out ever since.

Ryan: I was friends with Matt and we were doing our own side project at the time we all met, we were producing our own music and selling instrumentals online and he asked me if I wanted to join a band with Joe and Mark. Joe asked me to do a video on YouTube and it received great feedback. That’s how we started Kicking Sunrise.

Let’s start off with “CBS3 Mornings.” It’s known that your single, “Here’s to the Sunrise” is the theme song. What’s that experience been like for you and the band knowing that you’re a theme song after getting successful from your music video that you posted on YouTube back in 2013?

Joe: The CBS thing was an awesome experience. It was really a blessing. It happened the 1st year of putting out our first record. It’s rare and doesn’t happen often so that’s why we took it as a great opportunity to help push our first single. It’s great to have our friends and people around the tri-state area call us or texts us like “Hey man I hear your song every morning on the news.” It’s a great experience for all of us to be on TV and kind of in the public eye for the first time.

Matt: CBS really helped us get out there. We get played at the Flyers games and Phillies games. So it really awesome to watch our single spread and get out there. That was something that was really cool for our single too.

You also spent a year in California to write your album. What was that experience like and how different was it adjusting to California since you guys are from New Jersey? What was it like coming back home? How did things change for you?

Mark: Going out to California to write and record our record (Here’s to the Sunrise) was amazing. We love it on the west coast and we really had the time of our lives. Writing music and hanging out in the beautiful weather all day was really awesome. We are from New Jersey but we got use to California instantly.

Ryan: It was like culture shock, being from New Jersey we all have a similar hair cut. So speaking fast paced and sarcasm is just how we grew up and our style is. Even our look was different. We would be in Walmart and people would look at us and ask if we were from New Jersey. It was a really different life style but we adapted pretty well.

Matt: There were not any Italians out there. I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Joe: The coolest thing is that it definitely formed the sound and style of our first record. Living a block from Huntington Beach on the beach really gave us the influence of writing our style of music – that summer time feel good sound. It’s evolved from then, especially with this new EP. It’s been a cool experience being in a band this long.

Ryan: It was a good place to learn about everything. We formed the band and very shortly after we were out and recording our first album in a place that is well known for the music industry. Being surrounded by the personalities, LA and the bigger studios was really a great learning experience for me from both a technical and songwriting standpoint. It was a really cool experience.

You’re currently in the process of releasing songs from your new EP. What can the fans expect from the EP that’s different from, “Here’s to the Sunrise”? Can you tell me about the writing process of the EP and what that was like? How has your sound evolved since the first album?

Joe: Just traveling and touring really set the tone for this EP. I think we really started to find the sound that we have been looking for as Kicking Sunrise and we are really looking to continue this path that we have been on.

Mark: You can tell when you hear the music that these past 3 years we have been playing live and playing our instru- ments every day definitely shows in our new sound and music. It has advanced a little bit.

Matt: I think it has advanced a lot. It’s been 3 years since we have recorded “Here’s To The Sunrise”. It’s been 3 years of playing all of the time and it has really made us more creative and better musicians.

Ryan: We did not have as much experience playing live at all when we recorded our fist album. Seeing the different crowds in different areas, we get to see the different responses from different demographics. We really get a feel now for what the response will be from what we are playing. That really drove the direction and decisions we made when writing this new EP. Being together everyday really helps too, now we are all really in the same boat when writing our songs. It clicks really well. It’s awesome.

Since YouTube played a big role in your success, what advice would you give to new bands about Social Media and making themselves known?

Mark: Social media is the main thing nowadays. It’s super important. You can reach out to people from all over the world.

Joe: We have met and talked to so many people. Collaborating with others on YouTube is really important, that is how Ryan and I connected. I never played music with him before and then we covered Justin Timberlake’s “Suite and Tie” and got a really good response from it. A few months later we got recognized and signed with Right Coast Music. YouTube allows you to get in front of more people than you would ever think possible.

Ryan: Everything is so quick today with technology. If you’re not doing anything on it, you are really far behind everyone else. You need to be on stage as much as possible. Social media is the new stage.

Matt: We have fans from all over the world. Without social media that would never be possible.

Once your new EP is released, does the band have any plans for touring? What are some bands you’d guys like to tour with?

Mark: A tour would be amazing after our EP is out. We are in the works this fall trying to plan something out for sometime very soon after the EP is released.

Ryan: Ideally I would like to do a tour where we can reach people our own age. I would really love to do a major college tour.

Does anyone in the band have any side projects? If so, what are they?

Joe: It was the side projects that allowed us to form this band. Ryan: Yes, we met on side projects.
Mark: Right now we are focusing 100% on Kicking Sunrise.

With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it? What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career? If you could change anything about it, what would it be?

Joe: The only thing that I dislike about the music industry today is that we missed out on a time where we could sell records. I would love to not do a EP and just do a 15 song record and everyone listens to the whole thing.

Ryan: You have to be 3 months ahead of everyone to be on time. That’s one of the challenges, finding the current trend before it even hits.

Any last words?

Kicking Sunrise: “See you in the fall.”

Mark: Be ready for constant content.

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