Originally from Australia and now based in Berlin, The Sunpilots have quickly earned a reputation as a killer live act and one of the hardest working independent bands in the world. Since 2011 they've toured Australia, the USA, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania... well, you get the idea. In fact it's safe to say that when they're not in the studio, the band is on the road.
“When we tour, we go hard. 4 to 5 shows and 2000 to 3000 kms of driving a week,” says Raj Siva-Rajah, who is both frontman and manager of the band. “We run our own record label too. It’s been intense.”
Formed by Raj and guitarist Bob Spencer in 2008, The Sunpilots have always been fiercely independent. The band released their debut album ‘Living Receiver’ in 2009 to rave reviews, a MusicOz Award, an ‘Indie Album of the Year’ and two ‘Indie Album of the Week’ awards from Australian street press. The single ‘Spotlight in the Sun’ became the #1 most added song on Australian radio and Apple featured another track as an iTunes Single of the Week. The band also became a North American college radio favourite and won ‘Best International Artist’ at the Toronto Independent Music Awards and ‘Single of the Year’ at the LA Independent Music Awards.
The Sunpilots’ last album ‘King of the Sugarcoated Tongues’ is an epic 8-chapter story about the human need for security and the freedoms we trade for it. The record saw the band’s sound evolve into a kind of Zeppelin-meets-Radiohead progressive rock that has been critically acclaimed by reviewers around the world. Raj’s unique singing style comes from being raised in two musical worlds: from the age of 8 his mother (a classical Sri Lankan singer) instructed him in the Carnatic music of the east while he simultaneously fell in love with all things rock. When the passionate vocals and storytelling lyrics collide with with Spencer’s ripping guitar solos the result is explosive. Especially on stage where, according to reviewers, the band shines brightest.
The Sunpilots made the decision to let fans download ‘King of the Sugarcoated Tongues’ for free. “We just want people to hear our music, so we let them download it,” says Raj. “All we ask in return is that they share it.” It seems to be working since the album is downloaded several hundred times every week.
So what’s next for The Sunpilots? The boys have just finished their very first US and Canadian tours and have now begun work on a brand new record. “It feels great to write again!” Raj says. “We’ve started demoing ideas and we’re really pumped about where it’s going. In many ways, I think this will be our most important record.” With a new album around the corner and a 2018 world tour to follow, The Sunpilots are set to achieve big things this year.
Long live independent rock.
-Darrel Cole, Mycraft Magazine
*Live photo credits (in order): Gabi Henke, Domenico Perri, Arthur Obédia