Independent band The Sunpilots have garnered nods of approval across the nation for debut albums Living Receiver, March of the Drones, and Animals Minds. But it was in the past year where the Sydney four-piece conquered the European music scene, touring Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK, as they debuted their latest album King of the Sugarcoated Tongues.
Contemporary Performance students Justin Kool (graduate) and Tom McGirr (currently deferred) make up half of the alternative, progressive rock band.
Bassist Justin Kool reasons their move from Australia to Europe, “We are our strongest when we play live, and in Europe, there is a real opportunity to do that. We chose to live in Berlin because of its location in Europe and the creative energy that just flows throughout the entire city.”
He elicits his most memorable experience in Poland, “I think the first time I walked into the main square of Krakow, I was left speechless by how beautiful that place truly is … Moving to Europe would have to be the most exciting experience, because it’s been such a surprise to see the history, the landscape, the people, the food, everything.”
Life on tour is much more than the glitz and glamour. Each week, the band starts on Wednesday or Thursday with a 400-600 km drive to the town they stay or play in. They play 3-4 shows and then head back to Berlin to recover for 2-3 days. By day, they tour by bus and by night, they are sleeping on friends’ sofas or the floors of various clubs. Justin says, “I recall our longest run was 17 hours in the van and trust me, we were all losing our minds by the end. But the shows have been outstanding and we’ve met so many wonderful people on the road, as well as immersing ourselves in other cultures.”
Being surrounded by others 24/7 can be quite overwhelming for the band, “It certainly feels like we spend more time together than that. Since September 2010, we’ve been touring Europe and living together in Berlin, and it’s been an interesting experience to say the least. It’s something even beyond being a family I think, and sure there are times where I think we all want to kill each other,” says Justin, “but there is a lot of dedication between all of us and the commitment and belief in what we do pushes us forward.”
The amount of hard work and dedication The Sun Pilots exert can only be rewarded with their ever-growing popularity. Whether it is on stage with their seriously engaged fans, or through the Internet where the band already have over 16,000 likes on Facebook, there is no mistaking the talent The Sunpilots have.
Justin’s studies at AIM have contributed largely to his rising talent. It has taught him how to be a proficient musician, “I learnt so much musically, but the reality is I learnt a lot more there. It taught me about professionalism- when working with other people, getting to the rehearsals on time and learning the songs needed.” He continues, “As well as networking and just how much dedication it takes to be a musician and finding the strength and love to never stop challenging yourself.”
Their latest album, King of the Sugarcoated Tongues, is available for free on their official page. “With the way the industry is moving, CD sales are becoming obsolete and it doesn’t make sense to hold onto that with the internet being used as it is … Our passion is touring, and we want everyone to come to the shows because the songs really flourish when we play them live,” says Justin. The album is essentially a story set in 8 chapters discussing human need for security, and how society so easily trades our freedom for it.
Justin hopes for The Sunpilots to become a household name; world famous and successful. “I think we just want to keep doing what we are doing and continue to tour and play shows and gain new experiences. Though being exceedingly rich would be pretty damn groovy.”
Support The Sunpilots by downloading their free album: www.thesunpilots.com/sugarcoated and visiting their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thesunpilots