Capture The Sun
Capture The Sun is yet another outstanding band from Maine. Based around the Old Town area, this four-piece is pushing boundaries of genre and form. They’re particularly unique in that they are an instrumental band, and do not fit neatly into any genre or subgenre of music. We interviewed the band; the answers below incorporate input from all members.
Capture the Sun is definitely unique in being an instrumental band. Was that the plan all along, or something that happened along the way?
That was the plan from day one. We wanted to do something different than what was going on in the Maine scene at the time, as well as challenge ourselves with writing expressive music without the aid of words while still remaining technical and interesting to the listener.
What are your musical influences?
We all have a wide range of influences, but artists we enjoy as a band are many. We’re influenced by bands like Scale the Summit, Pelican, Animals as Leaders, Cloudkicker, Tera Melos, Intronaut, and Cynic, as well as jazz artists such as Dave Brubeck and Allan Holdsworth. We gather a lot of inspiration from life and things that happen to us as well.
How did CTS form?
We formed a few years back at the University of Maine in Orono. Three of us had all met at the end of a school year and all hit it off pretty much instantly. Over that next summer one of our guitarists started to get really into prog-rock and prog-metal, and hatched the idea of starting a band in that vein. The other two were already in a pretty well-off band in the Bangor area, but liked the idea of starting a proggy side project, so we started shooting ideas, riffs, and song parts back and forth via the internet. By the next semester at the University, we had one song done, and a few others roughly sketched out, but not finished. The afore-mentioned band the others were in broke up, so Capture the Sun became everybody’s main musical focus. We started practicing without a bassist, and even played a few shows that way, but soon decided it was the final element we were lacking. We asked a few people who we knew played bass, and a fellow music major at the University made the cut. That settled our final four piece form that we’re in today.
Playing live as an instrumental band has got to be challenging. I saw you recently in Windsor and was quite impressed. What do you feel are the benefits and drawbacks of not having a singer?
Three of the four of us hold degrees in music, and we’re all just a bunch of gigantic music nerds, so one of the biggest advantages is that we get to really focus on the music, and not hold back on all of our respective instruments. Lots of bands with singers tend to dial it back a bit when the vocals are happening as to not clutter up their mix too much, and have to try and leave space for when the instruments can shine in each song. It’s a lot of fun to be going all-out on your instrument for long stretches of time (for us, at least).
A drawback is that not having a singer tends to alienate a lot of potential listeners, so getting people’s attention is a bit harder than a band with a vocalist. That can also be helpful, though, as it makes us stand out from the crowd a little bit.
Another thing we deal with a lot is people asking what our songs are about. People ask us this all the time, and some people have a hard time it, for some reason. This is always our response:
None of our songs have definitive meanings or themes, and the possible meaning of each song is completely left up to the listener. Music is an extremely personal thing, and people project their emotions onto songs, which is how we as an audience come up with “happy”, “sad”, “angry”, etc songs. So, if somebody feels overwhelming happiness when listening to our music, that is intended just as much as if somebody else felt unparalleled anger from the same song. If somebody imagines a cinematic storyline of somebody climbing a mountain, or having an epic sea adventure, then that is what we intended, as long as the listener gets something out of the song.
How would you classify your sound?
That’s a tough one to answer, because we play a pretty diverse range of styles, even in the course of one song. Some things we’ve been labeled as by fans:
- Instrumental Progressive Metal (the label we tend to apply most often)
- Technical Speed-Doom
- Technical Progressive Post-Jazz Core
- The metal band that people who don’t like metal like
Of course, some of those are silly, but they actually do a pretty good job at describing us. So, really, it can be more effective for somebody to listen to our music and try to decide what we play for themselves, rather than have us try and tell them.
How do you feel you are evolving as a band?
We’re always changing, be it our writing styles, playing style, or even changing personally, and that reflects quite a bit in the music. Our writing style is becoming more fluent, and we’re finding “our sound” now, if you will. There is also quite a bit more communal contribution on each song, instead of one member writing an entire song and everybody else learning it. People who have known us since our start have said that they really like the direction we’re heading in, and so do we.
How long have you all been playing?
Kyle (guitar) – 11 Years
James (guitar) – 8 years
Justin (drums) – 8 years
Sean (bass) – 2 years on bass, but started as a child on classical string instruments
What do you think of the Maine music scene?
The Maine music scene is great if you know where to look. There are a lot of great bands that are waiting to be found, no matter the genre you’re into, and sites like Bandcamp are great for finding new local music. Some can be harder to find, such as metal and hardcore bands, due to the fact that Maine is such a folk-music driven state, but even just going out to local shows can surprise you with the amount of talent this state has.
The scene is also growing, which is super cool. There was a period a few years back that looked fairly bleak, especially in the Bangor area, but everybody is starting to poke their heads back out, again. There is a new place in Bangor that is acting as a pretty active venue, and there are new bands coming out of the woodwork at a pretty surprising rate. It’s really cool to see.
Capture the Sun is currently writing their next album, as well as playing shows around the New England area. Follow them online at their website or facebook. They can also be found on bandcamp, where you can find their album and all subsequent releases free.