Center of the Sun
Interview with Rick Contes (guitar/vocals)
By John B. Moore
Those familiar with the North Carolina crust/metal band Young And In The Way would be forgiven for assuming the follow up project for members Rick Contes and Chris Nolen would be just as ferocious. Not to give too much away, but Center of the Sun has more in common with a shoegaze band like Joy Formidable than a black metal outfit like Gorgoroth.
The band, originally a duo in 2010, built up to their current five-piece last summer and quickly got to work on their eight-song debut 12” Machine Gun. Though touring is difficult for Center of the Sun, with all members holding down day jobs, they have already started work on new music.
Contes spoke recently about the new release and how the band first came together.
Given the output from Young And In The Way, I was not expecting Center of the Sun to sound like they do. Did you make a conscious decision to make different music with this band?
I think the answer to that is obvious. That should be apparent in the fact that Center of the Sun and Young And In The Way are not just two completely different bands, but also two different entities that have no ties except for two shared members. Furthermore, there seems to be a sort of dissonance among those who stumble upon the fact that Chris (Nolen, guitar) and I play in such drastically different bands. I guess for us it sort of shines a light on the fact that there are those that simply can’t comprehend the fact that no one is limited to playing one style of music. We aren’t 14- year- old kids. The two bands are only a fraction of the various styles and genres wrapped up in our own personal influences.
How did the band first come about?
Center of the Sun first came about in late 2010 with our drummer Ben (Gascho) and I. We got together and recorded a three-song demo we called Blues. Since then we had a couple different versions of Center of the Sun but it didn’t get serious until Ally (Hoffmann) joined on vocals in summer 2012.
When did you start work on the songs that made it on to the debut?
The song “And I Am Left With Ludwig” is actually the first song ever written under the name Center of the Sun. It was on the Blues EP. So our writing on Machine Gun dates back to 2010. The track “Cease” is one song that was written in 2011 that made it on the album. I had been working on “Home” and “Pull and Drag” back in 2011 as well. All of the material is kind of a collection of the past three years rolled into one.
Is this a one-off project or do you plan on making more records?
We’re definitely not a one-off project. We are currently writing and planning our next releases. We will stop making music as Center of the Sun when we feel it’s time to move on. That could be later this year or later this decade. If our inspiration for this music dies, we will cease to be.
Any tour plans yet?
Chris and I hold full-time jobs for an E-Commerce company and our bassist Joe (Elmore) is a full- time pilot for a major airline so touring isn’t an option for us at this point in time. We all have a lot of other stuff going on in our lives so we play shows when we can all make it happen.
What’s next for the band?
The vinyl release for Machine Gun is coming within the next six weeks. We will do a record release show for this along with an appearance at Treasure Fest 2013 (Charlotte, NC). After that, we will continue the writing process we are currently wrapped up in and go from there.