Fight Fire With Sun Voyager

The gang of NY misfits Sun Voyager erupts with heavy, fuzzed out rock ‘n’ roll with no respect for rules.

Currently on King Pizza Records, the three-piece comprised of long time friends Mike Hammond (guitar/vocals), Stefan Marsch (bass) and Kyle Beach (drums), recently released their debut LP Seismic Vibes. It spews dark melodies alongside heavy metal riffs that’ll rock out your inner monster.

Tracks like “Too Much” and “God Is Dead” sound like the perfect soundtrack for the classic silent vampire film Nosferatu. With their eerie melodies accompanied by deafening shredding, these tunes provide chills and thrills as well as bone grinding metal.

“We’ve never held back or been a reserved band, we put it all out there, we used to almost burn places down,” Hammond tells BTRtoday. “I think our mantra on stage is, ‘let’s burn this fucker down’—we go out there and we’re never not drenched in sweat.”

The group is gearing up to play King Pizza Fest, May 17-19 alongside label-mates/hardcore rockers such as The Mad Doctors and The Night Screams. This label is home to some of NYC’s most chaotic metal and rock ‘n’ roll bands and the night is sure to leave a burn, especially with Sun Voyager bringing the flames.

Read the entire interview below and learn what stokes Sun Voyager’s fire.

Sun Voyager “Caves Of Steel”

BTRtoday (BTR): So Sun Voyager, where’d the name come from?

Mike Hammond (MH): When I first saw it I was at a relative’s house at the Jersey Shore. There was an old busted RV on this guy’s property and on the back it said “Sun Voyager,” but it was all faded because it was this old busted ass RV.

BTR: Who would you say are your main influences?

Stefan Mersch (SM): I’m gonna say Black Sabbath, Sir Lord Baltimore, Blue Cheer; I mean on bass Geezer Butler, John Paul Jones, John Entwistle.

MH: Good question. Our influences come from a lot of different places but it always comes out differently.

SM: When we first met, we were all listening to Wu Tang, Rage Against the Machine, classic rock and hardcore. That’s not our sound at all.

MH: What steered us in this direction I think is when we first started, the original name I had for the band was Black Masses because in college I was listening to a lot of doomy like Electric Wizard-esque heavy music. And when we first started we were really heavy.

BTR: How did you guys meet and form the band?

MH: We’ve known each other since high school. We all grew up in the same community. Stefan and Kyle were in a band called Cash Bar.

SM: We were all in The Holding Company.

MH: Do we have to go that far back? [Laughs] Sun Voyager started because I was writing stuff up in Albany, looking for people to play with and I hooked back up with these guys. We were playing together in a band post-high school, all went in separate directions, Stefan and Kyle still played together, and then we all linked back up eventually.

BTR: Tell me about that first single, “Trip”—what kind of influences went into it?

SM: It just happened naturally while we were jamming. The song literally wrote itself. Lyrically we kind of merged two ideas. I had an idea about a time traveler and Mike had an idea about a revolution.

MH: It’s a song that wrote itself in like a day. It just fell out. It was definitely something that was waiting to happen.

BTR: What’s the typical writing process like for Sun Voyager?

MH: I don’t know that there is a typical writing process.

SM: There definitely is not. Either an idea comes from three of us jamming, an idea comes from one of us bringing an idea to the table or a groove feels right and a song evolves from that groove.

MH: I think because of circumstance, we didn’t have time to sit down a few times a week together. Because of the circumstances we had all types of situations we were put in to write these songs. Sometimes I wouldn’t see you guys for a while. We didn’t have the luxury of being together much for this one. I have to travel for work and I’ll be gone sometimes and it would just be you two.

SM: We all work 9-5 so it’s mostly just getting together late nights, drunk and just grinding them out. [We] might be wasted and forget to hit a record button and then it’s gone and you never hear it again.

MH: I think when we find something good we just run with it because we might never be in the same room for a while.

BTR: I’ve seen you live and absolutely love it, but how would you guys describe it yourselves?

SM: Mostly drunk. Usually very drunk. Loud.

MH: I am not, for the record.

MH: We’ve never held back or been a reserved band. We put it all out there. We used to almost burn places down.

SM: Pet Rescue for Pizzafest?

MH: Oh, we burned that place down. I think our mantra on stage is, “let’s burn this fucker down.” We go out there and we’re never not drenched in sweat. So many bands just stand there. We put it out there.

BTR: What do you want listeners to get out of your music?

MH: I want people to get whatever they want to get out of it. First and foremost, we want people to enjoy it and hopefully like it but whatever that means to them. If it means something to them, it’s more important than what it means to me.

SM: Yea, a certain song or a certain band you love can make you feel a certain way so conveying that emotion. That feeling. If a song hits you a certain way at a certain time, it’s with you for life and if you can do that for someone else, that’s it. You’re taking the way you’ve loved music and putting it on someone else.

BTR: What do you get out of your music?

SM: In playing and writing, in one way it’s a release for me and it’s also that feeling. The same feeling you get when you listen, you get out of playing with certain people at a certain wavelength.

MH: It’s a form of expression.

SM: Goes back to the question before. I get out of music what I want other people to get out of music. I want to be able to make people feel the way I feel.

MH: Yea, totally.

SM: When I hear people doing that, I think, “shit I also have that ability to make something out of nothing or make something that can stick with people.”

MH: And the cool thing about it is that it’s not like a sport where there are rules you have to play by. That’s what’s so cool about music. There are things you can do to create a type of sound you want, but there are no fucking rules. It’s just all about expressing. Whereas you have a sport, you know there’s a time limit to it, certain things you can and cannot do. With music, you make your own rules.