Cemetery Sun is a four piece alt-pop band from Sacramento, California that blends infectious beats with, at times, raw heavy vocals and even some R&B influences to create their signature sound. Their self-titled debut EP showcases what they’re all about, and guitarist Jesse Mancillas took some time to answer a few questions we had about the band and what they have planned for the rest of the year. The newest single from that EP is called “E.Y.T.Y.K.” and you can read our interview with Jesse and check out the song below!
I noticed that Elliot is listed as a guitarist as well as your producer. Did you guys do all of your own production on your debut EP?
We did almost all the recording in his parents’ garage. He has developed a massive skill of being an engineer/producer. We have been able to hear songs fully realized. There has to be hundreds of songs on that computer. We should probably back up that hard drive! Colby Wedgeworth (The Maine, Lydia, The Seeking) did some final mix tweaks and added some stuff here and there but mostly Elliot and us sweating it out in that garage.
What were some of the advantages of doing it all by yourselves?
We have saved thousands and we don’t feel a time crunch to get shit done. We are free to experiment. One of the biggest challenges is that you are usually a fan of a song when you’re recording it. It’s not until your out of the room and away from the moment that you can truly judge your work. Some songs we have been so excited about, like literal jumping up and down, we have listened later and thought “What the hell where we thinking?”.
What is the music scene like in Sacramento, and has it affected your band in any way?
We all came up in the Metal or Post-Hardcore scene. It definitely has a signature on us as a band, even if not in the sound in the attitude and live shows. Sac has some really cool experimental music and the musicians here are top notch.
You just recently finished your first national tour. Congratulations! What was your favorite thing about touring?
Meeting these new people we couldn’t have met any other way. We were extremely fortunate that we got to got out with those dudes and their fans are incredible.
Least favorite thing?
We slept in the van most nights and I brought a really shitty sleeping bag, don’t really need one in Cali. Detroit and Chicago is another story. By the 5th day of the tour we all had colds except for Josh.
Any memorable venues or good tour stories?
Most I wouldn’t dare embarrass my dudes with (looking at you Austen). The last night of the tour for us was in Salt Lake City in a literal tin shack called Kilby Court. Josh somehow came down with something and he got super sick and was puking and in immense pain. We planned to call it but Josh wouldn’t let us. We went onstage with a bucket that night and I have no idea how but he rallied and got the crowd the most involved I had seen a crowd all tour. I love that shack!
I read in your bio that you composed over 30 songs for the EP! That’s impressive! How many of those songs made it on to the EP, and do you think you’ll use any of the extra material in the future?
We are actually making further changes to it now. We wrote some new songs and upon trusted counsel we have decided to rethink the EP. Very exciting for us and we get to revisit and almost re-imagine the EP.
What is your writing process like?
It varies but Elliot or Josh may write a chord structure, Austen will figure out a beat and then I’ll either add a lead line here and there before or after Josh does his vocals. Austen is usually involved with lyrics in some way. It’s a pretty efficient machine right now.
What about your recording process? Did you already know which songs you wanted to include on the EP before you went into the studio?
No not at all. We usually send them to people we trust and get their feedback. Then we pow wow and decide the songs and track order.
Do you have any tours in the works for the rest of this year?
Nothing we can announce yet but we are working hard to get back out there.
What is the most challenging thing you’ve faced as a band so far?
Defeating our own egos and insecurities. Musicians are notorious and its not easy getting 4-5 heads on the same page. Been a lot of struggle and even more disappointment but we keep pushing on and we are seeing the wins start to happen.
What about the thing you’re most proud of?
I was incredibly proud of Josh after this last tour. Singing night after night in super shitty living conditions while everyone is sick is the worst. He killed it every night.
Underneath the alt-rock, I hear a lot of R&B influence in your music, especially “Wish It Was Love.” Who are some of the artists you’ve been influenced or inspired by?
Dr Dre, Yelawolf, The Weekend, Jay Z, J. Cole and too many others to list. Elliot and Austen are the most pop oriented, Josh is as well but he likes to experiment while I am trying to turn everything into a Radiohead song. It’s a pretty rad balance that works well for us.
What are 5 songs or albums you’ve been listening to lately?
Panic At the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Blink 182 – Bored To Death
Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
They. – Working For It
What can we expect from Cemetery Sun for the rest of 2016?
Tours, tours, tours and some new music no one has heard ever.
What are your biggest dreams for the future of your band?
That we can all do this full time for a job and see the world together.