XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Alex: Well the big news is the release of our debut full-length album “Theogony.” It comes out Friday November 10th via Divebomb Records and I’m really excited about it!
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Alex: LUNAR has existed since 2014. Before this full-length that comes out this Friday, we actually had a self-released EP called “Provenance” that was released at the end of 2014.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Alex: Well I’ve been playing drums since I was 13 and been in bands since I was 14. As cheesy as it may sound, I’ve always known that being a musician is what I’m meant to do with my life. I will continue to be in bands until my dying breath. However, prior to starting LUNAR, I had always played in death metal bands. Which, don’t get me wrong, I still love death metal! I just always wanted to play something more progressive. That style of music has always been my favorite. I remember when I called Ryan Erwin to ask him if he wanted to start this project a big part of the motivation was I had just recently discovered the album “The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)” by Steven Wilson. I had been listening to it and basically thought to myself: “THIS is the kind of stuff I want to be writing / playing.”
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Alex: I took drum lessons when I was 13 for maybe a year or so. I also took some lessons for a few months with a different teacher when I was about 26. I believe no matter where you are in your musical career or how good you are, there’s always something new you can learn. I don’t have much in the way of formal training (I wish I had more, honestly), but I’ve spent my entire adult life working around musicians; being in bands, going to live shows, working in music stores, etc. And being around other musicians, I constantly try to study them and ask them questions to pick up little things here and there that can hopefully improve my playing ability.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Alex: I’m not sure… The image the music insights I think is always in the eye of the beholder. The same song can speak to 2 different people in entirely different ways. Whether that be from the emotion of the music itself, or some message in the lyrics. Most of the songs on “Theogony” are written from some personal experience of mine. But that’s how it speaks to me. I wouldn’t want to divulge specifically what I wrote them about because then it may not reach a specific person on the same level from something they have personally experienced in their own life. So really, I hope the image conveyed from the music can be something personal and unique to each person that listens and appreciates it.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Alex: Well since LUNAR is just a studio project, there likely won’t be any live performances. I hope that can change someday, but for now, one day at a time. I certainly hope I can get a solid lineup put together within the next 3 years so that we can do some live performances and touring. For me personally, the next step is I’m writing and recording the 2nd album with my other band, HELION PRIME. After that I hope we’ll be doing some touring. I really hope we can do tours of US and Europe! Then after all that is finished, I plan to start working on Lunar album #2. Hopefully that will all happen within the next 3 years.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Alex: Long term the biggest thing for me is I hope I can make a stable enough living putting out music that I won’t need a day job anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love my day job! I work in a music store in my home town and I love being able to be around gear all day and talk with other musicians. Plus to have a job that is willing to give me time off to go on tour when I need to and ensure that I’ll still have a job when I come back is great! But having 2 bands, a job and a personal life with friends and family can be exhausting! The bands in itself can be a full-time job. And I feel that if I was able to provide a stable living with just that, without the necessity of a day job, I’d be able to be a better and more productive musician. Ultimately though, even if things stay as they are now forever, I’ll still be happy. Long term, if I can keep writing the music I love, putting out albums, performing live, and expanding and improving as a musician, then all is good.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Alex: I really enjoy both, honestly. They both have their benefits that really can’t be matched by the other. There’s nothing that quite compares to the rush of playing for a live audience. The adrenaline, the fear, the excitement… it’s wonderful! Plus I really love getting to interact with fans. Nothing is more important to me in that kind of setting than showing my gratitude for someone appreciating what it is I do. But being in the studio is so much fun for me too! It’s a bit more of a relaxed and fun environment. I like being able to experiment and play around with different ideas. Plus to have more freedom to fuck up and go back and try again with no consequence. haha!
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Alex: “Theogony” is based on the 9 muses of Greek mythology. Each of these muses represent a specific theme. So each track is named after one of the muses and that track is musically and lyrically based on the theme that that specific muse represents. There are themes such as comedy, tragedy, music, love, history, etc.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Alex: Not with LUNAR since, as I said, there hasn’t been any touring with this band. But, for me personally, I was on the road with an old band of mine years ago and we got arrested at a border control stop in Texas. We pulled through and I’m guessing they just thought we were suspicious. They searched our entire van and trailer, held us in a cell for like 8 hours or something and by the time they finally let us go we couldn’t make it in time to our show in Houston, so we had to cancel. So we spent the entire night in a strip club instead. haha!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Alex: Fortunately I haven’t gotten any strange requests from fans. Every request I’ve gotten has been stuff like photos and autographs. Nothing odd.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Alex: Absolutely! My parents have always been nothing but supportive to me.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Alex: Again, unfortunately no live performances for this project, so I couldn’t say. But I could say “Urania” is one of my favorites from the album and I think it would be really cool to see that translated into a live setting.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Alex: There have been so many over my lifetime. But the biggest influence for me has been Opeth. When I first discovered them when I was about 14 it changed my entire outlook on music. Hearing a band that could blend such brutality and beauty with such precision blew my mind. The unique, unmistakable sound of the band, plus the amazing songwriting and not to mention the individual musicianship… no band has changed my life more. To this day, half my life later, they are still, without question, my favorite band in the world. Everything they do just inspires me to be better and to continue to write whatever music I feel is in my heart and not adhere to any pattern or standards. They are truly inspirational for me.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Alex: Lunar, Haken, Opeth & Steven Wilson. It would be epic nights of prog with 7 hour shows each night! haha! But it would be worth it to me.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Alex: Honestly, probably this album. I poured so much of myself into this. In one form or another I worked on this album for almost 3 years! And all the different moving parts and coordination with all the different musicians and all the steps it took to get here. And I am honestly really proud of the final product. Everything came together better than I ever could have imagined! After so long and so much hard work, I am really proud of this release.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Alex: I really think it would have to be something at least music related. Like I said before, I still have a day job at a music store, and I love doing that. If i weren’t in the music field in any way, I have absolutely no clue what I would be doing. Probably something numbers related. I’m pretty good at math. haha!
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Alex: I use a Tama Starclassic Performer birch kit. I have about 11 drums that go with that kit, but with the bands I’m with now I usually use a 6 or 7 piece configuration. I use Zildjian cymbals. A variety of mostly A Customs and K Customs. I use Remo heads and Pro Mark sticks.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Alex: I love it. There’s so much music out there and it’s all right at our fingertips. You could spend all day discovering new bands cuz there’s just so much out there. Locally, where I live in Sacramento the local rock and metal scene is pretty cool. There’s not a huge following of many local bands, but there’s a few more established acts I know around this area that get some decent turnouts. And we’re getting a lot more of the bigger tours rolling through here lately too. New clubs opening. It’s great!
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Alex: I’ve had 4 surgeries related to back problems and have fought back through it to continue to be able to drum. I think that would shock most people who don’t know me. haha!
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Alex: Progressive. Somewhere between rock and metal. Influenced by acts like Opeth, Tool & Porcupine Tree.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Alex: Definitely want to say a huge thank you to all the fans out there! And just remind everyone that “Theogony” is out November 10th and you can pick it up through lunarbandofficial.bandcamp.com or Divebomb Records. Thanks to you guys at XSROCK for taking the time to do this interview with me!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!