Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sumerlin Interview

Sumerlin recently released a new album titled "Runaways". They also released a new music video for their song "Breaking Out". I got the chance to ask guitarist Logan Tudor a few questions about the band and their new album. Check it out! 

What made you decide to get into music?

Most of us have been playing in bands since middle and high school. The passion for music has always been burning. We never really gained any traction with the bands we played in until Sumerlin in 2009. We committed ourselves to following a calling we felt was put into ours lives.

Not that the previous bands were unsuccessful but Sumerlin was the first band we had achieved some notoriety in the Music Industry - especially the Christian Music Industry. Which is great for us as we're all active Christians pursuing a life dedicated to our faith — and this of course is reflective naturally in our music.

How did Sumerlin get started?

We all came from other bands. Mostly metal bands. Dan sang backup vocals and played guitar in a Christian Hardcore band, Logan played bass in a Christian Metal band, Chris played guitar in a Christian Southern Metal band and Josh played drums in a Christian Hard Rock band.

Sumerlin started as an idea for something new and fresh. Our current bands at the time had begun to disband which opened us up to be able to start meeting and writing. We committed ourselves to following God's call and His plan for this band and that led us to where we are today. That's the quick version of how we came to be.

Where did the name Sumerlin come from, and what does it mean?

Well, we usually tell everyone it means something so amazing that you couldn't handle exactly what it was. But we'll skip that and jump to the quick story. When we started four years ago we did what every band does… We came up with every name we could that we thought was cool and represented us the way we thought it should. That was tough and it almost never works out that way without being forced.

We ran through all of them and eventually came to Sumerlin - most of us liked that it was one word and simple. Easy to say and we felt it could grow with us without limiting itself to one style. 'Sumerlin Trace' was the name of a new neighborhood in the city I lived in. We dropped the Trace and went with it. It was one of the only names we came up with that wasn't already tied to another band.

How would you describe the bands sound, to someone who has never heard your music?

Well... That's tough. On most occasions you can say we're a just 'rock band' and that works but every now and then you have people who need precise details on who and what you sound like haha.

These days most people have smart phones and look you up the minute you walk away - I've actually heard them playing a song on iTunes or a video on YouTube after telling them about the band and walking away. Technology rules.

You guys released a new album not too long ago titled "Runaways". What can you tell us about this album?

Runaways is a record about knowing what you're running from and what you're running towards. The songs are all about how you can sink so deep into something that it completely consumes you. The only way out is to run. Run away from what holds you back and breaks you. Run towards what rebuilds and renews you.

These songs speak from our own hearts, our own personal experiences as well as experiences we've seen in the lives of friends and family. Running away is not always an act of rebellion — if you put God on the side you're running towards — it is by no means a cowardly or rebellious act. 

How does "Runaways" compare to your previous albums/EPs?

"Runaways" is the first full length we've done as 'Sumerlin'. We've previously just released EPs. The process was longer and demanded more of us as writers and musicians. It was nice though - even as tough as it got at times.

You spend days and days in the same room with the same songs played over and over and sometimes you just hit a wall with creativity and have to get out to let your mind clear up a little. Then there are other times where those days breeze by with creativity flowing plentifully. Its a process and we embraced it. 

On this album, was there any track that you personally felt strongly about creating?

Honestly we're fans of the record in its entirety. Each song is its own reflection of what we all go through in this life we're given. "Runaways" is intended to be a blueprint for every listener. It's about recognizing the situation at hand and figuring out how to handle it. We don't always get it right but in the end you realize where to turn — what to run away from and what to run towards.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

GO FOR IT! Keep your drive for music close to your heart and always express your passion for it. The struggle will always be real. People won't always care. Some will even pretend just enough to make you feel good.. But the ones who do — the ones who really care make it all worth it.

Don't stop. Because when you do it's over. Motion is progression. When you get pushed back build up some momentum and charge forward. Don't stop. The experience is part of the reward.

How important is faith in Jesus Christ to you personally and to the band?

Very important. It's a huge part of our lives. Its something that directly affects everything in our lives. The band included. It's our job to reach every single person we can. Our biggest mission is to be culturally relevant and spiritually significant. Being culturally relevant we try to offer something to everyone - be it lyrically, musically, emotionally… In doing that we open ourselves to reaching more people.

If we can keep ourselves relevant in an ever-changing culture we allow ourselves to continue reaching people and spreading love and the very hope that lives within us. Thus being spiritually significant. It blesses us to bless others.

What do you enjoy doing outside of music?

Hanging out with our families. Coffee. Good food. Good fellowship.

Five Random Bonus Questions

1. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

"If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If not...you'll find an excuse."

2. What hobby have you always wanted to pick up?

Playing the piano. I've always had an interest in that. 

3. Do you collect anything, if so what do you collect?

I collect old currency. I'm not too knowledgeable on it all but I have tons of silver coins, blue notes, silver notes… I've got a lot of the silver pennies from when they stopped using copper for coins for a bit back in the day. 

4. What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning?

Open my eyes. 8)

5. What is the best purchase you've ever made?

My first guitar. The conduit from an aspiring musician to where I am in my journey now.

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