EMQ’s with PLACES AROUND THE SUN
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Lisbon, Portugal based Alternative Rock band, Places Around The Sun. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist António Santos for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is António, I’m the lead singer and one of the guitar players of the band Places Around The Sun.
This all started when I went into a studio and recorded a few songs. I then needed a band to play live with and that’s where Alex (our bass player) and João (our guitar player) joined the band. I knew Alex from college, we first met when I asked him to play bass on a cover I was working on for my YouTube channel at the time. João was in a band with Alex so it just made sense for him to join the band.
We released that album and started playing live all-around Lisbon and really got tired of those songs to be honest! So, we started to work on new stuff and our drummer at the time left the band and so in came Ricardo. We’ve know each other for a long time, back when I was in a metal band and he was in his Hardcore band and we played together at a few gigs back in our hometown.
So, I asked him to come jam with us to see if we would vibe out and it was a perfect match!
Since then we’ve been playing live, released the second album, released two singles and wrote and recorded our upcoming self-titled album coming this September!
How did you come up with your band name?
Our band name came up pretty randomly. We had to change our name because our old name was too similar to the name of a big company here in Portugal and they threatened to sue us if we didn’t change our name, luckily we were already thinking about changing the name either way, so it was just a little bit of a push to do it!
“Places Around The Sun” was among a big list we had with name Ideas and that name just sounded cool to us. That’s really the reason for it! We’ve always been suckers for space and mythology themed stuff, but gradually the name gained a whole meaning to us.
I never wrote lyrics thinking about our name and how it should correlate with it, I write about things I go through in my life and how they feel or how I deal with them or even how I sometimes choose not to deal with them and the further I went on that path, being the nerd I am and reading a lot of stuff related with astrology and numerology, which is a world that fascinates me a lot, I found out that the sun was a bigger part of my life than I expected.
It’s not something I take too much to heart, but I like to have present in my mind as something fun and cool to know.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Although we come from different parts of the country, we all reside in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Rock scene here, although it exists, I feel like it has a more underground presence. We have a lot of rock bands but the genre that is more sought after is Indie Pop/ Indie Rock, so almost everything that shies away from it is viewed as “heavy”. But we have pretty great Rock bands here, we have The Legendary Tiger Man who is the smoothest, coolest guy in the rock’n’roll scene here in Portugal, we have bands like Her Name Was Fire who have more in your face Rock, we have a band called Linda Martini who have a more prog rock sound that is also amazing, among many others. I feel like our Rock scene, although it is smaller or less present than the other genres, has a real loyal fan base and the ones who like your music stand by you always and that is amazing!
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We just released ‘Chasing Tails’ the first single of our new upcoming album.
We finished the recording of the album in the beginning of the year and it’ll come out in September 2020. We are really excited with this album in particular because it’s the one that we feel we went all out. Of course, we always give our all to our music, but this one I think will always have that special place in our hearts because of how it was written and how true it is to us. It talks about a really deep and close subject of anxiety and depression I went through last year until really recently. It was a low but very important point in my life and gladly it’s something I’m gradually feeling more and more comfortable talking about publicly.
We used the Scarab Beetle which was viewed by the Egyptians as the one who took the sun beyond the horizon to set and rise again every day. It felt very appropriate as a metaphor for someone who is going through a rough time and has to set and gain strength to rise again and that is a cycle that happens all the time in our lives and it is needed to keep us in constant personal development to hopefully get closer to a better version of ourselves every day.
Who have been your greatest influences?
We have a lot of influences; I think the most noticeable for a lot of people is Queens Of The Stone Age. It’s a band that had a really strong impact on us, it’s one of those bands that every song they make no matter how different it is it always makes sense to us. We of course have a lot of other influences, like Royal Blood, Tool, King Gizzard And The Lizzard Wizzard, Arctic Monkeys and even some pop references like Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, etc. Although some might not have a direct and obvious influence in our music, they all inspire us to write more music. And it’s always great to take inspiration from something that has nothing to do with your musical genre and apply it your way on your music.
What first got you into music?
Me personally when I took guitar lessons when I was a kid.
At the time I was really into Green Day and I would watch videos of them and got to see them live and it always gave me that feeling of “I wanna do that so bad!”. So, I signed up for guitar lessons and since then I’ve always wanted to play live and write music. I always say that a dream of mine, as cheesy as it might be, is to play the first chord of one of our songs live and people instantly start singing the song before we even start. It’s an image stuck so deep into my head that I can’t stop until I get to that point and beyond!
Music for me works better than a shrink, nothing better than to feel better or happier after listening to that one song or feeling understood by someone who went through something you might also have been through and they wrote a song about it and you don’t feel alone and it almost gives you a superhuman strength to overcome it. It’s amazing how something so simple can change a lot of lives. I had to get a little bit more cheesy with this question, but a little bit of cheesiness never hurt anyone!
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
The dream would be to have an album produced by Josh Homme from the Queens Of The Stone Age. That would be our paradise, going to a place like Rancho De La Luna and spend a few weeks in the desert working our asses of on new music with him and see how and what he would do with our music.
It’s just one of those goals that seem a little bit far-fetched, but you never know!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Probably something like the Reading Festival, the reason why I think it speaks pretty much for itself!
It’s one of the biggest festivals in the world and getting to play that mainstage must be one of the most thrilling feelings ever! Having that many people there for you and the other bands, just thinking about it gives me chills!
I’d probably be so nervous for something like that, I bet the first two/three songs my legs would be shaking so much that people would think I was just a really great dancer!
And hopefully I would be present enough to take all that in and be extremely grateful for it!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I don’t think we’ve ever gotten weird gifts from our fans, we’re still at a very early point in our careers as musicians so I don’t think we are at that point yet! But if anyone wants to send weird gifts, we’d be more than open to it!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
It would obviously be a big thank you for them wanting to hear more from us! Being in a band and playing live has always been something we love doing and although we aspire to a lot of things for it we don’t expect too much from it, we always make sure we’re doing it for the right reasons for us, which is making music that we would listen to and love, that’s the most important thing in all of this. And when someone comes to us and expresses their love for our music it’s like finding someone who likes the same things as we do and that is an amazing feeling!
We hope you are all keeping safe and strong in these strange times! Be aware of anyone you can help safely and know that there’s always someone there for you! We’re all in this together as it has always been but now more than ever! Take care!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
That’s a really hard question and any answer I give it’ll make me feel bad for not choosing someone else also!
But trying to answer from the top of my head to make it easier on myself I’d say probably Prince!
I miss the sexiness he brought into music, it’s one of those things I feel he just had it in him, I don’t think he was thinking of it when writing music it was just in him by default and I love that!
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
What I love the most about is the feeling of driving in our busted up and completely full of our gear cars! And after playing a live show looking at each other and talking about how we felt it went and feeling like people really were into it. Those moments or transitions you rehearsed thinking of how people would react and getting the exact reaction you expect is amazing!
What I hate the most and it’s not something that would ever get in the way of enjoying being a musician it’s all the behind the scenes stuff, figuring out how and if we’re going to make a video, getting the things delivered for distribution and taking care of registering the songs so we can claim the royalties! All of that paperwork and things we have to prepare for a release, it always feels like it takes way too much time than it should! And I know it is all necessary, but when you finish writing and recording something you just wanna get that out there as soon as possible and share it with everyone! But if in all of this that’s what I hate the most I think I’ll be fine!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I wish there was a way for more people and small bands to be heard a lot easier.
I know that is really hard considering how many people are trying to “make it” in this business, but I truly think that there’s a place for everyone and I feel like sometimes that is really kept from a lot of smaller bands that cannot break through that first bubble.
One of the greatest things in music is that a fan of one band can also love another band just as much, there’s no “stealing” fans or something ridiculous like that! Someone who loves System Of A Down can also love Billie Eilish, and that is amazing! It’s a world that so many different people can share a lot with other different people!
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
I’d have to say the first and only album from “Them Crooked Vultures”.
They are truly the super group in my eyes.
I mean, Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, John Paul Jones playing together?
When I heard their album for the first time it was like a new world of sound opened up to my ears, it’s something so special and so crude, even the way it is recorded it feels like a band playing in their garage like there was no tomorrow, I love it!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl for sure, I don’t really know what about it makes it so special to me, maybe because it’s a bigger and more sensitive version of an album that it makes you feel like you have to take care of it and keep it safely stored for whenever you want to listen to it! And the whole almost romantic feel of setting up the needle, I’m getting a little too excited just writing about it! I’d love to have one of our albums mastered into a Vinyl!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Our best gig to date was the one we had for the release of our second album “Pluto”.
It was at one of the most legendary clubs here in Lisbon called “Sabotage Rock Club” and even having two big concerts happening at the same time in other clubs next to it a lot of people came and we met a few people who were in Lisbon for the first time and just stumbled upon our gig. The place was packed, and everyone was going crazy and really vibing and dancing with our music. I don’t remember sweating so much at a gig in my life, it got to a point I could even open my eyes straight from all the sweat all that movement and dancing caused! It was amazing!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I work in the film industry, I record/mix and write music for films and commercials!
So, I’d probably do just that!
If I couldn’t do that I’d probably be doing something related with design, which is something I also love but keep as a hobby that comes in handy when I need to make something for our band!
It would always have to be something that involves creativity!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I’d have to say what feels obvious to me, being that is something almost utopic!
But it would be Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, Jon Paul Jones, Timbaland and Billie Eilish. That would be a very interesting scenario to experience, what conversations would surface from that collective of interesting people that I admire. I’d probably just remain silent nodding my head and observing as creepy as that may sound!
What’s next for the band?
Besides the release of our new album, we can’t wait until it’s safe again to have and play gigs!
We want to play live as much as we can!
Show and experience right then and there what we’ve been working on and how people react to it!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We’re in almost all social media! We try to keep active in all of the accounts! You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon! You name it!
Hopefully soon we’ll launch our own website with a Merch store, we’re currently working on it and we’ll let everyone know when it’s up!
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I’ve never had one before, but I’ve heard a lot about them and seen them all over the internet!
I want to try and chime in that topic after tasting one for the first time! I don’t think we have them here in Portugal, so I’ll let that question on hold until I have one!
But from a distance, clearly the company that makes them has a really strong opinion on what they are, although they do look like biscuits! Maybe that questions will never meet its conclusion!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you for having us for this interview! It’s always fun to answer these types of questions! I hope you guys liked it as much as we did!
If you want to follow us just search “Places Around The Sun” in your social media of choice and hopefully you’ll feel like you want stick around with us!
Take care everyone! See you around!
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