EMQ’s With Sunbeam Overdrive
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with French Progressive/ Alternative Rock band, Sunbeam Overdrive. Huge thanks to them 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?
We are Sunbeam Overdrive, hailing from Marseille, the south of France, and we play a blend of proggy/90s alternative rock, with a touch of modern tones like djent or neo prog. If you’re into bands like Soundgarden, Tool, Pantera, Car Bomb or Karnivool, you might want to give us a listen! As for the band’s history, Bruno (bass) and Karim (vocals) met Tom (guitars) when they went recording at his studio with their respective bands at the time, and Laurent (drums) has been around for a long time in the professional music scene of France’s south. So, we all knew each other before the band was formed, and Tom picked the other three members because he thought they were the right choice when Sunbeam Overdrive was created in late 2019. The first show was at Euroblast Festival in Germany, but then the pandemic happened so the band focused on composing and recording the first album throughout 2020 and 2021; getting back on stage in late 2021 to open for Psykup and Ze Gran Zeft.
How did you come up with your band name?
Sunbeam Overdrive was a song from Tom’s former band, Tom Abrigan and the Shrunken Heads. It was about speed records set in Lake Bonneville, Utah (USA). Sunbeam was one of the car brands racing there, and Overdrive is linked to Sunbeam because of the blinding sunlight found there.
What Country / Region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?
We’re from Marseille, the 2nd biggest city in France, famous for providing many of France’s big rap names. However we have a vibrant rock, metal and punk scene, especially underground, with a few bands like Landmvrks, Eths, Acod, and more… It’s actually an interesting time for the scene right now, and not only in Marseille or in France, because there’s a trend now in pop culture and in this post-covid era that is making rock and metal cool again, especially among youth, like they are hungry for the intensity of the sound and experience that amplified live music can give you. I think good days are ahead of us, and we’re glad to be part of that.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our album “Diama” is out on May 12th, and it’s about elevation, travel, adventure, energy. It’s meant to lift you up yet make you endure the storm both inside and outside of yourself. It’ll come with the videoclip for the single “Diama”. We already released one video in March (‘Out Of Plato’s Cave’) and one single in April (‘Crimson Stains’).
Who have been your greatest influences?
We all grew up listening to bands like Tool, Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, David Bowie, Meshuggah, Fu Manchu, The Beatles, Devin Townsend, Deftones, Porcupine Tree, Down, Corrosion Of Conformity, Dillinger Escape Plan, Chevelle, Filter… So it felt pretty natural for us to express ourselves through music that blends the richness and sophistication of prog with the savage tones of 90s alternative rock.
What first got you into music?
Nirvana, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Tom the guitarist was 11, at his grandparents’ with his brother in front of the small TV they used to watch cartoons on, and there they saw that videoclip. When the chorus came in they were like “He’s shouting, that is awesome!”. As for Karim, the band’s vocalist, when he was 13, he heard that same Nirvana song played on the radio on the way to school, and he instantly knew that’s what he wanted to do, one way or another.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Devin Townsend, Eddie Vedder, Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl… that would be one hell of a supergroup.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
There are so many, but let’s say Hellfest, because it’s become France’s flagship event for metal, and one of Europe’s biggest festivals, improving every year, and with the most immersive out-of-this-world site… We’ve been going for years now, Karim as a festival-goer and Tom for guitar/amp/string/pickup showcases, and playing there as a band would kind of affirm our place among the flourishing French scene.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Nothing is weird for a metalhead…
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Be sophisticated, go alternative! Oh, and go to concerts, especially small and medium venues, which are the essence of live music much more than huge arena shows.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Chris Cornell and David Bowie. Yeah, that’s two but it’s already hard enough to pick, and we are two people answering this interview.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
What we enjoy the most about being a musician is expressing ourselves with our own language, our own rules, and going where words cannot go. What do we hate? How difficult it is to be considered, let alone recognized, in our own country.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
We would cancel the whole online streaming thing and go back to CDs and vinyl…
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Far Beyond the Superunknown Lateralus (lol).
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
CDs and cassettes.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Our first gig with the current lineup in late 2021, opening for Psykup and Ze Gran Zeft in our hometown Marseille, south of France.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Tom has developed a passion and talent for fine coffee-making, so he would probably go for a barista. As for Karim, apart from music, travel is what keeps him going and he’s done a few bike trips across Europe so far, retrieving a genuine feeling of adventure. So, he would probably just travel on a bike, satisfied with the most basic comfort possible, and feeding on whatever life offers on the way.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
David Bowie, Sebastien Loeb, Tatiana Shmayluk, Corey Taylor, Mathilde Panot (French MP): a mix of talent, passion, values and strong personalities that we think would be even tastier than the dinner itself!
What’s next for the band?
Well, we have a couple of shows in our region right after the release, especially an exciting night opening for ten56 at Toulon’s Omega Live venue. Beyond that, we will be looking into our possibilities to work with a booking agency to get on tour in other parts of France and beyond borders, because the sunbeam needs to travel across Europe soon! The plan: get people to listen to our album “Diama”, play shows everywhere we can share the stage with cool bands, and start to prepare new material for future releases…
What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
This is the link tree where you will find absolutely everything, from our social media to our streaming profiles and even album pre-saves: https://linktr.ee/sunbeamoverdrive
Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun, a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?
Karim: Having spent a lot of time in the UK and Ireland, I’d say a Bap; but I should probably double-check with my English roommate, she’s from Gloucestershire so she must have her say on this crucial question! Edit: she was impressed I knew about that, and she talked about some other alternative that would be a ‘sarnie.’
Thank you for your time.
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