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NEWS

A Chat with JOHN TRAGER AND THE BLACK SUNRISE

Melbourne musician John Trager takes time out before his upcoming gig at the Espy to tell us how he finally found his band The Black Sunrise, and what we can expect from one of their live shows



Aside from winning song-writing awards, placing in battle of the bands competitions and, as a result of both, playing in front of thousands, JOHN TRAGER has already released his debut six song EP. That being said, he is definitely one to look out for during the first round of the Emergenza festival in Melbourne this year. He finally found the perfect band to help him realise his solo material live, and he calls them THE BLACK SUNRISE. You’ll have your chance to see them play live at the Epsy on the 21st this month in Melbourne. Before the show, he explains how the band got together, what they’re up to, and what’s in store for their audience at the Espy on the 21st.

I SEE YOU HAVE A LOT OF SOLO MATERIAL OUT ALREADY. HOW DID YOU GET TOGETHER WITH THE BLACK SUNRISE?

After leaving my last band to focus on my own material, and performing solo acoustic shows for a year or so, I wanted to start gigging with a band that could bring my records to life. To showcase the different energies in my song writing I decided to create two bands, one which was more mellow and acoustic based, and the other, a full blown rock band. I advertised online for talented and enthusiastic musicians and was very lucky to find the guys and gal now known as The Black Sunrise.

IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Dark, heartfelt pop.

WHAT'S YOUR SONG WRITING PROCESS LIKE?

My process for writing songs varies. Most of the time it starts with a couple of chords, a melody and a few lyrical ideas. Other times it begins with a few lines of poetry, and I construct the tune around them. When I’m really inspired, a whole song can write itself in 15 to 20 minutes, but a few of the songs off Pop Songs & Panic Attacks! took me more than 5 years to finish.

YOU'VE ALREADY RELEASED YOUR FIRST EP, POP SONGS AND PANIC ATTACKS. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THE TIME YOU'VE PUT IN THE STUDIO? ANY PLANS TO RECORD AGAIN IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I’m very blessed to work with an exceptionally talented producer and the nicest guy in the world you’ll meet, Michael Zammit from Airwaves Studio. I think I’m at my happiest in the studio, especially when we finish the song and I get to listen back to what once was nothing more than some ideas in my head. At the end of the year I’m releasing my second EP The Dark Road. I’m really excited about this record. I think it’s significantly better than my first and I got to mix it in Studio 301 in Byron Bay with Jordan Power (Lady Gaga, Powderfinger, Delta Goodrem) and mastered by Leon Zervos (Rhianna, Fall Out Boy, INSX) in Studio 301 in Sydney.

THE VIDEO FOR “I DON'T WANNA WAKE UP” IS HILARIOUS. CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH WHAT IT WAS LIKE FILMING THAT?

The “I Don’t Wanna Wake Up!” video was a lot of fun to film. It was my first music video and the director Liam Firmanger and I wanted to make a video that was humorous and something we hadn’t seen before. We threw some ideas around one night over a few beers, and the next thing I knew we were driving around Melbourne filming a six foot earth ball and a dwarf... we defiantly got a lot of attention filming the clip. People couldn’t help but stop and check out what we were up to.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO TAKE YOUR CHANCES WITH THE EMERGENZA FESTIVAL?

I think the Emergenza Festival presents a great opportunity for emerging acts to perform in established venues, we had The Black Sunrise ‘gig ready’ and thought the festival was the perfect opportunity to showcase the new material we’d been working on in front of an audience.

HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THIS STAGE IN THE COMPETITION?

Lots of rehearsal and practicing my rock moves in the mirror, LOL.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT THE FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE?

Performing live again!!! This is the first outing for The Black Sunrise, I’m really lucky to be playing with some of Melbourne’s most talented musicians and I can’t wait to feel the energy of a live audience.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO GAIN FROM THE EMERGENZA EXPERIENCE?

The opportunity to perform in front of a live crowd again after a long break away from the stage. I’m also looking forward to checking out the other bands. The great thing about the Melbourne music scene is how many talented and diverse sounding acts are out there gigging.

WHERE DO YOU PICTURE YOURSELF FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?

Hopefully living the dream… making a living from music by touring nationally and internationally, recording and writing full-time, and building a solid fan base of loyal fans who feel a connection to the lyrics and themes in my music.