Empire Of The Sun

12 July 2012 | 3:18 pm | Tony McMahon

“You know, we always talk about recording again. It would be a daunting task though."

Legendary Surf Coast two-piece Sons Of The Sun released only one EP, but the quality of the record ensured that their cult status matched that of other, much more prolific outfits. That the late, great Magic Dirt bassist Dean Turner produced the record didn't hurt any, either. Sons Of The Sun are playing shows again now after a long hiatus, but, as one half of the band Matt Sonic tells Inpress, it's not right to call this a re-formation.

“Well it's funny, Sons Of The Sun never really broke up, so getting back together is actually just us finding time to play a couple of shows again. Last time we played was three years ago to pay tribute to our mentor Dean Turner and, since then, Johnny [Rollins, drummer] and I have just been crazy busy with other projects. About two months ago, Johnny just texted me saying, 'I've got some time, wanna play some shows?' I could never say no to this. The band is really special to both of us. We're advertising them as 'once-off reunion shows' though, as we just didn't want to kid people into thinking that we would be playing all the time again.”

Given the strong cult following of the Sons Of The Sun EP, Inpress figures there would be a lot of people interested to know if the band getting back together means we might see another record. Sonic doesn't rule it out entirely. “You know, we always talk about recording again. It would be a daunting task though. The EP we did with Dean is a really ephemeral record, a time when so many unique facets of all our lives were just aligned, and I'd say we'd have to find ourselves in a similar spot to record the band again. We were never a band to just pump out things in the hope it would be okay. We believed in that EP so much, and knew exactly what we were saying. It's been fun digging back through all of the unrecorded Sons Of The Sun songs though. There are at least ten songs that we didn't record, so there's plenty of music there.”

When it comes to the subject of what it was like working with Dean Turner, Sonic has nothing but praise. “Dean completely nailed our sound, and just walked us straight up to our vision. He was the perfect man, at the perfect time. We both had never really had anyone believe in what we were doing, then Dean came along and just nursed our baby and really encouraged us to be bold. Musically, he really enjoyed stripping the songs back to their bare bones even further than we had, and massaging all of the strengths in our music. You can totally hear this on the EP. Dean was like the guru. Recording with Dean was like, when you were playing music, he would make you put in 190% then in between you could just sit around and share each other's secrets of the universe. It was the best.”

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Talking of sharing secrets, the question of Magic Dirt and/ or other rock'n'roll anecdotes simply has to be asked in a situation such as this one. Just like a good re-listen to Sons Of The Sun all these years later, Sonic doesn't disappoint. “I think maybe one of the most bizarre nights I've had was touring through regional Australia with Magic Dirt, and driving to Coober Pedy to play. We played underground at the Opal Inn, which was bizarre enough, but the night ended with a hard-drinking miner trying to sell his 16-year-old daughter 'Angel' to myself, Raul or Robbo. I realised at this point how very far rock'n'roll can take you away from your comforts. None of us bought her, though I've always wondered exactly what his price might have been.”