Q&A with Red Sun Rising frontman Mike Protich
Akron, Ohio rockers Red Sun Rising have been on a roll lately. After a four-month climb, the group just scored their first No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart (dated October 31) with “The Otherside.” This is also the band’s debut single from the their label, Razor and Tie.
Red Sun Rising is on the road with All That Remains and We Came As Romans in support of the HardDrive Live Tour. They’ll make their way through Denver this Wednesday, October 28 at the Summit Music Hall. General admission tickets are still available for $19.99 here.
Lead singer Mike Protich recently spent a few minutes with Denver’s Dirty to talk about the bands’ backstory, fanbase, and their creative process. Check out the recent interview, below:
What is the backstory behind RSR?
Mike: The band started in 2007…ish? Ryan and I, the guitar player, started the band. We wrote songs for about a year together and then we decided to actually put a band together. We started gigging as Red Sun Rising probably around 2008. We did some independent records, toured a lot independently and then we finally got picked up by a management company, Razor & Tie, last November, actually. After not too long we went out, made the record and here we are now.
How did your relationship with Razor and Tie begin?
We signed with a management company first and there were a couple of labels that were talking with our management. We were on tour with Pop Evil at the time, still not signed to a label, just the management, so the record wasn’t even done yet. We were just playing songs from our independent career. They were going to have a showcase at the New York show, so Razor and Tie was like “No, there’s other labels interested in coming to the showcase so we’re just going to do something ourselves. How quickly can the guys get a show together in their hometown of Akron?” They gave us not even a week. They were like “they can’t promote it though,” but we did it all by word of mouth and we’re popular where we’re from. We packed up, went up there and they flew in to Akron, which is really cool. It meant a lot to us that the owner of Razor and Tie came out to our hometown, Akron, to see us. We thought that was cool. We liked everything they had to say. I can’t say enough about Razor and Tie, they really let us be artists. They didn’t interfere with that creative aspect.
Did your fan base start locally?
Yes, definably. There at Akron and Kent State, which is very close in Kent, Ohio, just bouncing in between those two. Some bands go out and tour right away. We spent a couple of years just trying to find bigger gigs and open for bigger bands coming through and try to build it from the core, so we tried to just to be as big as we possibly could from the Akron area and expanded from there. That’s the approach we took. There’s no right or wrong, but that seemed to work for us. It all started in NorthEast Ohio.
Tell us about your creative process.
It’s been pretty consistent over the years, starting with just Ryan and I. Other band members are starting to incorporate some stuff and we welcome that. The songs usually start with Ryan and I…we’ll both sit down and either myself or Ryan has a riff, melody or lyric. It all comes from different places. Ryan and I will sit down with a couple acoustic guitars, build a structure, find a melody, write lyrics and then we present it to the band. Each band member then jumps in with their own individual instrument.
Plans for the future?
Honestly, we just really want to do this for a very long time. We’re more focused on the longevity of being able to make this our career, to make this our lives. This is our passion and we don’t want to do anything else. I see us still pushing and writing music. We’re constantly writing music everyday. I think a lot of people, when they see a band that gets signed and they’re playing all these sick festivals and tours like we’re doing now…..it’s almost more work to stay at that level. We’re never settling, we’re not like “Oh we made it” because it’s not like that. Yes, we’ve gotten to the next level, but we know that we have a lot more work to do. In five years, I think you’ll still see is releasing new music and playing and hopefully growing that fanbase even larger.
Things are so much different in the music industry. How do feel about the new Spotify/social media era?
I have always embraced changes…that’s all you can do. Fortunately, for me, I’m young enough that when I first started a band I at least had MySpace, which is sounds funny because MySpace is so archaic. I’ve at least had that. So I grew up in a world that was already headed towards social media. It was a new way for people to get music and spread the word. I think it’s almost fun in a way…I enjoy the business aspect of it because now you have to be more creative about how you spread your music. That becomes challenging and fun. Rather than just saying “we’ll just stick it on the radio.” You can’t do that anymore. You have to do radio AND find other creative ways through social media and Spotify. I like it because it allows you to be more creative in the business and marketing end of things.