​Interview With Mike Protich: Red Sun Rising

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Ohio rockers Red Sun Rising return with their brand new sophomore album Thread, released on March 30th (Concord Music/Razor & Tie). Produced by Matt Hyde (Deftones, AFI, Porno For Pyros) and mixed by Jay Ruston, Thread continues to expand on Red Sun Rising’s concept of mixing different genres and influences to create a unique sound. Lead vocalist Mike Protich was kind enough to take some time to talk with us about the new album and the bands tour plans for the rest of the year.

Alt Revolt: Thanks for taking a few minutes of your afternoon to speak with me.

Mike Protich: Thanks for having me.

Alt Revolt: Congratulations on the new album!

Mike Protich: Thank you!

Alt Revolt: Are you excited for the fans to finally hear it?

Mike Protich: Yeah. Absolutely! We are chomping at the bit to get it out there.

Alt Revolt: ​Where there any differences in the writing and recording of this album compared to your debut album “Polyester Zeal”?

Mike Protich: I think one of the biggest differences with “Polyester Zeal” was it was mostly written and recorded by Ryan Williams and I. When Polyester was finished, we put the band together which is the one we have today. It was a band of musicians that we’ve known for a long time so they’re good friends of ours so it was easy to start gelling with musicians on the road.

We toured for two and a half years together. By the time we got to the writing process of “Thread”, we were all kind of on the same page with the direction that we wanted to take the record. We were hoping to take the production to a more raw sound than “Polyester Zeal”. We have new band members that bring new influences and flavors that weren’t on the “Polyester Zeal” record and the sound evolved that way.

Alt Revolt: Is that how you ended up with the title “Thread”?

Mike Protich: We live by a ideology not to be pigoned holed to a genre of music. We write music that we love and don’t care what that sounds like and if it fits in a certain musical category. It’s our music and our sound. This music represents the fact that we utilize all our influences from different genres and different areas of music and thread it all together to get our own sound.

Alt Revolt: How has the reaction been to the singles and videos released so far?

Mike Protich: It’s been phenomenal! We’ve had our first headlining show two days ago. We played a few of the news ones live and the fans were singing them back to us. The feedback on our social platforms has been phenomenal. We are really excited for the record to be released very soon. We are excited for how they’re going to take the rest of it.

Alt Revolt: Do you have plans to work more newer songs into the setlist as the tour progresses?

Mike Protich: Absolutely! We are starting to have a little time to work on the new songs during soundcheck. I wouldn’t be surprised by the tail end of the tour that we’re playing half of “Polyester Zeal” and half of “Thread”.

Alt Revolt: Did you have a concept in mind for the album cover or did you have an artist come up with one?

Mike Protich: We had a concept in mind. We wanted to represent the growth of the band. We used the flower to represent our five members. It also represents a bit of melancholy of the record. If you look at the cover quickly you see the flowers and bright colors but if you look closer you see the darker element representing the lyrics and the meaning behind the songs. That juxtaposition is kind of a trend within a band. You always aim to have very singable or beautiful melodies even when the lyrics are very dark and personal. We felt like the imagery really captured that.

Alt Revolt: Do you have any favorite songs from the new album or is it tough to pick?

Mike Protich: It’s tough to pick because you know they’re like children and proud of every single one of them.  The ones that are very personal to me would be ‘Stealing Life’, ‘El Lazo’, and ‘Left For Dead’. There’s also some subject matter on this record that from my personal life that I’ve never really delved into on previous work. So that’s exciting and strange for me to get that out there at the same time.

Alt Revolt: One of my favorites on the album is ‘Clarity’.

Mike Protich: ‘Clarity’ is one of those songs that Ryan Williams and I wrote together lyrically. It’s very personal to us and the fans as well. We never put generic words in our songs to sound cool. We make sure that it’s something we believe in or emphasize in telling a story or actual feeling from our band members.

Alt Revolt: How do fans interpret your songs?

Mike Protich: We encourage people to find their own meaning. The meanings are going to be different to us and to other individuals but that’s the beauty of art. That’s what’s great about music. We can release our own feelings and it can mean something. We love hearing from fans that “This song meant so much to me”. It may not be what the song was about to us but to them that is what is important. That is why you do it!

Alt Revolt: Do you stay connected with your fans via social media?

Mike Protich: Yes. It is always us. Every once in a while we have an administrator post something generic saying we need to get some information out but when we’re responding and the fans are online, they should definitely know that is us responding to them.

Alt Revolt: Can you talk about your tour plans for the rest of the year?

Mike Protich: Yes. We are going to finish our first headlining tour this spring and it’s going to take us all the way up to the end of April. I would encourage people to get out and see that. It will be in clubs with a intimate setting. It will be in front of our fans and we are really excited about it. And then that takes us into festival season probably doing a lot of the major rock festivals and then in between those dates we will be supporting The Used. After The Used we go right into Godsmack and Shinedown. We’re going to be very very busy.

Alt Revolt: Thanks for taking time to talk. We look forward to catching you out on tour in 2018.

Mike Protich: Appreciate it. Thanks!

Interview by Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt Magazine