Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Niagara Gazette "Night and Day" Interview
March 20th, 2008
Joseph Stocker and Zak Ward are stage veterans, but the two musicians will once again get to feel first-time jitters at tonight's local music showcase in Niagara Falls.
Accomplished for their work on other projects, Stocker and Ward will perform their first live show together as Son of the Sun at tonight's event at the Hard Rock Cafe.
The two Niagara Falls natives and frequent collaborators bring to the stage what has been a cross-country project. Stocker would write the music in the Falls, then Ward would record the song in Los Angeles. From there, Ward would e-mail the material back to Stocker for production.
The band's first effort is a four-song EP that was released on vintage-style 7-inch records — "I'm a vinyl junkie," Stocker said, "I personally think it sounds better." The EP — accompanied by either a CD or Internet download — has received solid reviews to date, with the British Web site unsigned-artists.co.uk featuring Son of the Sun on its home page and MySpace music sales holding steady.
With Ward on vocals and bass, and Stocker on guitar, keyboard and drums, Son of the Sun features a folksy sound with rock elements thrown in as well as a hint of country.
"The words people keep saying are 'fresh,' 'new.' A lot of people just think it's something different," Stocker said.
"We were getting (positive) reviews and shows before the record even came out," said Ward, attributing the buzz to the music's placement on the Internet.
Trained on the drums, Stocker learned how to play guitar a year ago in order to gain more control over his work. He had more input with Son of the Sun's music than he has in his past work, which suits both musicians just fine.
"This is me taking control in that aspect — like an old producer would," Stocker said.
"Before, I would write, perform, then think about recording the music," Ward said. "Now, I record, then worry about the rest later."
Tonight's concert serves as a benefit for Music is Art, the local group dedicated to keeping arts education alive. The show is also in conjunction with Hard Rock International's March on Stage, a global live music series featuring emerging artists.
Also featured tonight will be veteran local rockers Klear, the alternative rock band Agent Me and Falls-based female rapper Wenzday Atemz. The Western New York music scene, Ward said, is full of talented performers, some of whom will fill out Son of the Sun on stage.
"It's just cool that we can grab people from different areas we know and put a band together," said Ward, who said members of the Radiohead tribute band Karma Police will perform with them. "There's such a pool of talent in Western New York. It's unbelievable."
In addition to pushing toward a full-length album, Son of the Sun is entertaining several licensing opportunities with movie and commercial producers, Stocker said. Also in the mix to be featured as an artist of the week on iTunes, both men would like to have the band lead to music being a full-time job.
"We just want to keep making groovy music," Stocker said.
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Western New York Music Showcase featuring Son of the Sun, Klear, Agent Me and Wenzday Atemz with Denisha Osbourne and Tomorrow Allen
• WHEN: 7 tonight
• WHERE: Hard Rock Cafe, 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls
• DETAILS: The event is a benefit for Music is Art, a group dedicated to keeping arts education alive in local schools; attendees can enter a raffle to win a guitar autographed by the Goo Goo Dolls
• MORE INFORMATION: Call 282-0007
at 1:09 PM