Dutch based outfit SUN TRAVELLERS is an international band, which was formed by Italians Luca Giustiniani (guitars, bass) and MarcAntonio Spaventi (keyboards, drums), Swedish Paul Ehn (keyboards, vocals) and Scotsman Gordon Todd (vocals) in 2006. All four are engineers with an education in music technology, and it was while first recording for local artists and then later teaching in Audio and Web classes that the foursome started to develop and explore their own material. Their debut album Excursions was released in the spring of 2010.
I got in touch with the band and Luca Giustiniani
kindly answered my questions.
When and by whom was your band born ? Did any of you, past and present
members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band ?
formed the band during 2006, after meeting Paul Ehn (keyboards), Gordon Todd
and MarcAntonio Spaventi (keyboards and drums) in
Amsterdam, where we all had relocated recently.
Paul was co-owner of DHS
Studios back in Sweden and had been writing so much material of his own. We
immediately complemented each other with his complex keyboard
exploring all possible voicings, and my trusted Stratocaster on
Gordon was teaching audio and music theory at SAE for a long time, I
really admired him and soon noticed he had such a brilliant voice, with
a natural gift and feel for harmonies, so I invited him to join
With MarcAntonio I had started working on a couple of instrumental
projects, we are both so much into soundtracks, but we never actually got
around to finish, so there is still material that I'd like to complete and
release some day.
We were (and are..) all working day jobs too, so it took
us over two years to write and record enough material
When we were almost ready we were blessed to meet up
with fabulous drummer Tom Pettit (Très.B), so we were able to record the
album with him, except for a couple of my instrumentals, where my mate Jon
Miller appears on drums and percussion.
These pieces needed a free form
tribal climax and Jon was the only one patient enough to be able to follow me
Why did you choose that name and which
bands were you influenced by ?
The name came from some visions I had
long time ago, inspired by space sci-fi and the idea of travelling
into cosmos. I also had these mind blowing lyrics resonating in my
ever since, Roger Waters' Two Suns in the Sunset, and Richard Wright'
Remember a Day.
Many cosmic visions of 60s and 70s comic books and cover
art contributed into that as well. Those were the days when technology
was beginning to influence radically all forms of art. We were all young
kids in the 70s, being exposed to certain experiences like Star Wars and all
that lushous space rock at such an early age I guess left an indelible
I also love taking unusual sightseeing photographs
and distorting them to fit into my visions, I feel this form of visual art
deeply bound to my music. In the end, because the band name sounded like a
travel agency, Paul and Gordon suggested it would be an idea to name our
albums after promotional slogans from agencies, so here we go, watch out for
the next journey proposal.
You are all sound
engineers working for other artists. Making your own album must be like
a dentist performing root canal treatment on himself. How is this
process in your band ?
Actually that is a sort of misconception
about us, we have been working for other artists very shortly, soon
realizing we didn't want to keep doing it.
When you move your first steps
in an audio institute such as SAE you get to know some amazing emerging
artists that can really be an eye opener.
Just when things were starting
to get serious about engineering in the studio and live (Suus de Groot,
John Doe's Revenge), I realized that wasn't what I wanted.
I wanted to
develop my own project, focus on my guitar playing, make our music sound
really good and go our own way.
So in the end it wasn't a painful approach
at all, rather instead a beautiful epiphany.
Your debut album Excursions was released last year. Please tell
us more about this album.
Excursions was created mainly from our
individual compositions, some written way back in the years, which
we re-arranged and partially re-wrote.
It was a very introspective journey
for us, we felt free to expose our inside out, our dreams, our thoughts about
the crisis we are going through.
We heard these interior voices that
wanted us out of our day jobs routine, to follow a different direction that
had remained unseen for too long.
There was too much left unspoken that
needed to be revealed to tell about our real selves.
I was the executive
producer, put most of my savings into the project, and right after the master
was ready I took the time to contact alternative radio stations and
music magazines that would be interested in reviewing the album.
recorded drums, initial bass lines and rhythm guitar on a vintage SSL console
with Pro Tools, with most of piano and keyboard leads pre-recorded at Paul's
Then we overdubbed Gordon and Paul vocals, some
additional bass and rhythm guitar parts, and finally my guitar solos and
lap steel on my boat, where I also worked on the sampling, panning effects
and mixing automation.
For those of us
unfamiliar with your music; how would you describe you music
We have different roots and we are nicely assorted I think, like a
kaleidoscope showing different faces and colours.
Rock-blues, early metal,
acoustic fingerpicking, early electronica, atmospheric soundtracks, vocal
harmonies, psychedelic journeys, multi-instrumental adventures.
we do, doesn't matter what comes first, we can enjoy a raw 3' rock'n'roll or
a 20' full dynamic piece, the song structure can be as free as we
What have you been up to since the
release of that album and what is your plans for the immediate future
Right now we are I guess in our power trio rock-blues moment, the
line-up has changed, with Mehdi Benkirane on bass and Matt Ogden on
I am not sure how much of the material we are playing will be
released in our next project, it is still too raw, but so alive and
Paul had to move back to Sweden soon after Excursions
was released, so there will be plenty of material we won't probably be
able to play live, but we are still writing and developing songs together
I see two parallel tracks in front of us, one more
essential and live oriented, one more based on multi-layered
You can hear this already in Excursions at times, and
I think our next release could be as well a double album expanding this
To wrap up this interview, is there
anything you want to add to this interview ?
Thank you so much
for having us. ProgArchives is a focal reference for many of us.
to believe that the best approach to music doesn't need to fall into any
Let it come from your heart, let it be strange,
upsetting, and mutational as you like.
Thank you to Luca for this interview
Their PA profile is here and their homepage is here