Founded in June of 2014, Sullen Waves is a Los Angeles, CA-based alternative/punk/rock trio featuring Alex Pratsyuk (vox, guitar), Sal Ramazzini (bass), and Bruno Ragolia (drums). With a sound very reminiscent of Nirvana, which is by ZERO means a bad thing (read our “Seven” song review here), Sullen Waves is currently recording material for their debut release. We recently caught up with Alex Pratsyuk to learn as much as we can about this bad-ass budding band!
For those not familiar with the band, may you tell us a little bit about how and when you came to be?
Pratsyuk: Sullen Waves was formed in the summer of 2014. I had a handful of songs written and was ready to record them. At the time I worked with various musicians but couldn’t achieve the desired sound until I met Sal and Bruno. I was familiar with Sal’s musical abilities through several recording projects that we did together back in school. Sal introduced me to Bruno and within only five rehearsals, we were ready to record!
You just released your debut single “Seven,” help us understand why you chose to release this song first?
Pratsyuk: I think “Seven” is a good introduction to Sullen Waves. It’s fun, short and straight to the point. Everyone in our circle of friends seemed to like it, so I thought we’d put it out there first.
Check out the song “Seven”.
To that point, your debut EP Sense of Emergency, will see pre-orders go online circa early March. When is the album due out and what can people expect?
Pratsyuk: I don’t want to spoil the surprise but it’ll be a collection of songs I wrote over the past several years and they all have different stories behind them. No release date just yet.
The Nirvana similarities are BIG, and this is by NO means a bad thing. Comment on the likeness to their sound.
Pratsyuk: Nirvana has been there for me from very early on. A friend of mine introduced me to Nirvana’s Nevermind back when I was thirteen years old and it blew me away. They’ve been my favorite band ever since. Essentially it was the combination of a heavy guitar sound, the energy, Kurt Cobain’s voice and the fact that I could always relate to the emotional context of the songs. Then there was also the insane, powerful drum rhythms perfectly executed by Dave Grohl and off course, Krist Novoselic’s scratchy bass tones that inspired me to play bass guitar for a while.
In a recent song review we noted that “the music, the lyrics, the unbridled angsty passion, and Alex Pratsyuk’s vocals/screams are all SO reminiscent of In Utero-era Nirvana that it’s uncanny.” What say you to this comparison?
Pratsyuk: I liked that review, it was a great compliment. I think it was spot on and written by someone who’s as much of a Nirvana fan as I am. I miss Kurt’s music but I’m not really planning on bringing the In Utero-era back to life, rather evolve it into something new and different. This is only the beginning.
What are your sonic influences? Can you also name some of the newer rock/metal bands ya dig.
Pratsyuk: The first bands that I listened to were Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica, The Prodigy and No Doubt (I think only because I had a huge crush on Gwen). Then it was all about Nirvana, Oasis, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, Placebo, Blur, Garbage, The Cardigans, Bjork for her incredible vocal abilities, The Vines, The Doors, Soundgarden, early Muse. More recent bands would include Them Crooked Vultures, Dead Sara, Porcupine Tree, Queens of The Stone Age, Beady Eye, St. Vincent, Arctic Monkeys. The Kills.
What is your writing process like?
Pratsyuk: I always write the music first, then lay the vocal melodies over it and the lyrics usually go last.
Any special or fun story behind the name of the band? What does it “mean”?
Pratsyuk: Umm… fun story… it seemed like it was the only available name left of all the band names that I had gone through. Jokes aside though, Sullen resonates really well with the moodiness of my songs and Waves stands for the sound waves or frequencies.
What do you think of the current state of the rock/metal world?
Pratsyuk: To be honest I’m not thrilled with the mainstream. But I think you can always find a handful of good bands if you look around, especially with the amount of music out there these days, it’s hard not to find some great stuff.
Do you have any touring plans in support of the new recording?
Pratsyuk: Yes, but no specific dates are available just yet.