Year of the LotusYear of the Locust – It’s “Sunrise”
By Dave Schwartz

Year of the Locust is a small band that’s getting bigger.  Their last record, “Devolver,” which was released in 2016, made a bit of noise but their new single, “Sunrise,” is making more.  I caught up with Awesome Ray Ray (Raeshwan Greene) and Scotty Mac (Scot McGiveron) when they called in from the road – Lincoln, Nebraska.  

DB:  Well, first of all congratulations.  You’ve got a new single out.  I bet you didn’t know that – Did you know that?  (laughter)

SM:  No, it’s funny, we’re very aware that “Sunrise” is our new single out on YouTube and everything.  (Video Directed by Steve Sage Productions, Song Engineered and Produced by Brian Bonds)

ARR:  Yeah, we’re enjoying the wave brother.

DB:  (laughs) Well, take a moment and tell me about the record and how it came together.

SM:  Last year we were out on tour with Saliva, Saving Abel and Tantric.  One of the members of Tantric was Brian Bonds, formerly of Florida Georgia Line.  We took a liking to him and all got to be good buddies.  And so he ended up producing some of the songs for us.  And it was a wild time in the Catskill Mountains in New York.  So here we are.  We created something with everybody in the band and we captured the last horrible thing that ever happened to Awesome Ray Ray here.  (laughter)

DB:  Yeah, for anyone who’s seen the video they know that it really tells a story.  I was curious how it all came about.  It’s rather tragic to hear that it might be more than a fabrication and actually have shreds of reality to it.

SM:  Yeah, it actually does.  What happened was I came up with a concept while we were doing pre-production up in the Catskill Mountains.  We had the video scheduled and we wanted to tell the story of what really happened.  So we got together as a group and wrote the lyrics out and I took a page out of my life, as the singer and we wrote a video that was visually going to be completed.  We had the whole concept for it. 

ARR:  That’s how it came together brother.  “Sunrise” is the story of a man that had been betrayed.  We wrote it out and it ended up being really fun!

DB:  I like that all of your videos do have a storyline to them.  It’s refreshing.  There are a lot of performance videos out there and sometimes that’s very appropriate to the song.  But other times the story element really helps bring the song to life. 

SM:  I very much agree.  If your roots are in folk, honestly folk music is storytelling at its best.  We’re a rock band and so we’re kind of bringing that to life our way.  So you talk about experiences and it’s from the heart and it’s all about what actually happened.  That’s the theme for us I guess – the truth, you know?  Four chords and the truth my brother.

DB:  (laughs)  I haven’t heard that one in a while, that’s very good. 

SM:  That’s from my guitar player (Tyler Hensley), the outlaw from West Virginia.  Four chords and the truth is all I ever wanted to create.  That’s a quote from him.  He’s in the club and we’re on the bus outside the club in (Lincoln) Nebraska.  I think it’s a great way to look at it.  To just kind of get to the point, ya know?

DB:  Well you do get to the heart of the point with that one, definitely.  I understand that the song itself, “Sunrise” came together in about an hour.  That’s, well it would be easy to call it unexpected but it’s kind of ridiculous actually. 

ARR:  Actually, believe it or not it was less than an hour.  It was more like 15-20 minutes max.

PH: This is Hellraiser (Peter Hellers), the lead guitar player.  The funny thing about that, we were just about to wrap up - we had already been working for about 12 hours writing two other songs for this record - so Scotty comes in from taking a couple of minutes outside to write some lyrics and melodies and he just starts playing these chords.  And I’m like; wait a minute, what the hell was that?  So about a half hour later we had the frame work for “Sunrise”.  When everybody heard that it was like, yeah, we have to do this and we have to do this right now because if we don’t, we’re going to lose it.   

DB:  You’re in Lincoln, Nebraska tonight.  Out on tour with Starset.  How has the tour been going? 

SM:  We’re about half way through the tour.  Honestly man, the tour has been amazing.  The Starset guys are awesome.  We’re also out with Immersion, a band from up-state New York.  And Pallisades – those guys are great too.  This is a really attitude tour – New York, New Jersey…  It’s been a fantastic tour.  We’ve really enjoyed it, incredible bands and incredible sights to see.  We can’t say enough about it.  These are absolute professionals.  We’re having a friggin' great time like we should!

DB:  That’s really great to hear.  Your last record, “Devolver” got you out on bigger stages and tours.  That usually tends to mature a band.  So talk a little about “Sunrise” and the contrast between this record and the “Devolver” album itself.  Where do you feel you’ve grown? 

SM:  I think we’ve grown in just about every conceivable way.  Everybody has contributed a lot to these recent songs that are going to be going out this year as singles.  It’s really amazing what happens when you empower people.  Empowerment and gratitude are the two things that we as a group really focus on.  Gratitude in the fact that we’re able to play music and exercise your soul and what you feel and are able to do.  Empowerment in the sense that all of feel empowered to be here and create the best record we possibly can.  “Sunrise” is different from “Devolver” in the sense that it’s all of us together shining and giving more of our own personal experiences and personal styles away.

DB:  That’s very cool to hear.  I’m guessing that this single is a bit of a teaser for some upcoming record that you’re working on feverishly. 

ARR:  OK, somebody's paying attention.  Yeah, we got some surprises in the can.  We have some things on the horizon that are unique.  This could be a little different than something that you might normally see from bands.  There’s a lot of creativity and a couple other pickles that truly capture who we are individually and captures who we are together.  I’ll hit on what Scotty said earlier – being allowed to breathe and allowing what is inside of us to come out.  It’s absolutely amazing so yeah, we got some stuff in the ass and it’s going to be amazing.

DB:  We are going to be looking forward to it and hoping for more in 2018.  Talk to me about your touring plans for this year.

SM:  We finish up the Starset tour on March 16th.  Then we’re going to be on the road with a band called Gears.  And that’s going to be a whole lot of fun.  We haven’t decided how we’re going to end our summer but it should be a hell of an active year.  We’re really excited to be where we are and where we’re going. 

I want to thank Year of the Locust - Fred Serrell, Tyler "The Outlaw" Hensley, Peter "Hellrazor" Hellers, Awesome Ray Ray, and Scotty Mac for sharing a moment with us at DaBelly.  Check them out when they play your town and check out their new video – “Sunrise.”

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