The first time Highwire Daze encountered singer / songwriter Joey Biagas of Setting Sunrise was when he performed at Chain Reaction in direct support of Plug In Stereo and the It Boys. Based out of Duarte, CA, Setting Sunrise has released two EP’s, both currently available on Itunes.
We recently interviewed Joey Biagas at the Warped Tour in Ventura, where he was helping out with the Feed Our Children Now organization along with his friend – You Tube partner and hip-hop artist Nathan Ryan. Read on to find out more about this up and coming local talent…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Setting Sunrise.
My name is Joey Biagas, I play in Setting Sunrise and I do everything that you hear – guitar, vocals, bass, keys, synth – everything that you hear has been produced and played by me.
Have you ever played with a full band before?
I have. Live shows I like to play with a drummer. Drummers are almost like a necessity at least. A drummer and then I play with a synth. I think that a live band kind of gives it a little more energy. What I sometimes do when I have to play alone – I’ll play to a backing track – I’ll take out the vocals and the guitar so I could play to that. It’s just not as energetic – it’s really robotic because you’re playing with an Ipod. It’s not like you’re jamming with buddies.
What’s the name of the very first song you wrote, what was it about, and how were you?
I would have to say Silver Dollar Smile was the name of the first song I ever wrote. It was my senior year of high school when I wrote that. It was for my girlfriend at the time – it was the whole story of how we met and how we got together. That one is actually on my first EP called Spread The Fire – released it about 2 ½ years ago. I’m 23 now.
So you’re working with the Feed Our Children Now project. How did that come about?
It was really through Twitter. The people they’re involved with – me and Nathan Ryan – we kind of found each other. They were like, “Whoa, you guys have a lot of Twitter followers.” And then we were like, “Whoa, you guys are a cool organization.” They kind of just asked us to help – if we could spread the word about them – then they could help us as well. That’s kind of how we got involved. It was really Twitter.
Are you on the entire tour?
I’m just helping them on the Southern California dates – Pomona, Ventura, San Diego, and Carson.
What is the name of your current EP and is there any meaning behind the title?
Yes, it’s called Colon, Close, Parenthesis and that’s actually characters. You type out colon on the computer, and then a close parenthesis is actually a smiley face. I was trying to be clever. But it’s just supposed to mean good, happy vibes – and that’s what I intended to write the EP as. The title track is actually named Colon, Close Parenthesis and it’s probably the most happy, good vibes song I have ever written. I really wanted to write something that was positive musically and lyrically.
Pick any two of your other songs and what inspired you to write the lyrics.
Show Me is probably the crowd favorite I’d want to say. It is a favorite to play, but that’s not my favorite one to play live – but I’ll talk about that one next. But Show Me is weird – I wrote the chorus to it first and once I wrote it, it was one of those things – this is really good! I really love this! And then the verse took me forever to write. It’s almost like I built up this anticipation within myself that I was almost scared to write the verses, because I felt like it wasn’t going to be good enough for the choruses. It actually took me six months to write each verse for the song. It’s crazy, because I wrote the chorus in about five minutes. So I literally had five different versions of versus and they never fit. And that last one, which I have now – I was finally happy with it. I’m glad I waited. So that’s Show Me.
And Contagious Love is the song I love to play live – especially with my drummer. Because he plays what I created on the record – but he puts his own little flair on it – and he makes it way more energetic. It’s kind of like I almost wish I recorded it that way! I like the dynamic that it’s slightly different than what you hear on the CD. So it’s a different experience when you go to the show to hear it, and I like that aspect.
What is Contagious Love referring to?
Oh man! It’s about this time period where you’re trying to get over somebody, but you’re so addicted to their love. And it’s really, really contagious – like a disease – and it’s just really bad for you – even though you think it’s good. You just need to get away from it. It’s like an oxymoron.
What kind of touring have you done so far?
I haven’t done full on tours. I’ve done shows here and there within California. I’ve gone up and down California on a solo tour by myself – that really wasn’t anything big. But mainly just shows around Southern California – like Chain Reaction and the Pasadena area and stuff like that.
What was that like playing with Mike Herrera of MxPx?
Well it wasn’t MxPx – it was his project Tumbledown. I think it would have been more epic if it was MxPx, but nonetheless it was interesting. It was like, “Wow! This guy I actually listened to when I was in high school!” So sharing the stage on the same night was surreal!
How close are you to releasing some new material? Are you always writing?
I’m currently writing a bunch of songs. It’s funny, cuz I haven’t released music in little over a year now – and I’m really anxious to release some. Yet at the same time, I want to make sure it’s right and perfect. Because I have probably more than a full-length pool of songs that I’ve written but haven’t recorded yet. But I’m just not happy with them. I want to write more and then pick and chose what I want and then release another EP before I do a full length. I want one more EP to kind of more solidify my genre, because I feel like it’s not necessarily set in stone yet. I’m still evolving as I go.
What would you a listener to remember the most about your music after hearing it for the very first time?
I think the words and the melody. If they could sing along – I think that is one of the most greatest feelings in the world – when I’m playing a show and I see someone down in the crowd singing along with me. It’s like almost an unbeatable feeling – like someone else took the time – they know your words – they want to sing with you. It’s just undescribable.
Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check you out?
Facebook, Twitter – even Myspace if you’re still on there – it’s all dot com, back slash Setting Sunrise. And the You Tube is a little different – it’s back slash settingsunrisemusic. And I thank you guys for all of the support! Really even if it’s just a little bit of support – it makes me realize that I can do it! It’s really, really easy to give up, but I think it’s really, really easy to chose NOT to give up when you have support. So I thank the fans…
(Interview and Photos by Kenneth Morton)