The Vans Warped Tour 2017 Interviews – Marcos Leal of Shattered Sun
The Vans Warped Tour 2017 was arriving at its grand finale, with Shattered Sun jumping on in the final weeks to absolutely push the pedal to the heavy metal in an epic way! Based out of the vast and scorching state of Texas, Shattered Sun recently issued The Evolution Of Anger – their latest magnum opus of pummeling rage through Victory Records. We caught up with vocalist Marcos Leal at the San Diego date of the Vans Warped Tour to discuss their dynamic new album, comparing the Warped and Mayhem experiences, country music, the weather, and other topics of intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Shattered Sun.
I’m Marcos and I’m the vocalist for Shattered Sun.
Tell me what you said about playing the San Antonio Warped Tour date earlier.
I was commenting on todays beautiful weather in San Diego and it was a literal breath of fresh air because in San Antonio, when we played, it was record heat. We played in 112 degrees and we were playing directly in the sun at high noon. It was a tough day.
How do you focus on something like that when playing in such intense weather?
I feed off the kids that are here. They come out and they’re burning up from 8am, doors don’t open until noon. So, you see these kids out here just giving it their all, it makes you give it your all.
What have been some of the highlights for you this year on Warped Tour?
Just being on it in general because this is my first Warped Tour playing. But as a teenager into my early 20s, I was always coming to Warped Tour. It’s cool to see it come full circle. I think it was probably my favorite, in San Antonio, even though it was so hot. So many people came out to see us, it was our closest show to home so it was a real great day full of a bunch of fans, family, beers, bunch of laughs. It was a good time.
You have an album that just came out called The Evolution of Hate. Is there any story or concept behind that title?
Yeah, if you follow the band you know our first record is more about hope and a better tomorrow, always kind of seeing the bright side of things. I guess, going and being a band for two years, keep in mind we came from a very small town so we don’t know the business – we didn’t know the business. We didn’t know how to run this band like a business. So it caused a lot of turmoil and a lot of beefs back and forth. Just being on the road, man, we got to see some of the ugly sides of people. I mean, even the politics that have gone on in the past 2-3 years have played into the writing. it is just kind of, I wanted to show people another side of us and that there’s a darker side out here. I was very pissed off during that record and our producer Mark Lewis took that view and amplified it to 1000 and (the title) kind of came from the album, The Evolution of Anger.
Select two songs from the new album, what inspired the lyrics?
Definitely just going through a lot of stuff internally in the band. There was a while there where our guitar player Daniel who was a founding member, wasn’t touring with us for about 6 months and we did not speak. I know that’s a common for things to go on now in bands but for us, we’ve grown up with each other. we’ve been playing in this band since high school. It hurt us, it hurt him, it took a lot of looking in the mirror and understanding that we needed each other and needed to get past what was ailing us. That inspired all the lyrics. The first song, Burn It Down, it’s about us almost burning this band to the ground. We’d be oil field workers right now in a little shit hole town in south Texas if it wasn’t for this.
How does Warped Tour compare to a tour like Mayhem?
They’re definitely two different type of monsters. Mayhem is always going to be my favorite – that was a special lineup and a special year, the last year of Mayhem. With this one, what I’ve learned about this one is just, all out war out here. There’s 50 amazing bands and they all have great shows, merch, crews and it’s all about getting on there and promoting yourself and also having a good time while you’re doing it too. I enjoy it, man. It’s definitely something that I’ve always wanted to do and now that we’re doing it, it’s awesome.
Everyone says that Warped Tour is the hardest tour they’ve ever been on, would that be the case with you guys as well?
Yeah, [laughs] I could definitely see that. Not to say Mayhem wasn’t tough too, I mean, we did 12 people band and crew in a 15 passenger van for 40 something dates and half of those dates the AC broke. It was crazy – so that one had its difficulties. But this one has been a little tough at times. The heat, we’re from south Texas and we know it, but man, it’s tough. It’s a killer out here, especially for these kids. I feel bad for them, always trying to tell them to hydrate.
What advice would you give a band attempting Warped Tour for the first time next year?
Just be ready to scratch and claw your way to what you want. I’m not necessarily saying that everybody’s not friendly out here, but you gotta come out here and you gotta work for yourself because that’s what everybody else was going. You just gotta push past difficult times, because there will be some difficult times on here, trust me. The porta potties in Houston were like saunas, dude. You sweat all day long. Just be ready, it’s all out war.
If Shattered Sun could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Man, I’m gonna have to go three different sides on this one. All time, would be Metallica. We actually came pretty close to opening up for Metallica. They did a contest for a local band to open up their tour and we finished third out of eight finalists and of the eight there was about 3000 bands that submitted. So for us to come in third was awesome. I actually got to sing with the band that won, Local H in San Antonio and actually be a part of the show. Seeing Metallica up close like that and getting to meet them, it was just jaw-dropping man. It was amazing. Then I have to say Pantera, just because they are from Texas. That’s life right there. Other side of it I would have to say George Strait. George Strait is the king, man. He’s the king where we come from. Born and raised, even if we’re not country fans. You show respect to George Strait. I’d love to open for him, I had seen him a couple of times and it was just amazing.
So are you a secret country boy by heart?
Yes. Me, Daniel and a couple of the other guys in the band – just something that’s in our blood. George Strait – we heard that coming out of the womb. When I say he’s the king, he is the king where we come from. So, it’s definitely a guilty pleasure of ours.
You guys should consider doing a country cover…
Dude, we’ve dabbled in the thought of doing a country cover but I saw that All That Remains just released one by Garth Brooks and was just like, wow maybe kids will be more understanding and open their ears to it, who knows, we’ll see.
What goes through your mind seeing Warped Tour suddenly coming to an end? This is like the second to last day now.
Yeah – it’s a little bittersweet, man. Like I said, we’re a band that just thrives off the energy of the crowd and man, these kids – just so much respect for them. I know it should probably be a different story but man, literally, seeing those kids watching them line up every morning, because we’re here at 6am we see them line up at 7am every morning, man. You see them by 3PM, you’re done. And they did for their favorite band, not even just us, but they did that for their favorite band. That’s inspiring to see, especially in today’s market and industry.
What’s up next for you guys?
We had an album just drop. We’re going to do a little headlining run right now and we’ve locked up a couple of big tours but unfortunately I can’t talk about them just yet. But, just keep posted to our social media because they’re gonna be some jaw droppers.
Shattered Sun is:
Marcos Leal – Vocals
Daniel Trejo – Guitar
Jessie Santos – Guitar
Joseph Guajardo – Bass
Robert Garza – Drums
Henry Garza – Keys/Samples
(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)