What do you get when you put two ‘terrible’ singers in a recording studio? An instrumental album. It’s kind of a running joke with Okanagan musicians Eric Hutton and Billy Haner. But the music itself is no joke. Calling themselves Landing on the Sun, Haner and Hutton have just released a full album of their unique guitar-oriented, eclectic…oh never mind…it’s a rock album!
While many of the tracks cry out for raspy wailing vocals riding classic rock riffs, the tracks play to a variety of moods and would be aptly suited for movie soundtracks - or just rock out to them in the car and make up your own lyrics. Either of which would satisfy the creative callings of Haner and Hutton who have played together on and off for a couple of decades.
The two began work on the album about a year ago when Haner, as he so eloquently puts it, had the lawn cut that day so the timing couldn’t have been better. They each had different tracks in different styles to share, but just like chocolate and peanut butter, the two came together and a project was born. The limitlessness of experimentation is what drew these two together in the first place.
“We have played together for many years and it’s a very comfortable writing environment,” says Hutton. “We are basically just having lots of fun writing and recording and wanted to start sharing the music. In the end, it’s important to get the songs out of the studio and out to the public.”
What was supposed to be an EP quickly turned into an album as the songs kept coming. In fact, there’s already material being worked on for a sequel, or, another album for those not following along.
Utilizing classic rock sounds and real, change-the-strings and polish the fretboard-type instruments (i.e. guitars), the two set out to satisfy their musical cravings the old-fashioned, ‘vintage’ way. We’re talking about actual playing. Not just sampling.
Haner says most of his lead guitar work is simply improvisation - a particular passion for this veteran axe man.
“There’s a certain tension in that,” adds Haner. “Like you never know when you’re gonna fall down the stairs. It’s not like a fusion thing and we’re definitely not trying to be instrumental virtuosos. It’s about a vibe or a groove.”
The new album is a blend of different sounds and textures, adds Hutton.
“At the heart we are a rock band but we play with melodies a lot and because the tracks on this album are instrumental the songs can be whatever the listener wants them to be,” explained Hutton. “In a way, they are an open book that allows the listener to be a part of the story without having everything just spelled out for them.”
And what about the song titles? With names like ‘Robots Fighting’, ‘Black Knight Satellite’ and ‘Pangolin’, one may think the album is more spacey than earthy. But the song titles come from a variety of places. Hutton says they are often a reflection of what the songs feel like to the songwriters. And he admits, some are tributes to specific things or events.
“They are interesting because when you add a title to an instrumental, the listener only has that one small bit of information to go on and then they take that and automatically wonder what the song is about,” said Hutton.
It may be a departure from the usual radio servings, but Hutton and Haner hope the people identify with the open nature and playfulness of the material.
“I think people will hear different things each time they listen to the songs,” says Hutton. “It’s one of those albums that will grow on you as you hear it more.”
The two are already working on the next batch of songs and setting their sights on promoting the new album. They’re anxious to see how people take to their creations - particularly if they pick up on the possibilities; movie soundtracks, video games, etc. So many options to consider.
The two hope to put together a live show eventually - featuring a full band. But right now, they remain focused on writing and recording and are at peace with the idea. However, just like the limitlessness of their ideas, they remain open to whatever Landing on the Sun brings.