By Molly Van Engelenhoven
Photo by Ryan Frazee
Hailing from Greely, Colorado, Racing On the Sun is a four person alternative rock band that creates an energetic atmosphere of hope and determination. On November 28th, Alfonso “Fonz” Cervantes (vocals and guitar), Oscar Solis (guitar), Bryan Cahill (drums), Josh Schoenig (guest bassist, originally from the band Shatterproof), and Ryan Frazee (photographer and roadie extraordinaire) made the snowy trek to the Loading Dock for the first show of their winter excursion, The Ascension Tour.
Molly: If you were trapped on a desert island, what album would you bring with you to listen to? Cervantes: Cities, by Anberlin
Solis: Vheissu by Thrice
Cahill: Yeah, I’m going to say Vheissu
Molly: What made you decide you wanted to pursue music and how did you connect with each other to accomplish this goal?
Cervantes: I grew up with music. I started playing guitar when I was 9. I met Bryan in middle school and we were in bands together all through high school, but when we met Oscar, we decided to get more serious about this. Bryan and I were in a band called Castaway, and then we met Oscar and formed this one. The timing really worked out well, because I was living in London and Oscar was in Mexico, but then we were all back in Denver at the same time, all kind of trying to figure out what was the next step – you know, if college is worth it – and we decided to go for it.
Molly: So how did you come up with the name Racing On the Sun?
Cervantes: When we had the name Castaway, no one could find it on search engines or anywhere because of the movie. So I just wanted something that sounded really unique. I don’t think names are really that big of a deal like a lot of people do. I guess I picked it because when I was living in London I didn’t see a lot of sun and I really wanted to.
Molly: You recently went on your first US tour. What was your favorite place you visited and your favorite show?
Cervantes: Favorite place was probably Seattle, since I’ve always wanted to go there, but I think my favorite show was at Virginia Beach.
Solis: We met a fan there, who’s a friend now, who knew all the words to our songs.
Cahill: The breaks on our van actually caught fire as we were driving into Seattle. We took it to the shop and they told us our wheel almost fell off, but we were homeless for like…two nights.
Solis: You don’t realize what small things are really important until you’re on tour. You don’t get consistent food or sleep. If you lose a charger on tour, it’s basically like you don’t exist for the rest of the tour.
Cervantes: I lost my towel last tour. It was rough.
Molly: Would you like to sign with a record label or stay independent?
Cervantes: I think a record deal would be a good thing, but not like the end goal.
Solis: We have a lot of freedom to do things as independent, and we’re not waiting around for a record deal to be good. We’re using this time to build up our own fan base.
Cervantes: But labels can help with things like…money. Which is pretty important.
Molly: What’s the hardest part of building a fan base for you right now?
Solis: I think the most difficult part for us is that we’re in kind of a weird genre. We play with a lot of heavy bands, but we’re not really a heavy band. A lot of Scene kids are really devoted to the bands they like, but we don’t get that, since our sound is a lot more radio friendly. Most people who listen to the radio will listen to a song and be like “that’s a good song” but they usually don’t know the name of the song or the artist. We could try and be harder, but it’s more important for us to be honest in our music and as a band. We don’t really have a specific style we dress in to try and please people. We really just want to be able to be ourselves through our music and be as energetic as possible.
Molly: If you could pick one band to tour with, who would it be?
Solis: Mutemath. They have an incredible energy that we try to show when we perform.
Cahill: Thrice, since they kinda broke up.
Cervantes: Paramore. They’re so good live. Plus, Hayley Williams is definitely not ugly.