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SUMERU interview with guitarist Pete Bursky.

Sydney's SUMERU were born out of the ashes of No Apologies and are continuing the growth in popularity of stoner groove ridden hardcore bands. We catch up with founding member Pete Bursky for a chat.

At what point did Sumeru form and how did it all come together?

Andres and I (drums) started jamming when I got back from overseas in late 2009. I knew I wanted to do something more groovy and heavier, less fast with more of a stoner vibe, some bonged out riffs and more guitar solos! I had some leftover ideas from where I felt No apologies was headed and they’re now Sumeru songs. Around the same time No Apologies recorded ‘Beyond the Beyond’ for Pete Abordi’s ‘This is Australia’ comp and you can sorta hear Sumeru already there. It took a few more years of jamming after we got Chris (guitar) back in to finally find a singer and bass player but in mid 2012 it all came together and we played our first shows later that year. It took a while, but the patience paid off, I’m stoked on the band, great bunch of dudes…  

Would readers recognize the members from any other bands?

I did many years of bandwhoring, most recently I played in Blkout! Andres and Chris also played in No apologies and they also do Lomera (lomera.bandcamp.com) with Matt (vox). Reg (bass) plays guitar and sings in Firearms (wearefirearms.bandcamp.com). We also have a few other side projects going on (shakeyourblood.bandcamp.com) and if you’re at a wedding, an RSL out west or bar in the city you might even see a few of us playing in a covers band…

In your own words how would you describe the sound of Sumeru?

I think we all really dig that heavy groove sound but our tunes definitely have that hardness to them as well. When I’m writing riffs it’s that search for the ultimate blues riff and groove, but there’s always that thing in the back of my mind that’s pushing for it to sound bad ass and hard. Chris writes his riffs a little differently I think, with a more groovy, mellow, stoned out vibe going on, but those two elements, of having a blues riff thing with a heavy and hard sounding metal riff compliments the writing and I think it’s definitely one thing I notice about our sound…     

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What exactly does the name Sumeru mean and who came up with it?

Finding a name for us was difficult, but I found it one day reading one of my Zen books. Sumeru is an ancient Indian Sanskrit word, the name of a mountain in the old Hindu/Buddhist cosmology. One translation of Sumeru I really like is ‘Wonderfully high’. It’s the centre of the universe, the centre of yourself, the core of your being, your true nature, whatever you like. It’s all encompassing, truly boundless!

What bands are influencing the sound of Sumeru?

Lately I’ve been checking out lots of traditional Indian music, so many cool riff ideas in that stuff. Also lots of traditional Japanese music. We listen to anything that sounds good to our ears, so apart from our regular dosage of jazz, funk, hip-hop, soul music, blues, rock n roll, metal, etc., etc. some of the more heavier bands we’re digging right now are OM, Down, Church of Misery, Crowbar, Doomriders, Kyuss, Clutch, Cathedral, I Exist, There’s so many more but it’s hard to speak on behalf of everyone with all the different stuff we listen to…

What would be a dream line up of bands to play with?

We’ve been enjoying our shows so much lately I don’t think it matters who we play with, just happy to play! Australia has great bands, playing with Mindsnare or Chaingun would be rad, I’d like to play with my brother Pete’s band Level and also SXWZD in Adelaide. I know Andres would be mega grateful if we got to play with Down. Playing with I Exist was fun. Fattura Della Morte are awesome to play with too. Japan tour with Church of Misery would be the best ever! Roadburn fest in the Netherlands would be insane too. Hopefully we will get overseas in the not too distant future…

Sumeru released a debut 4 song CDEP last year. How did the recording come together?

After we finally found a singer and bass player things moved pretty fast and we we’re all keen to get some recordings out there. Luckily Reg is awesome at recording shit in bedrooms and rehearsals so after recording a day of drums in a rehearsal room, many an afternoon of guitars in Reg’s basement and Matt doing the vocals in his bedroom, we had an e.p. The Mix is huge for a basement recording and I’m happy with it as a debut. It would be nice to re-record a couple of those tracks again but for where we were at that time it’s a pretty good measure.

Lyrically what sort of issues are covered by Sumeru?

Lyrically I’m not really dealing with different issues and ideas, but it’s more just one issue and its many different aspects. What I’m writing about and searching to express is the deepest aspect of oneself/myself that’s universal for everyone.

Definitely influencing the lyrics is my meditation practice but I also take inspiration from cosmic imagery, ancient themes, mountains and rivers, old Chinese/Japanese mountain poetry, dark places, being alone in nature. I love all that stuff, its kind of what adds the colour for me, gives me a theme to push my experiences through and aesthetically its beautiful stuff. I love the dark side but prefer to use it as a metaphor for the unknown rather than singing about how shit life is. A lot of heavy music tends to wallow in negativity. Personally I like to express darkness as something positive and powerful. Matt’s penned some lyrics too but you’d have to ask him what drives his words.      

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What else is in store in the foreseeable future for Sumeru?

We have some gigs coming up in Sydney, Newcastle and possibly Canberra during March/April, Adelaide later in the year and definitely Melbourne in there somewhere. Another e.p is on the way, hopefully on vinyl this time. We just wanna play/tour at the moment and record our music. We are all very grateful for all the great gigs we’ve done and have coming up, I just wanna do more of that, especially in places we’ve never played.  

How can people get in touch or keep up with what’s happening in the band?
You can find us here… facebook.com/mountsumeru

And you can check out our e.p and merch at… sumeru.bandcamp.com


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