Stare Down The Sun
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Stare Down The Sun


Band Rock


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"CD Release Blurb"

Last up, fast-rising rockers Stare Down The Sun have chosen a familiar venue--The Cabot Street Pub--and a killer bill featuring Thirty Stones and Gaiah to debut their new CD this Saturday, Nov. 5. According to Sun-drummer Matt "9," the band recorded all of the pre-production for the 10-tune offering (titled A Better Place ) in the Cabot Street basement. For more info on the band, the show or the disc, kindly point your browser to:

- November 3, 2005 - Valley Advocate

"2006 Valley Advocate New Band Winners"

Stare Down the Sun are very clear about the music they play. Most musicians hate the notion of categorization, often weaving elaborate matrices of influences, adjectives and evasions when asked that inevitable question, "What kind of music do you play?" Ask Stare Down the Sun, and they answer, almost in unison, "hard rock."

Guitarist Benjamin Jon (who, it's worth noting, was also voted Best Bassist for his work in Thirty Stones) explains, "It's like anything you'd hear today on the radio, on 99.3 or 106.9. It's what we all like, what we're all influenced by. It's pretty much mainstream radio pop, alternative rock."

They are an unusually focused band, and their songwriting reflects it—slabs of guitar often carry the music forward, with vocalist Matthew Eryk taking over to guide the songs to melodically interesting places.

This is all quite conscious for Stare Down the Sun, which started in large part to make the most of Eryk's singing—he was playing solo acoustic shows at Cabot Street Pub, and Jon and drummer Matt 9 were looking for a singer for some material they had recorded for another project that never materialized. "The original plan was to showcase Matt, showcase these vocals, his stage presence, and not play, as musicians, 110 percent show-off music," explains bassist Gary Hamelin. "We'd write a song, put the vocals down, and say, 'Well, we have to change this to fit the vocals.' So the music is all based on the message that he's putting out and his melody lines. It works really well for us, because I think all the music we write has a hook."

All the members of Stare Down the Sun have spent some time in bands before, but with this project, they decided to take a deliberate, step-at-a-time approach. And it's evident that, with a Best New Band win coming along less than two years from when they began, those steps are proving to be sizeable strides.

"We took a completely different approach in this band from what any of us had done before. You know, write and play, write and play—we decided [instead] to go in a logical order, which was write first, then record an album, then start promoting the album and playing shows. And that is what got us to be the Best New Band!" Jon says, laughing.

Focused or not, Jon can't resist getting a little cheeky. He adds, "We wrote all the music first, then we recorded it all. And then we learned how to play it."

Stare Down the Sun date their first really big success from their CD release party last November. "I didn't see a lot of faces from other bands or club scenes," says John. "It was all our own [crowd]. One guy was at a class reunion and he left, fully dressed, with some other people to see the show. When you see someone like that, they're there to see you, not just there to hang out or to be at this bar because it's popular. They're there to actually see the band. Which has never happened to me in a band before."

Not that it's all been easy—Eryk recalls one show in which both his knees gave out simultaneously. "I have horrible knees. I don't know— I just grew up fast. I have dislocated kneecaps. About four or five months ago at Cabot Street, I was just rocking out. They have these little platform things you can stand on. I was just going with the music and I was stepping back off this thing, and my knees just gave out. My kneecap comes out; it sticks out over here. I just collapsed, smacked my head on his drums. Kind of embarrassing. But once the pain goes away, I just start back up where I left off."

"The whole crowd went silent," adds Hamelin.

"I was on the ground and I just picked up the microphone and finished the song out. Then I got a chair and like six, seven shots," says Eryk.

And, though the band says Eryk has a certain penchant for injuries and car accidents, things have largely gone very well for him in Stare Down the Sun. "Three months before at Cabot Street, that was the first show where I couldn't even hear myself—everyone was singing our songs," says Eryk. "That was really unbelievable for me."

"That show, we were opening for a national, and we had a huge crowd singing along, and the national didn't really have much," says Hamelin. "Not that there's a comparison. But it does feel good."

Stare Down the Sun is looking forward to what's next. This November, album number two is scheduled to arrive in November, with a sprawling, two-day (yes, two-day) CD release party.

—James Heflin - The Valley Advocate, MA

"Garage Band Review"

Independent review of the song "You And I" from the debut Stare Down the Sun release "A Better Place".


This song kicks major ass. the production quality is very good. has a bit of an Alice In Chains feel. Good melody. Overall performance is amazing.

"Nightcrawler: Perfect Storm"

Stare Down The Sun seeks a CD release party sell-out three-peat

By Gary Carra Thursday, February 19, 2009

The official title of Stare Down The Sun's third release is The Same Storm. But by all indicators—ranging from past precedents to the present product—the band's CD release party this Friday, Feb. 20 at Maximum Capacity has all the makings of a perfect storm of hype and excitement that may catapult the Holyoke heavyweights to their rightful place along major label contemporaries when the decibel-laden dust settles.

Similar celebrations for 2005's A Better Place and '07s Bleeding Through resulted in sold-out crowds in years prior. And based on the handful of pre-release tracks leaked onto the band's Myspace (.com/staredownthesun) and the subsequent reaction, Sun strummer Benjamin Jon has been beaming like a proud papa.

"I can't wait to get this stuff out," he exclaimed in a post. "This is easily our strongest work to date." - Valley Advocate

"Club Scout"

Stare Down The Sun will hold a record release party for its third album, "The Same Storm" at Maximum Capacity on Friday. The band mines similar sonic territory as local heroes-turned-international stars, Staind, but with maybe a bit more catchy pop hooks infused in the melodies.

The band formed almost by accident, or some may call it fate: After meeting at Chicopee's Cabot Street Pub and the club's former basement tenant, Stillwork Studios, in 2004, guitarist Benjamin Jon, drummer Matt Raymond and singer Matthew Eryk formed Stare Down The Sun and began writing songs. They then recorded some demos and added bass player Gary Hamelin in April, 2005.

Stare Down The Sun's debut release, "A Better Place" was started at Stillwork's new Holyoke facility and released that same year and the band hasn't looked back. They issued their second CD, "Bleeding Through" in 2007 and have now kept up with their CD-every-two-years pace with "The Same Storm." For a preview of the new songs, go to on the Internet.

One Theory, Fear the State, and Under Falling Skies will open the 9 p.m. show, with advance ticket holders allowed in at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance. Maximum Capacity is at 116 School St. in Chicopee. - The Republican

"Mr. 9 gets an endorsement"

by Gary Carra - June 23, 2005

Next up, while readers' polls are fine, Matt "9" Raymond of Stare Down The Sun says that there is perhaps no better endorsement of one's talent and skill than ... well, an actual endorsement.

"The A&R rep from Silver Fox Percussion saw me filling in on drums for Q earlier this month in New Hampshire," the potent percussionist revealed. "After the set, he handed me some sticks and said, 'That kicked ass.' Two days later, I received a contract from them to endorse the product." According to Raymond, the specifics of the deal include making him a "featured artists," "huge savings towards future purchases" and the possibility of his own "signature series" sticks in the future.

On the horizon for the Sun bunch? A new CD, A Better Place , scheduled for an August release through indie label Altered Industry Entertainment. While the disc will mark the official debut effort for the band as far as recordings go, its individual members are certainly no strangers to the studio. In addition to Raymond, who used to keep time for local metalmeisters Nitro Nine , Stare Down The Sun features Matt Eryk of Rise fame on vocals, Benjamin Jon of MOV and Chainfall notoriety on guitar, and Gary Hamelin , formerly of Myriad Eyes , on bass. For updates on the band, the disc, and the CD release party slated for Cabot Street upon completion, visit - Valley Advocate, Massachusetts


A Better Place (2005)
Bleeding Through (2007)
The Same Storm (2009)



Stare Down the Sun began in 2004, with guitar player Benjamin Jon, drummer Matt 9, & bassist Gary Hamelin putting together a solid band built around vocalist Matthew Eryk . The band is constantly writing and recording demos and has released 3 independently produced albums. Stare Down the Sun won the areas Best New Band in 2005, and have been performing regionally ever since.

History - Benjamin Jon and Matt 9 began working together at the original Stillwork Studio in 2004, which was then located in the basement of the Cabot Street Pub in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Matt had just left the band Nitro Nine and was recruited to be the primary session drummer for Stillwork, around this same time Benjamin’s band Chainfall had decided to take some time off.

The Cabot Street Pub, where Benjamin worked as the resident sound engineer was just emerging as a new relevant rock club in the Western Massachusetts rock/metal and hardcore scene and was hosting Matthew Eryk’s solo acoustic act after his departure from the band Rise. Matthew was asked to do vocals on a track Benjamin and Matt had produced which resulted in the song “Sores” , the first written for what would become Stare Down The Sun.

With similar musical tastes, and similar experiences in the New England music scene Benjamin Jon, Matt 9 and Matthew Eryk began the Stare Down The Sun project by writing songs and producing demos at Stillwork for a planned summer 2005 CD release. Bass player Gary Hamelin, who Benjamin worked with in a previous band, joined the band in April, 2005 and recording for the debut Stare Down The Sun Release, A BETTER PLACE was started at Stillwork’s new facility in Holyoke, Ma in early 2005.

The band released A BETTER PLACE in November of 2005 to a sold out crowd at Cabot Street Pub in Chicopee MA.

The band released BLEEDING THROUGH in October of 2007 to a sold out crowd at Finn MacCools in Westfield MA.

Stare Down the Sun's Third full length release, THE SAME STORM is to be released in February of 2009.