Born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Sunn Rays (aka Dylan Gunn) is an instrumental songwriter hoping to bring healing to the world with his one-of-a-kind blend of downtempo, soul, trip-hop, and livetronica/ psychedelic rock. He is a self-taught guitar player that takes you on a unique journey with every track. On March 17th, he released a new song called “Beauty from Pain,” a tune that truly hits close to home with everything going on in the world. We, at Festival Squad, caught up with Dylan shortly after the release to chat about the meaning behind this composition, his inspirations, and the magic that awaits in the future.
Festival Squad [Andrea] : Hey, Dylan! To start off, let’s take a deeper look into your new track “Beauty from Pain.” The song is beautiful and melodic but powerful with its many layers and presentation, much like the process of transformation. Could you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for writing this song and what it means to you?
Dylan: I first want to say, thank you very much for the kind words in regards to the song! The direction of this creation came from an ongoing battle of relationship failure amongst coming to the end of a terrible year, 2020 (and still living the reality of it in 2021). Each song for me is a guide; each melody at hand is necessary to move forward as a human being. It comes through me from the feelings of the experience that is shaping my present moment. My music tells a story of depth in which ways my voice could not find possible. Finding beauty through a frequency derived from pain, it’s more like a life force and it serves as a therapy… finding importance and healing through each song.
Festival Squad: I relate to that, having just gone through a breakup after all of this craziness too.
Let’s go for a ride in the time machine. When did you first begin making music and what has had the largest impact on your sound at this point in time?
Dylan: I started around 4th grade and had my first electric bass guitar by 5th, first electric guitar by the age of 13. I really started diving into songwriting and the idea of wanting to perform music for a living when I was 17. At the ages of 21-26, I was performing throughout Colorado, Arizona and California with a friend as a duo called Transfer Station. For the last handful of years, I have been perfecting my sound as a solo artist. That inspires me every day to leave behind something worthy of being proud of. I feel my period of time living in Colorado has had the biggest impact on my influence. It was an incredible time seeing so many amazing shows out there at Red Rocks and the venues of Denver, let alone being a part of an amazing local music scene.
Festival Squad: In terms of songwriting, what does your creative process look like? Is there anything you are currently working on that you are particularly excited about?
Dylan: A lot of times I will find a tempo that I’m feeling and start playing chords that sound good together with my guitar, hearing and feeling out a lot of songs on the spot. I record my whole process of jamming over my basic layers (kick, snare, few chords). I go back and listen to what I recorded and pick and choose what sounds best…creating an entirely new song from a sit-down jam session. For this particular song, I recorded most of the guitar work after I recorded the midi keys for the main Piano sounds.
I’ve been song writing all year long with it being a main focus and I have a handful of projects to be released this year! Each song brings such a unique experience and I hope people really take the time to dive into them.
Festival Squad: Your set at Gem & Jam 2020 was amazing. What has been your most memorable performance experience thus far, and why? What would be your dream event to perform at?
Dylan: Thank you very much, I’m glad you were able to catch the performance! I’d say one of the most memorable experiences looking back would be my set with my brother, Scott, performing as Transfer Station. We were on the main stage out at the festival FireFly Gatherings 2015. It was my first music festival I’d ever been to, as well as my first festival performance. It was such an uplifting/eye-opening experience. I thought to myself, this where my music and soul belong.
I’ve always fantasized about playing Lightning In A Bottle and Electric Forest!
Festival Squad: That’s all for now, thanks for chatting with us! We are looking forward to catching your next set and jamming out to your next music release!
“He wants to heal others with his music as it heals for him, helping his listeners escape through warm frequency that shifts in high energy…like the rays of the sun.”
~Keep up with Sunn Rays~