Their twisted roots trail back to Kuk and sample operator Church's previous band, which opened for Slipknot in mid-1999. A friendship was struck up between the two Kansas City natives and the 'Knot's Shawn "Clown" Crahan, who pointed them to a number of other Des Moines musicians including drummer Dan Spain and co-vocalist/former Slipknot "Clown Tech" Satone. From the start, downthesun have kept the intensity stakes high, both musically and emotionally. It was that intensity that piqued Clown's interest in the band. He says, "downthesun is based on a simple foundation: Friend or foe. Truth or lies. On or off."
"The sickness, man," states Kuk. "When it all first started he saw two guys – me and Church that were just different. With Clown and Slipknot, it's a lifestyle. It's a certain way of thinking. He wanted to see the sickness branch out."
The addition of co-vocalist Aaron Peltz and guitarist Bruce Swink completed what the band refers to as The Six. "There’s meaning to everything we do," explains Kuk. "Whether it's bit of astrology or numerology, there's meaning to downthesun. Our name means we draw down the energy of the sun to create our own circle of magic. Take, the number six, for instance. Six is the sun and nine is the moon. There are six of us in this band: three charged positive and three-charged negative. To have complete truth, you have to have both."
"It's pretty simple," adds Aaron. "Satone's evil. I'm good. We don't always agree – often within the same song. Satone is about debauchery. I'm not. For instance, in the song 'Lucas Toole' [a paean to serial-killing duo Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole] we're coming at things from two totally different points of view. It's about a kid getting abducted. I'm the guy who wants to go out there and find that guy. Satone and Church are that guy."
That caustic cocktail of mysticism and misanthropy crept into the album sessions with producer GGGarth (Mudvayne, Rage Against The Machine) Richardson. It was during those six weeks that the band feels "it all really came together," says Kuk.
"It got so intense, I just fell-out," says Church. "It was like dying, having sex and being born all at once," adds the bassist. "I had to go insane to be the happiest I've ever been," downthesun's sampler-man adds. "I've totally changed. I get panic attacks now. I can't see right. There's something really wrong but I'm happy that I've finally got the chance to spread The Truth."
It was also in the studio that Church's "other art" came to the fore. The making of "The Jars": chemical-filled vessels stuffed with various substances that Kuk sums up as "our form of voodoo." When downthesun take the stage, The Jars are always present. In the studio, however, one of Church's creations – immortalized in the song "Jars" – definitely had an effect. "The one Jar was filled with cow dung, cow-meat, semen and urine – and to represent life, there was a baby-doll," states Church. "The jar got left in the window-sill in the sun. The sun heated up the gases in the meat and the jar exploded. Naturally, they had to evacuate the building."
"It’s a different sort of chemical warfare," Kuk chips in.
And that explosiveness is the ethic when downthesun takes the stage. It's anger, frustration and boredom channeled into sound. Church: a wired sampler-trashing live presence. Drummer Spain, a flurry of arms, beats and volcanic double bass kicks. Kuk and guitarist Bruce Swink hold down their sides of the stage with a madman's glee that sets the stage for downthesun’s dual-throat attack. The Ying: Aaron is the pure metal frontman, blending mood, melody and madness into a single voice. The Yang: Clutching a ragged doll in one hand, face tattooed and jerking like an epileptic being electrocuted, it's Sa-Tone who breathes in and spits out THE TRUTH according to downthesun. And an ugly, unaccommodating truth it is.
The song "Pure American Filth" is downthesun's raison d'etre in a nutshell. "Can you feel it... AMERICA!?!?! It's what we are...FILTH!" That's about as blunt as it gets.
Welcome to our hell. Welcome to Middle America. Here's The Truth according to downthesun.
And this Truth hurts.