Every story has a beginning, no matter how unlikely. And the story of the new incarnation of Sum Of R, the project that Reto Mäder formed in 2007 and has led as the only fixed member ever since, began with some really good news, and then some really bad news, because you never know where magic is going to come from.
2020, remember that? Before the world went weird, Sum Of R were supposed to tour, a trek which included a much distinguished Roadburn appearance. The line-up for the tour was already set to be a duo, with Reto joining forces with drummer Jukka Rämänen, known for his presence in such luminaries of the groundbreaking Finnish psych scene as Dark Buddha Rising, Atomikylä or the supergroup Waste Of Space Orchestra (Oranssi Pazuzu & Dark Buddha Rising), not to mention Hexvessel and Dust Mountain. A power duo, in the true sense of the word. Because Roadburn is special, Reto thought about having a guest singer for that particular performance, and once you already have a connection established with the mighty Dark Buddha Rising – a connection first established on the joint Dark Buddha Rising / Sum Of R tour of 2018, by the way –, why look further? Enter vocalist Marko Neuman (also of Convocation and, naturally, the all-consuming Waste Of Space Orchestra), who would make them a remarkable and unlikely trio just for that evening.
Then, as we know, the world changed, and both the tour and Roadburn itself didn’t happen. In one of the best examples of there being a silver lining to almost every bad situation, Reto tried to make something positive of the situation and booked the first possible flight after the first lockdown in his native Switzerland to travel to Finland for three weeks of studio recording with the line-up that never was, Jukka and Marko. And boom: magic happened. As Reto puts it, “we had such a good and intense as well as grateful and creative time together that it could not be more natural that Marko also became a part of Sum Of R through these common experiences. For Jukka and me, Marko's voice is like a transmitter to another dimension.