When I caught up with Mod Sun, he was lounging in bed with his new cowboy boots on and, as he tells me, doing “wonderfully”, evoking his trademark easy outlook. “Today…I felt like putting on a pair of great beat-up leather cowboy boots,” he says. “To me, one of my favorite sounds is the sound of boot heels on tile floor. There’s nothing like wearing a nice pair of boots.”
He’s just spoken with his mother who, to no surprise, wasn’t thrilled watching her son’s character get brutally pummeled—all-too realistically by Mod’s on-screen antagonist played by Zach Villa (American Horror Story)—in his powerful, filmic new video for his pop-punk ballad “Battle Scars.”
“The song itself is like a piece of my body honestly,” he tells me. “It was the first song I made when I got sober and it was my best friend for the last three years, the longest journey. Anytime I was having any issues or life was becoming very hard or demanding, I had this song to go to, to remind me of this pure place of starting over and starting fresh. Really escaping these toxic times that I had, and choosing myself.”
For the video, Mod felt a provocative, dramatic portrayal would serve the song’s message best. “I wanted to do something that felt like it gave a little more importance to the visual landscape,” he says. “I think when you take a music video into a narrative space in a way and try to tell some story, it offers some weight.” In the video, we witness Mod in a heart-wrenching and often violent cycle of love, loss and betrayal.
For Mod, the song title, “Battle Scars,” has deeply personal—and thoroughly relatable–meaning. “Not every scar is something that is showing on the surface,” he says, noting that working through inner issues is always an ongoing process. “I always say: I’m trading in a suitcase of trauma for a toolbox and looking for ways to actively make myself better. I think everyone has this suitcase of trauma that we carry around with us every day, whether we know it or not.”
He’s an advocate for therapy and committing to the healing process, no matter how difficult. “Look at your life from a zoomed-out perspective…and look at the things that you want and look at the things that you don’t want…you got to make some difficult decisions and understand that there is a payoff.”
An avid runner, he endorses simple, everyday accomplishments to stay centered and feel good about yourself. “Do some exercise or write in your journal,” he advises, acknowledging the obvious importance music plays, especially at this stage of his life. “Music has been such a consistent part of my life…20 years into being a musician and releasing almost 1,000 songs and having about 3,000 other songs that haven’t been released, I try to make music be something that I don’t always do, if that makes sense. I went through a lot of life where it was all I did. All I did was get in the studio, make music. Where I’m at right now is that I want to make music when I feel inclined to say something special.
“The way I grew up, people went to church once a week. They went to church on Sunday. Music to me right now is a very holy experience and I want to continue to make it a holy experience and not something that’s getting exhausting.
“Making music is like going to church for me.”
Here’s a day in the life of Mod Sun.
Date August 23, 2022
Time I woke up I released a music video today…I had a little bit of nerves and so I was waking up every 10 minutes from 8:00 a.m. on.
Every day starts with Every day starts with the question, “Who am I today?” I really enjoy fashion and…every single day dress exactly how I feel. I don’t have a particular one style. I really do ask myself, “Who am I today?”
Breakfast consists of It’s really just pretty much coffee. I don’t eat any food during the day usually. It starts to get closer to the evening when I actually eat a meal. I pretty much only eat one meal a day.
To get going I always I listen to music. That’s the immediate vibe starter for me, it’s like, that’s what gets me moving completely.
I don’t feel dressed without My necklace. I have a necklace with 20 charms on it that I’ve been wearing pretty much every day for the last, I want to say, four years. I add new charms to it all the time. It’s meaningful to me. Without it, I feel unlucky. It’s like my good luck charm as well.
Before I start working I must Pace around the room. That’s how I know that I’m going to do something good for real. If I’m still, then I feel like the creativity isn’t inside me. I’m talking about a good work session, where every good thing that happens with me, I can’t stand still.
Currently working on Myself and surfing.
But I’d really love to be In Paris, my favorite place in the world. I would give anything to just be in Paris at all times.
Book I’m reading I’m more of a writer. I’m working on another poetry book right now. I have six books out total. I have two poetry books out and I’m working on another one right now.
I don’t know how anyone ever Goes sky diving. I could be persuaded to do pretty much anything in this world. I don’t know that I could be persuaded to go skydiving.
If I had to play one album on repeat, it would be Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks.
The perfect midday consists of Cartoons and jokes. I love cartoons so much. Oh, my God, I just feel like a kid on summer vacation. There’s no better feeling.
I got cartoons on mute right now, honestly.
To help get through the day I need to try to make someone stay better. That’s what makes me feel so good, and it’s so simple to do that by just walking past someone and smiling and waving at them.
Not a day goes by without speaking to My fiancée and God.
My daydreams consist of Sitting at a typewriter in Paris.
In a perfect day, in a perfect world I would have the people I love with me traveling around the world.
I’ll always fight for Art.
Currently in love with Thesenew pair of boots that I just got. New pair of beat-up boots. I woke up thinking about them.
Hoping to make time to watch I just know I don’t have the time to do it right now, but I haven’t watched any of The Stranger Things episodes at all. None of them.
By my bedside I always have A journal and a crystal.
To help get through the night I put a podcast on.
Bed time Maybe 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. I’m a super insomniac.
When I think about tomorrow, it’s always A little bit easier.