Interview: Sunset Sons

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How are you guys doing?

Rory: We’re doing good, sold out show in Manchester and we’ve just been on XFM which was really cool as well.

So how did the band come together with you all being from different places?

Rory: I basically set off to the Southwest of France with a couple of mates who dropped me off, long story short I was in a bar playing my very first gig well ‘gig’ if you want to call it a gig.

Rob: Well ‘farce’.

Rory: Yeah, and I was pretty scared and faced the wall and stuff and played a tiny little show for a burrito and a beer and that Jed happened to be in the bar and we started chatting and woke up the next day and was I like ‘I agreed to be in a band!’ But we didn’t have everyone it was just me and Jed then we met Pete, whose cousin owned the bar I was playing in. It was through a mutual friend that we got Rob and we kind of spun him some lies, told him we were going to make hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Rob: Yeah I actually joined the boys in the Alps they went there played for two or three weeks then rang me up like ‘can you come help us out’.

Rory: Here to save the day buddy! Yeah and it sort of started from there. We started writing a year and a bit/two years ago and now we’re here, having an interview!

So where did the name of the band come from?

Rory: Well it was Jed really, he wanted something that was going to sound like a gang and we kept on getting these messages with him being like ‘Sunset..?’ I won’t go through all the names he used and then he was like ‘something Sons’ we were like ‘ehhh’ and I was just saying yes to everything. It wasn’t till afterwards till we started writing music I was like ‘actually no its fits really well’.

Do you have any interesting stories from your early band days?

Rob: Oh where do we start?

Rob: There are fucking thousands! There really are.

Rory: And they’ll kind of pop up every now and then, you’ll be in the van and something will happen or a word will remind you and you’ll be like ‘BOYS do you remember when we met that guy..’ There was one time we were late for a gig and we were driving down and we hit ice and we ended up having no control and hit this barrier that slid us up and then we slid up and fell off and landed on all 4 wheels.

Rob: We sort of went over this thing and bounced luckily onto the correct side of the barrier which split the road in two way traffic so we just bounced over and kind of nipped through the tunnel and just looked at the barrier like ‘seems alright’ so we just carried on driving but we’ve been better since then, every time we go over 50!

Rory: It was scary as well because it was a proper crash and we got to the gig and they were like ‘you’re late I don’t know what time you call this we got to get started!’ And we were like ‘ah guys we’re really sorry we were lucky we made it really we had a crash.

Rob: There was one gig we played dressed up as women because it was called a ‘Sheila’s Party’ which is like an all girls snowboarding day even where they did a comp and we did the gig dressed up as girls. Rory got so completely munted he was like off the side of the stage getting hold of a chick, it was the most rock ‘n’ roll he’s ever been.

Rory: The only reason I got so munted was because I was wearing leggings and I just thought ‘I’ve got to drink through this’.

Should we expect any craziness tonight?

Rory: Nah you’re safe girls.

How are you feeling about your first night of the tour?

Rory: Really good, I always get the nerves a bit before the show but by the time we get to the second tune I’m good but I like to have a bit of nerves.

Rob: It’s like the first day of work where you’re worried if it’s going to run smoothly or not. We haven’t been doing any gigs for a few weeks we’ve been in Nashville.

Rory: Since we’ve done our last show there’s been talk on the radio and you know there’s going to be journalists there and stuff so you want to give a good show to everyone. But yeah I’m pretty excited.

What can we expect to hear from you tonight?

Rory: Well we might have a new song we’re going to share off the album because the album’s finished now which is really cool. We don’t want to confuse everyone by doing a completely different set so we might try it, we’ll see how it goes.

You played at Reading and Leeds last year.

Rory: Yeah, so did these boys actually who are supporting us, they played too but I know the interview’s not about them but yeah.

How was it?

Rory: Epic! Till then that was the best thing we’d ever done. It was the end of the summer

Rob: It was just like perfectly timed because the crowd was already fairly big, it was a bit sparse but then people started joining in at the back and staying then more people joining and staying and we held ’em all which was wicked and then we went to Leeds and it was twice as big so it was perfect.

Rory: It was bigger. I just remember you could probably count the amount of people on the first two songs and we were like ‘yeah Reading was good, you can’t win ’em all’ and then this sea of people were turning up and they had to go past us so we were just like see if we can grab their attention. I think at one point I asked everyone to come forward as people were trying to get past and they fell for that.

Any more festivals this year?

Rory: Hell yeah! We got Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, and Boardmasters, we’re definitely good for that because that got blown away last year on the day we were supposed to do it. Hurricane Bertha, she came in, she swept the stage away. Tents were flying; it was chaotic when we turned up there.

Did you expect such a great response to your music, getting signed pretty quick and this sold out tour?

Rob: No, not at all. We kind of had a bit of a following from what we were doing before this so yeah it was nice to see people buying the first EP (which we did independently). But because of that it started climbing up the rock chart and as that was happening we were like ‘really?!’ and kept going a bit more and a bit more and a bit more. We were playing a gig at the time and our manager was in the audience drinking.

Rory: I don’t think you ever expect when you write a tune, because it’s obviously personal to you and the group you’re amongst means something to us. To say that ‘yeah this is going to be a hit, people are going to buy this’, no you don’t expect that at all, so when it happens it means Radio 1 and XFM have really been pushing us. When we did the show today and people won a competition to see us, we were like ‘whoa’ that’s weird for us, it’s amazing. What we’re doing is working I guess! We just don’t want to lose our way. You let us know, if we do another interview next year and you’re like ‘why are we in Bentley’.

So you had a pretty exciting end to the year with XFM etc. how was that?

Rory: Amazing! There was three nominations: there was XFM, BBC Sound of 15 and MTV as well. We didn’t expect to win the BBC or MTV thing but it was cool that they were like ‘you should check out these guys’ considering how many bands there are and how many acts. And we were the first for XFM to be announced and that was really cool. We saw them today and they were really pleased to see us, like how do they even know who we are!?

What inspires your song writing? You’ve spent a lot of time in the Alps and surfing etc do they have influences on your music?

Rob: Not really. It affects our lifestyle and what we’re comfortable with and what sort of mindset we’re in. We started writing by the beach. Had a rehearsal space booked every Friday regardless of that the waves were like and we would make sure we went there and finish another song every week so that was quite a productive summer and the perfect place to do it and also be able to relax and surf etc.

Rory: Went there to get away from the normal life which we were bored of and just doing something we enjoyed and then the band took over. Influence wise it would have to be like stuff we’ve listened to but it’s kind of hard to explain when you’re writing. Used to sit in a room called ‘The Kitchen’ which was an old kitchen which used to echo like crazy and someone would be like ‘I’ve got an idea’ then we start jamming along and a song would come from that and we’ll play it to our manager.

Could you list anyone as your main musical inspirations?

Rob: Yeah hundreds, Bruce Springsteen, mostly Jed would agree with that. I used to really enjoy guitar music, Brit-pop and that sort of stuff back in the Oasis days. We’ve discovered the band War on Drugs over the last few months and I listen to them a lot, I think that’s my style of guitar.

Rory: You’ll hear the influences but it’s mostly Rob on his own. I listened to a lot of Motown growing up so like Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. When I’m singing I used to maybe try and sound like them but as you’re doing your own stuff your voice becomes its own. We try and mix it up a little bit.

Rob: Pete the bass player loves his rocky/punky Australian stuff.

Rory: You can tell he’s rock and metal. Jed’s really into his Americano music and the old classics and it’s a nice mix and all of these ideas get chucked into the pot

In an ideal world where would you see yourself or like to be in 5 years?

Rory: If we’re still doing this in 5 years and able to do the main stages like the Pyramid stage in Glastonbury, that’s kind of one of the pinnacle moments of music

Rob: Headlining arenas. Artistically we’d still be experimenting and I’d like to see a progression in our albums, we’ve just finished the first one so probably would have finished the second one in 5 years. I’d like to see a clear curve of progression.

Rory:  I reckon the third one by then, but yeah and hopefully not lose the sound but kind of experiment, evolve and mature. But if we’re still doing this in 5 years I’ll be happy for sure. For people to still care about the music and if that stops we’ll hang up the boots. But still doing this for sure, and selling out Manchester!

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