When the time comes to do an interview, I’m always apprehensive when researching ‘cause I don’t want my interviewee to be a dickhead – this one did not disappoint. Lead singer Rory from 4-piece outfit Sunset Sons is the nicest chap I swear. So nice that he offered to smuggle me into Glastonbury (he didn’t actually do it though, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal) – yep, nice guy this one.
How’s it going?
‘It’s all good, I’m keeping really well! We’re in Holland right now killing some time before flying back to Manchester; we’ve done 3 festivals over the weekend, two in Germany and one in Holland which has been mental. We weren’t sure how it’d go down ‘cause we had an early slot on the main stage but it went down really well. It’s the biggest stage we’ve played and the audience were great.’
What’ve you guys been upto?
‘If I start from the top of the year that might be easier, so we’ve spent 5 weeks in Ashfield finishing the record, I think we expected it to be done by now but it’s our baby and we wanna make sure it’s perfect so we reckon we’re around 95% done. We toured the UK (including a Sheffield date which sold out), went off and toured Europe, did another UK tour and topped it off with some dates in the States, it was our first time being there. Festival season is now open so we’re on with those, we’ve done these few in Germany and Glastonbury, we did Live at Leeds which was rad, then we have Leeds & Reading and Barn on the Farm amongst a few others coming up.’
How did it all begin?
‘I’ll go with the short story, the long story would take all day. Sunset Sons have been going for about two years, we signed this time last year which was insane, you never know what’s gonna happen when you start writing tunes and putting music out there, our first EP got released and all these labels started being interested – our manager actually had to start working! The boys and I met in the South of France, we were all there separately and just came across one another; we met in a bar where I was washing dishes and Rob was a mutual friend of the chef and he got us talking and it went from there – it was a total match made in heaven!’
How does the band work?
‘It’s a massively collaborative thing, ideas can come from anything – sometimes just a drum beat is all we need and we’ll be like: “give us a beat and we’ll just jump in!”. This is our job now so we have to commit more time, it used to be just Friday afternoons that were our rehearsal days, we’ll get together and whoever has an idea would bring it forward and we’ll work on it.’
Where do you draw inspiration from?
‘For me, I’m a big Motown fan, I love that old school rock n’ roll and when I started writing I wanted to bring elements of Ray Charles into it, particularly my vocals but when I was told my vocals weren’t the same I could focus on just bringing that Motown Vibe to our music. It’s all about what you grow up with I reckon. There are also bands going nowadays who we see and like and can draw inspiration from, we saw Alt-J perform recently and their light show was crazy and fit so well with their performance so we took some notes and thought we should jump on that.’
How would you describe your sound?
‘I don’t wanna use typical genres, I don’t wanna say that we’re rock n roll because there’ll always be someone to say: “you ain’t rock n roll mate”. I think we’re just a party band with some booze and girls in the mix. People have chucked comparisons about and we’ve been compared to a lot of bands that we like which is great but I think our sound is just a party vibe – we play rock music in our special way.’
Where would you guys like to be in 5 years?
‘A gig on the moon would be wicked, we have this big running joke whenever people ask us what our plan is, we tell them we’re off to the moon in our Sunset Sons rocket ship! We just wanna be a band that are constantly improving; there are a lot of bands that we love who peaked early and did all their best shit in the first two years – we don’t wanna be one hit wonders. I guess we’d just love to be doing this but at a higher level, maybe get a taste of those headline festival slots.’
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be and why?
‘Rob and I have done every job under the sun between us, I went to France because I was living to work and it sucked; I had a bit of money and just went, I wasn’t making a lot but I could get by in my cushy little life. I’d previously had jobs that I could have succeeded in if I’d stayed. I’d be washing dishes, but washing dishes in a realllllly posh hotel – you know the ones that have mint imperials, no wait! Truffles in a bowl when you walk in – that shit is posh, you know you’ve hit the big time when you get there… Of Ferrero Rocher stacked in a big pyramid, now that’s fancy. Maybe I’d try my hand at chef-ing.’
If you could perform with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
‘Both of my top two are dead so to avoid morbidity I’ll give you one alive and one dead. So Ray Charles, just because it’s Ray Charles. I think Jamie T would be pretty good too, I have a lot of time for that dude… I had breakfast next to him once in Hackney but it was early and I figured he wouldn’t want a conversation – though I was actually just trying not to fangirl, that man is the tits.’
What’s your favourite song of yours and why?
‘’Lies’; I struggle to listen to our tunes once they’re finished but I can happily listen to that time and time again. It’s slow-paced, the recording process was different to how we usually work, and it’s a bit darker. We haven’t played it live yet, we’re waiting until we’ve built a bigger fan-base; that’s when we start cracking the weirder tunes out.’
Check Sunset Sons out on their festival domination this summer, and find them on Twitter (@SunsetSons) for all the latest.
By Ellie Greenfield