Festivals 2015: The Great Escape – Sunset Sons Q&A

We talk to the indie rock four piece ahead of their Thursday show at Concorde 2

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Sunset Sons are one of the most exciting indie-rock prospects touring and releasing in the UK Today. Their latest EP The Fall Line showcases their charismatic music at its best. Jed, Rob, Rory and Pete talk to Chris Owen about touring Europe, recording in Nashville in an ice storm, and exchanging carrier pigeons with Imagine Dragons.

You played a sold out show at Scala [London’s iconic gig venue] earlier this week. Does that feel like a confirmation of the success you’ve been amassing?

Jed: It was amazing. It was this perfect moment, where we were all on stage together thinking ‘Yep, this is definitely happening now’.

Rob: It just felt great. Everything felt good, sounded good, clicked into place. It was busy, and it’s a cool venue.

And what’s coming up next on the tour schedule?

Rory: We’ve got festival season, and then a short tour in California. We’ve just finished our a load of dates, and the crowds have just been amazing.

Jed: We went to loads of places in Europe we’ve never been to before – all these places where we haven’t even got a single out, and the rooms are full of people who all know the words to anything they can find on the internet. Germany in particular was mad.

Rory: This tour’s been pretty spread out, but we’ve covered a lot of ground.

Pete: We played King Tut’s [another icnonic venue in Glasgow], and that’s a really crazy great place. They’ve got all these names scrawled on the walls of previous bands who’ve played there over the years. It’s great to be a part of that.

Nouse interviewed Ray Morris recently, who, like you guys, was longlisted for the Sound of 2015. She said, in light of all the hype, that it becomes hard to gauge how big your profile is. Have you found that too?

Jed: Yeah totally. It’s a weird thing. There is no real gauge for that sort of thing – people keep coming up and saying ‘you must be so excited about all the hype’, and we’re like ‘Really? There’s hype?’. For us we’re still the same four lads in the same band.

Pete: There’s definitely no hype when you’re in the back of a van for 8 hours driving across Germany.

Jed: Recently, we left a gig venue ahead of a show to go and get food, and we we’re walking past this huge queue of people waiting to see us, and it’s like ‘fucking hell, people know us’.

Rory: With The Great Escape too, last year we played The Alternative Escape [TGE’s fringe event] which was the first festival we’d ever done. It’s cool to come back and be on the main line up.

With the Sound of 2015 poll, were you happy to be included? And equally, do you consider it a good sign that you didn’t make the final shortlist?

Jed: When we first got on it, Rory, who’s the most competitive person in the world, was losing his mind, telling us ‘we’ve got to win, we’ve got to win’. But winning’s a bad idea, because then there’s just so much pressure on you to deliver.

Pete: You have everyone looking from every angle, waiting to see what happens.

Jed: It’s really cool to make it onto those kinds of lists though. We made it onto the MTV and XFM ones, and that’s nice because it’s like someone putting a little stamp on you.

Pete: Who even makes the decisions on those things?

I believe it’s ‘tastemakers’ and experts.

Rory: At least the have good taste. I suppose to be on three of those lists within a couple of weeks of each other makes you start realising how many bands and acts are actually out there. There’s everything from pop to heavy rock bands, so to be on those lists is something special.

Jed: There’s only a couple of bands on the final cuts so it does really feel very special.

So you’ve released three EPs so far?

Pete: Yep, three EPs, and we’ve just finished recording the album in Nashville. We went over there for five weeks in February. It was freezing cold.

Rory: The whole time we were there there was this ice storm, it was pretty intense.

Jed: The album should be out towards the end of the year. It’s done, the bones of it are there, but there’s still some finishing touches to work into it.

And will the album take you in a similar direction musically?

Pete: Yeah, we’re sticking to what we know. We’re just four guys who make music that we like – we’re just seeing where it takes us.

Rob: We’re not veering off in any directions, by including loads of synths or anything like that. We’re keeping to our sound.

Rory: We’re just committed to making the album the best it can possibly be.

And how have you found being on such a huge label as Polydor? Have you maintained the creative freedom that you started out with?

Rory: Yeah, they’ve been great. They pretty much let us do our own thing. There will be times when we do a bunch of demos and they’ll say ‘we’re not really feeling that’, but we’re writing for ourselves, and everything generally works out really well.

And you’ve just announced you’re supporting ImagineDragons later this year. How did that come about?

Jed: They sent a carrier pigeon.

Pete: A carrier pigeon with an EP strapped to its foot.

Rob: We got put forward on a shortlist, and they actually chose us, which is even cooler. It’s great that someone’s listened to our stuff and said ‘yeah, those boys are right for us’.

Pete: The shortlist was like 50 bands, and we came out on top, which is just incredible. And there’s two nights at the O2.

Rory: We’ve had a little taste of that when we did two suport shows for Angus and Julia Stone in France, and one of them was this huge venue in Paris. We got a taste of what it could feel like, and it’s fucking brilliant.

Rob: There was no nerves. It just felt right.

Catch Sunset Sons at a host of UK and Europe festivals this summer. Their EP The Fall Line is available for download.

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