We grill all four members of new boys on the block, Sunset Sons.
Tell us the journey thus far – how were Sunset Sons ‘born’?
Rory: We met when we all ended up living in Hossegor, which is a little surf town in the South West of France. Pete’s cousin has a bar there called Le Surfing and everyone hangs out there all the time.
Jed: Rory was working in the kitchen but one night was doing a little gig on the piano in the bar. We immediately got talking and decided to put together a band to try and earn some money.
Rob: Like most bands do, we started off playing covers. We went up to the French alps, as the community in Hossegor generally moves there over winter. We played loads of extremely raucous gigs around the bars there, most nights of the week. We were playing around 4 hours a day towards the end so got pretty tight as a group.
Pete: We were dropping our own songs into sets without saying anything and we ended up just doing them as encores and getting a good reaction, so we decided that last summer when we got back to the beach we’d just concentrate on our own songs. We recorded a little EP in a tiny studio in Bayonne and put it up on iTunes ourselves and it did pretty well, it’s all went from there really.
Are there ever any fights when it comes to compromising on the sound or direction of particular tracks?
Jed: We spend a lot of time together so we’re like a little family.. Sometimes family’s fight, but never in a serious way.
Rory: Not usually about the music we are making either. If we’re all having fun playing it and we’re having a good time then it’s all good.
You’ve recently signed to a major label – do you feel any extra pressure on creating tracks or the expectations from records to do well?
Rob: Being signed gives us the confidence that people believe in us. We love playing live and are really excited to put that all down onto a record.
Pete: Anyway, Pressure creates diamonds (hopefully).
How has festival season treated you? Do you have any summer highlights from any live shows you’ve played this year?
Rory: We loved the festivals. We can’t wait to play them all again! Boardmasters was blown away by Hurricane Bertha, so although we got to play the Beach Sessions on the Thursday, we had to cancel main stage on the Sunday, which was a real shame. We put on a little gig in Newquay that night for stranded festival-goers anyway and it was pretty special. We’ll be back to Boardmasters next year we’re sure.
Rob: Reading and Leeds was a massive highlight. Having everyone chanting for one more song at 2:30 in the afternoon was a bit surreal.
Jed: Yeah, the BBC introducing thing there has really helped us on our way, with radio plays. That’s one festival that next year we’re looking forward to progressing up the rungs a bit!
Are you looking forward to playing London’s KOKO on Halloween? What can we expect from the live shows and how will you be celebrating halloween? Can we expect costumes on-stage?
Rory: Yeah! We hear Koko is a great venue with loads of history.
Pete: Playing live is what we are all about. We love playing to people and working for a reaction.. Costumes..? Wait and see.
Tell us more about the new EP ‘No Bad Days’?
Jed: Pete saw it written on a t-shirt and thought that it pretty much summed up our life at the moment. We are all just really happy to be able to make music and be in a band (and surf occasionally these days). This is what we’ve been working towards. The EP is sounding great. It’s a really good representation of what we are about.
Are there any tracks on the EP that you’re more proud of than others?
Rory: ‘Remember’ is sounding pretty massive.
Pete: Also we finally got to record ‘Watch Your Back’… That song always gets a lot of love when we play it live, we usually end with it.
Tell us about the aesthetics of the band – if you had to compare yourselves to any other musician / band, who would come close?
Rory: That’s a good but tough question. We’re most of the time unaware of the scene or what’s been going on when we’re in France. We don’t even have radios really…
Rob: People draw comparisons and that’s cool and have been majorly flattering, but we feel like we have our own identity. We love loads of other bands out there at the moment, but not sure who sounds like us.
Jed: Unless you think we look and sound like a young E Street Band..!!! That would be juuussssst fine..
Who would you cite as main inspirations / influences when you’re creating and carving out your own sound?
Rory: We all like different stuff . I’m into Motown. Pete has his metal and hard rock. Jed’s really into Americana classics like Tom Petty and Springsteen.. Rob likes what he’s told..
What has been the best and worst live gigs you’ve ever played?
Rob: Reading was amazing and we all thought we couldn’t top it.. Then Leeds was even better.. I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad gig. We always have a good time playing.
Pete: We’ve played a couple of gigs at The Balcony in St Ives, and those ones are always off the scale, people crowd surfing on surfboards and having huge drink / water fights. It’s only a small bar, I think we’ll have to try and play there every year.
Do you have any tour rituals?
Jed: We refuse to go anywhere without Rusty (our Tour Manager)! He’s twice tried to get out of doing it, but we’ve always managed to convince him to stay on with us.
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Words: Shane Hawkins.