Sunset Sons are currently in the middle of a huge UK tour in support of their debut album ‘Very Rarely Say Die‘, which was released to critical acclaim on the 1st April this year. It’s a big year for the band who have been gradually building a reputation for catchy tunes and energetic live shows. GIGsoup’s Suzanne Oswald caught up with Jed Laidlaw, the band’s drummer, to find out more about the album, their influences and what’s in store for 2016.
You’ve been working on your debut album for a while now. How does it feel to finally have it ready to put out there?
We can’t wait to get it out there. It’s taken about 18 months to get finished and we are just really buzzing for people to hear it.
Where did you record the album and how did you find the recording process?
We recorded it all over. We started it in Nashville with our friend and incredible producer Jacquire King. He’s worked with so many amazing artists (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, James Bay) and we were straight on a plane when we heard he wanted to work with us. We came back from Nashville about this time last year and went straight on tour, then into playing about 25 festivals all over the UK and Europe. We kept writing songs and after summer, we had a load of them we wanted to record, to give them a chance to go on the record. We went back to the studio in Bayonne in the SW of France, near home, with James Lewis who produced our first couple of EPs. It made sense to finish it where we started. There’s songs we recorded along the way in London and Wales too. The record has travelled the world with us.
After appearing on the BBC Sound of 2015 list, you’ve been building up a fan base. Do you feel there’s a degree of expectation surrounding the album? Is there any pressure?
If there wasn’t any pressure then it would mean people didn’t care. Pressure makes diamonds. Being on lists like the BBC Sound Of has been great for us. It’s made people sit up and listen. We were on that list really early before we’d even started recording our debut really. But once you’re on you’re on. We’ve just run with it and kept touring the whole time. Building it the old fashioned way.
You’re about to go on a huge tour around the UK and Europe to support the release of the album. What can fans expect from a Sunset Sons show?
Our live show is pretty rocking. Apart from in the studio, it’s the only place we have full control. We want people to leave saying ‘they’re a fucking great live band!”. All the best bands are.
Do you enjoy life on the road?
It can get pretty monotonous and you miss the home comforts but we’re all doing what we love so we can’t complain. Everything is worth it for that hour a day when we are onstage having the time of our lives
You were playing arenas with Imagine Dragons not too long ago. How was that experience? Are they an influence on you?
We played 35 of the fuckers! It was the most amazing thing we’ve ever been a part of. Playing to over 10k people a night and converting them everywhere we went. It was also just so cool to see how our songs can fill a big space. We watched the Imagine Dragons guys pretty much every night. They really know how to perform and put on a great show. So yeah, every day was a little school day.
To go back to the start, you guys all met in Hosseger in France, how did that come about?
We all met in a little surf town called Hossegor in the South West of France. I was travelling about teaching surfing and living in my van and I went to a new bar my mate had opened (Le Surfing). The night I arrived, Rory was doing a little gig getting paid in burritos and we got talking after. We decided to make a band so we didn’t have to get jobs. Pete was on holiday from Australia and Rob we met through the chef at the same bar. We met in a pub by the beach is the short version.
Has your music been influenced by meeting there?
We write about all sorts of things but mainly from experience. We’ve been living the same life a little while now. There’s love songs on the record. And songs about escapism which is something we know a bit about. Some nostalgia too. A bit of everything.
People are always quick to mention your involvement with surfing. How much of an impact has that had on you as a band? And are you afraid that it could pigeonhole you?
I think sometimes it’s a little lazy for people to say that. Surfing is something that we all do and yeah if it hadn’t been for the ocean we probably wouldn’t have all been in that same place when we met. But that’s where it ends. The music is the music. It’s not unusual for a band to have a common interest. People like to jog don’t they? Would they play ‘jogger rock’?
Finally, what does the rest of 2016 have in store for Sunset Sons?
We’ve got this massive album tour to do and then a load of festivals. Playing a little higher on the bill this year and loving every minute. It’s all good.
This Sunset Sons article was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor.