We spoke to anthemic indie-rockers Sunset Sons at Barn on the Farm Festival about pranking Imagine Dragons, fangirling over Noel Gallagher and the invention of gaffer tape…
Your new single ‘She Wants’ is out now – how would you describe it?
Pete: A fun and groovy rock tune!
Rob: I think that might be it… We heard it on the radio on the way here, which is always nice. It never gets boring. I think that if hearing your songs on the radio starts to get boring you kinda need to start doing something else. You always get a buzz.
Jed: Yeah, you’d trade it all in and become an electrician or something. Actually, I’d quite like to be a plasterer…
Rory: You’d be shit at it, though!
Jed: How do you know that!?
Rory: You just would be! Hey, I was there when you thought you invented gaffer tape…
Pete: Jed also once phoned the tour manager to get him to come and help look for his glasses. He couldn’t find them, because he couldn’t see without his glasses!
Jed: It was the morning after we’d played the Isle of Wight festival. We’d been there for two days, it was our first day off for three months, and Fleetwood Mac were playing. Naturally, I got drunk. I woke up in the morning, and I couldn’t see anything because I was still drunk, and to make it all worse I couldn’t find my glasses. I did the normal thing that you do when you’re in a band – you ring your tour manager and get them to sort it out!
Rory: If your mum’s not around, call the tour manager…
You’ve just played Glastonbury – how was it?
Jed: We were blown away. Michael Eavis stood and watched our set from the side of the stage! We made eye contact as I was playing, and he gave me a thumbs up… I was trying to get Rory’s attention to tell him, but he couldn’t hear me over the racket!
Rob: It was the best thing that I’ve ever been involved in.
Pete: It was fantastic. We played at midday, and we were like ‘who’s going to show up to see a band at midday?’, but it was packed.
Jed: When you start a band, you all have a list of things that you want to be able to tick off and say that you’ve done, and that was definitely one of the top boxes on my list. First of many to be ticked off, hopefully!
What do you guys think of Barn On The Farm?
Rory: It’s awesome! I’ve had a lovely ice cream and I saw a brilliant guy called Dan Owen. It’s a great festival.
You’re also supporting Imagine Dragons on their European arena tour later this year…
Pete: That’s the next box!
Rory: We’re stoked to play. There were a lot of bands that wanted to play that slot, and we won!
Jed: We basically begged them. ‘PLEASE, IMAGINE DRAGONS!’
Pete: Two months of playing to massive crowds… What could be better?
Jed: Imagine Dragons have got a lot of big fun rock tunes, and we’ve got a lot of big fun rock tunes, so we’re hoping that we’ll go well together. I’d like to think that people who like Imagine Dragons are going to love us.
Rory: We’re gonna have to do an initiation for them… Maybe a prank on the last night…
When can we expect to hear your debut album?
Pete: Do you know? We don’t!
Rory: The truth is that we’ve got to finish it first.
Jed: It’s nearly done – we just need to add a few finishing touches. We made the mistake of writing a few more songs that we really like, so we’re gonna record them in September and then pick the best ones to go on the album.
Rory: I reckon it’ll be out at the beginning of next year.
Jed: We keep having ideas for album names, but it’s only about eighty percent done… You can’t name your baby until you’ve seen it.
Rob: It’s called John.
Jed: We’re always writing, though. We haven’t got another day off until Christmas, and we always write when we’re on the road. I’d say that we’ll basically have the second record written by Christmas.
What made you want to start making music in the first place?
Rory: None of us wanted to get a real job. We looked around what we could do, and we ended up doing this… No, we’ve all been playing music since we were kids. I was six years old when I had my first piano lesson.
Jed: You’d be so crap at doing a ‘real job’.
Rory: Shut up. Just. Shut. Up. Seriously though, we’ve all been playing music for a long time, and it is weird how we all just met one evening in this one bar in France. I’m sure that anybody who is doing well and writing music together feels the same, but I can’t explain how or why this works – it just kind of happened. We wanted to play, and this happened.
Rob: It’s a bit like the Big Bang theory. Everything just worked out, and now we have the whole world.
Jed: It is a funny thing. I’d been in bands before, and then I met Rory when he played his first gig. It just all came together – you couldn’t write it.
Pete: ‘Where did you guys meet?’ ‘In a bar in France’ ‘What were you doing in France’ ‘…Surfing…’
Rory: We need a better backstory!
Jed: In fairness, for the first year of this band’s existence me and Rory were both sleeping in our vans. I slept next to my drum kit and my surfboard…
Can you talk us through your songwriting process?
Pete: I’ll show you.
*band huddle in circle*
What we do is this: I stand here, Rory stands there, Pete stands there, and Jed goes there. We all stand there for a while, and then we look at each other and say ‘have you got an idea?’.
And that’s basically it.
Jed: The way we wrote our first six or seven songs was pretty cool. We basically booked a ballet studio in the town we lived, and we had it for four hours every Friday. It didn’t matter if it was sunny, or if the waves were good, or if your missus wanted to go shopping – you went to the ballet studio. So we went there, and we wrote a song every week. The first song was cack – it sounded like it could’ve been in Top Gun – and the second one was She Wants.
Rob: The only pressure was on ourselves. For me, it was the first time I’d ever really written with anyone, so I was really excited about it. Writing a new song is always exciting.
Pete: We’d get ideas during the week, too. I’d come up with something on the bass and send it to all of the guys, and they’d be like ‘yep, we’ll work on that on Friday!’
Jed: What tended to happen was we’d get the song nearly finished on Friday, and then we’d have the week to think about it and come up with new bits and lyrics. We’d then go into the room on Friday and finish off a song as soon as we got there. By the end of the summer, we had all of the songs that were on our first EP.
Which of your songs are you most proud of?
All: Lost Company. It’s not been released yet, but if you’ve seen us live you’ll have already heard it.
Out of every song ever recorded, which do you wish you’d written?
Rory: Last night I had the privilege of watching Noel Gallagher play Don’t Look Back In Anger, which was amazing. However, I’m going to say Champagne Supernova.
Rob: Aw man, I was gonna say Champagne Supernova!
Jed: We supported Noel Gallagher yesterday, and we were just like a bunch of fanboys. We fangirled about playing on the same stage as him, and then spent the whole day walking around like ‘Oh my God, there’s Noel!’
Rob: I’ll take Whatever by Oasis.
Jed: Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen.
Pete: There are too many to choose from… I’ll go for Love In An Elevator by Aerosmith.
Jed: Now that he’s said Aerosmith, I’m tempted to say Dream On. What a tune!
Rory: Also, The Notorious B.I.G. Juicy. Done.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Pete: I cut my arm open at the Isle of Wight Festival a few weeks ago.
Jed: We all share hotel rooms, and it was a bit of a messy weekend. Pete was in the shower, and all I could hear was a load of banging and a lot of swearing. You know when you have those awful showers where you can’t get the temperature right?
Pete: One degree to the left was freezing, and one degree to the right was boiling.
Jed: He came out covered in blood, and basically told everybody that he was going home! I was just like ‘but Fleetwood Mac are on today!’
Pete: I went to the car, went to the hotel, ordered an Indian and went to sleep with my stupid cut arm, and I didn’t see Fleetwood Mac. Worst day ever.
Jed: An entire towel was soaked in blood… I can’t believe that the hotel didn’t ask any questions!
Rob: It was the worst hotel in the world, to be fair.
Describe each other in three words?
Pete: I’ll do Jed! Tired. Always tired.
Rob: Pete? Walking, talking foghorn. He’s gangly, too.
Pete: Just call me an Avatar, why don’t you? I’ll go and get a blue wetsuit.
Rory: Rob’s funny… Funny looking! Ha!
Jed: Rory’s an excited little puppy.