Sunset Sons is an Anglo-Aussie rock band formed in Hossegor, France. So far, they released EP The Fall Line and singles, “Know My Name” and “Somewhere Maybe” and exploded in popularity while touring alongside Imagine Dragons. We talked to the guys about the release of their album Very Rarely Say Die and much more.
Hey guys! My first question’s an easy one- How’d you all meet?
Pete (Bass): How’s it going, Jake? We met in a pub called Le Surf in Hossegor, France. We were all traveling independently at the time. Jed (Drums) was teaching surf lessons. I was hanging out with my cousin who owns the pub. Rory (Vocals) was surfing with some other mates and Rob (Guitar) was mates with the chef.
Sounds like fate! So how did the band form?
Pete: Jed came into the pub one night while Rory was playing some weird, eclectic tunes on a little Casio. He played stuff like Kanye West, D12, Queens of the Stone Age… all sorts of things.
Jed: I saw him and thought, “Cash Cow!”
Pete: (Pointing at Rory) There’s a way to make some money!
You guy’s would make great talent scouts! So your debut record Very Rarely Say Die will be released on April 1st. First off, Congratulations! Can you guys tell me a little bit about it?
Rob: It took us about a year to record this album. We went to Blackbird Studios in Nashville in September of 2015 to get started.
Pete: We did four songs with Jacquire King, a three time grammy winning producer. He’s worked with all kinds of people- Norah Jones, Kings of Leon, Tom Waits…
Rory: We started recording, but we never stopped writing. As the album progressed we realized these songs needed another look, so we went back to the U.K. Some of the stuff was great, but we weren’t sure what we wanted to keep so we did some recording with our original producer, James Lewis. That really helped inspire the new material. We wanted to capture the same vibe as when we started. Between the two locations, we finally got the record where we wanted. We didn’t mind taking the time to make that happen.
I know you guys record a ton of songs. That must make choosing the right music for Very Rarely Say Die difficult! Can you each tell me your favorite tune on your debut and why?
Pete: My favorite song at the moment… well, it changes all the time. Probably “Gold”. It’s a funky and groovy tune with an awesome vibe. But it changes everyday
Rory: (Sarcastic)Wow funky and groovy? Those are two words we don’t really use! For me, it’s a song called “Lost Company”. The lyrics are very close to my heart and it sounds really uplifting. It feels like a celebration. The tune shows the direction we’re heading in. I’d be happy to make another tune like that.
Rob: I can’t choose, their all such belters! I’ll go with “September Song”. By the time we recorded the take we wanted to use, the song just flowed so effortlessly. The melody is nice and it turned out to be a really great tune. Simple reason, but my favorite nonetheless.
Jed: Well we got to hear the vinyl the other day.When you listen to side A, it sort of amps you up for the night. Side B is perfect for when your chilling out afterwards. Since hearing the vinyl I’d have to say my favorite is “Know My Name”. It just sounds like a proper opener. From the minute we wrote it, I always knew it’d be the first tune on the record.
I really love records that tell a story or sort of guide you through an experience. Looking forward to hearing it as a whole. You’ve already released two singles this past year- “Know My Name” and “Somewhere Maybe”. How have the new tunes been received thus far?
Rory: Really great man. We’ve been getting emails from all over the place saying their playing it in Germany, France, etc.
Pete: The Youtube video for “Somewhere Maybe” has been getting 10,000 views a day recently.
Wow, it’s really taking off! I wanted to ask you about the video. Can you explain the concept behind it? What was it like on set?
Pete: That was all Rory. Take it away buddy!
Rory: Awkward… Well, we basically had a meeting all together about the video.
Pete: We just wanted to get Rory’s top off! (laughter)
Rory: The song itself is about escapism. The directors concept of it was just a guy driving in a nice car, sort of fun and games. We wanted to put a twist on it. We’re a bit weird so we started throwing out some Tarantino and Rodriguez inspired ideas. They picked out an actress for the video but we didn’t really think she was the right fit. We put it on hold after that. I was in London when I got a message from my manager saying, “We found the girl.”
Jed: Want to know how that happened?
Jed: They sent me pictures of actress after actress. It took a while, but I finally found a girl I thought he’d like!
Rory: She was great! I knew as long as I could be comfortable, everything would be alright. Some of the scenes were a bit more racy than what I’m used to. She was supercool and French, which was great because we spend so much time in France. Oh, and I got to ride in a 67′ Mustang all day! I was so excited.
Pete: Didn’t you go off to the pub and do a massive burnout?
Rory: Yeah, I did! We had been filming for something like seven hours. I got sort of bored so I went off to the pub with our manager, put my foot down and the car just went flying. It was epic!
That sounds so epic. Congratulations on that alone, man!
Rory: Thanks! So yeah, the video was cool. People seem to be liking it. I won’t spoil the twist at the end.
Yeah, don’t give anything away. I definitely didn’t see it coming. So, when I listen to you guys I feel a strong inspiration from the Kings of Leon. Am I right or am I crazy?
Rob: Obviously Rory’s voice has a similar tone to Caleb’s but that’s as far as it goes really. We’re definitely all fans. We love that band. I remember hammering out their albums when we were driving in the alps together.
Rory: To say there is no influence at all would be stupid. I’ve listened to those early records over and over again. They’re still my favorite. Aha Shake Heartbreak is my go-to album on a road trip. It was nice to talk to Jacquire about how he made it. We’ve taken inspiration from them, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, and all kinds of bands. We like to think we put a little twist on it. It’s our sound you know?
Pete: Any comparison to probably the biggest rock band of their generation is a compliment.
Absolutely. Your sound is definitely original. At least I’m not crazy, right? Tell me about your best surfing experience in the States.
Jed: I went surfing in New York last week at Rockaway beach- it was amazing.
Pete: Last summer was the first time in ages when we’ve had a day off in somewhere new in a long time. We took our surfboards and went over to Trestles (Whitestone, VA) and we walked about for awhile in the sun. The waves weren’t super clean, but we surfed for like two hours. Then we went back to the beach for some food and surfed again. It was the first time we’ve done that since the band kicked off. It was awesome and we were all together, which is always a bonus.
Rory: Everyone tells you if you can get a wave there, it’ll be the best of your life. But the competition is insane. You surf, Jake?
I don’t. I’m no good in the water.
Rory: (Laughter) Alright, I like your honesty!
When in America, where do you get your favorite fast food?
Pete: I love all the Mexican food. In Nashville, we went to Baja Burritos which was right around the corner from Blackbird Studio where we record. Their food is amazing.
Rory: Best fish tacos! Pete loves the slurpees at 7/11!
Pete: They don’t have 7/11 in France or England so it was cool to find one on nearly every street corner, especially in LA.
They are as good as they are convenient! Now, you guys must love to travel and we’ve all had our share of travel nightmares. What you scariest story from the road?
Rory: Theres a story that definitely pops into my mind. We were driving off to a gig in the French alps I swear someone told us that we should probably get snow tires for our van. Then someone else said we didn’t need them because they’re too expensive. After we started driving through the snow, there was no controlling the car. We couldn’t stop and we were nearing this concrete verge that separated two roads. One went above and the other went low.
Pete: It looked like a skate ramp.
Rory: We pretty much went up an icy skate ramp in a van. Luckily, we sort of fell off it before sliding into traffic.
Jed: We did like half a 50-50.
Rory: (Laughs) Yeah! We landed off the road and probably destroyed the suspension even though it kept driving. We stopped to make sure we were all alright. I think I was playing Angry Birds at the time! We finally get to the gig and we’re an hour late. The venue wasn’t happy about it. We told them we were sorry.
Pete: And we nearly died!
Without you, they’d have no show. Glad you guys are safe. I couldn’t even imagine.
Rory: Thanks. Nobody even cared! It was the worst show. All they said was, “Yeah… But you’re late!”
That’s not cool! At least nobody got hurt. I want to ask a final question to close out- If you guys could take one record with you to the grave, what would it be?
Pete: Appetite For Destruction by Guns and Roses.
Rory: What’s the Story Morning Glory by Oasis.
Jed: The River by Bruce Springsteen.
Rob: I’ll say Nevermind by Nirvana.
Nice, good one!
Rory: What was wrong with the other ones?
Jed: (Sarcastically) This interview is over, Jake!
Sunset Sons new debut album ‘Very Rarely Say Die’ is out April 1st 2016 on French Exit via Kobalt Label Services. For further information on Sunset Sons please visit www.sunsetsons.com