There are heaps of reasons why people end up in bands together. For British/Australian four-piece Sunset Sons, it was a cocktail of sun and surf with a dash of fate for good measure. "We woke up hungover and in a band," said drummer Jed, describing their first hook up when we caught up with two of the foursome recently.
That fateful night happened in Hossegor, a sweet little surf spot in the south-west of France. He wandered into a bar where vocalist and pianist Rory was settling into his first ever gig. "I just thought he had this amazing voice and afterwards we got talking and had a load of drinks." Once their hangovers had subsided, bassist Pete and guitarist Rob were added into the mix.
Don't be deceived by their sloppy, surf-bum demeanors. Sunset Sons are hard grafters. Once surf season came to a close, they shifted the operation inland and continued to cut their teeth playing covers to seasonaires in the Alps, sometimes playing as many as nine two-hour sets a week. Luckily, this hard slog paid dividends and rock-solid live performances are now standard procedure for these guys.
Organically, they began to incorporate originals into their sets. The raucous après ski crowd lapped up their signature brand of hook-laden, melodic indie-rock. It's easy to draw comparisons to Kings of Leon, Rory's gravelly timbre sounds an awful lot like Caleb's, but they don't list any bands in particular as major influences, "We are just a rock n roll band who isn’t scared of a big chorus!"
It wasn't long before label scouts were ascending mountains to catch them live. The band have recently signed with Polydor and since then, life in the Sunset Sons camp has become very exciting indeed. The BBC included them on their Sound of 2015 longlist and they have been tipped by MTV Brand New and XFM Great Xpectations.
Worlds away from their former laidback surfing lifestyle, Pete assured us that they mostly take it all in their stride, "There are some days when I do feel like we’ve been shot out of a cannon. But this is what we all dreamed of. Making music and travelling and playing shows. What’s more fun than that?"
They're already a couple of EPs into their career but they recently headed to Nashville, where they recorded their debut album with legendary producer Jacquire King. As a band who are so obviously at home on stage, Pete told us that it took a while to find their feet in studio, “It’s loads of fun, but it's like learning another instrument. Or another language.”
Release dates for the record are not set in stone yet, but Jed told us that they are looking forward to giving some of the new tunes a live airing on their upcoming tour. Their last run of shows was a complete sell-out but tickets are still available for the Irish leg in Whelan's, “We’re still getting used to hearing people sing our songs back to us. And those few minutes waiting to go on at the side of the stage and you can actually feel the room buzzing.”
Their show in May won't be their debut performance on our shores, though only a select few had the pleasure of seeing that particular show last November, “We went on an awesome surf trip to Bundoran with the guys from Carve Magazine and as part of the trip, some of the local surfers organised a gig for us at the local pub. They did not however tell us that the gig was at someone’s 21st birthday party. Basically, we played for half an hour to room full of stunned party goers holding sausage rolls. We smashed a few Guinness after that!”
This trip, then, will be a slightly more formal affair. That's not to say it won't rock.
Sunset Sons plays Whelan's main venue on Saturday the 9th of May.