Words: Miljan Milekić
When it comes to Sunset Sons, nothing was by the textbook. From how they’ve met each other, to their first steps as a band, they had their own way and their own path. However, two things stand as a staple in their careers – their massive indie rock anthems, and their love and involvement in the extreme sports community. They recently released their new album ‘Blood Rush Déjà Vu,’ and we got in touch with singer Rory Williams to talk about new music, their beginnings, and their love for surfing. Check it below.
Hi guys! So, ‘Blood Rush Déjà Vu’ is finally out, and it’s great to have you back with new music. I know it’s still early, but are you happy with the feedback so far?
Rory: Super happy! We are really proud of this record, so to know that people are loving it too gives us a warm fuzzy feel.
The new album comes three years after your first full-length. Did you ever feel any fear of the sophomore slump, or any kind of pressure because of the successful debut?
Rory: Three years!! Holy shit, that’s a long time when you read it on paper. Once the songs started piling up and we found the direction we wanted to take, the ball started rolling. There’s always a bit of pressure, but like Pete always says: “pressure makes diamonds.”
Where do you think the new album stands in comparison to the earlier stuff? It seems like you’ve let yourselves experiment a little bit more, and explore some different influences.
Rory: On tour, the fans have told us that it feels like a really nice transition, and we agree. We definitely wanted to experiment on this album without going too far off the track. This album’s got more colors, some darker than others, which we really like.
I love how most media describe you as a British-Australian band from France, because of your hectic and unusual trajectory as a band. How do you look at yourselves right now, and where is your base at the moment?
Rory: People are often surprised we’re not French when we turn up at shows! Our base at the moment is the tour bus, which has become very cozy as we share it with Natural Mystery Museum. We take off for Christmas then get back on the bus for the European tour in January. We’re at home on the road.
At the very beginning, music was kind of a side thing for you, besides surfing. Do you still manage to find the time to surf?
Rory: We met in a bar called Le Surfing in a surf town, but music has always been our love, and it’s what put food on the table from the early days of going up the French Alps, playing covers. We surf when we’re at home, but the bus isn’t full of surfboards!
During the early days, surf and snowboard communities were basically the core audience for your band, but over the years, Sunset Sons gained much more traction and a much wider crowd. Do you still see yourselves as a part of those communities? Are you still involved with them?
Rory: They really supported us and still do. We are very lucky to have had such a great core fan base early on. We are so grateful for that, they got us in the charts which then got us our record deal. We play in surf towns and up the Alps when we can. It’s always an epic night out.
In just a few years you came a long way from playing covers in tiny bars to supporting bands such as Imagine Dragons and Nothing But Thieves to selling out legendary Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. How did that happen, and what was the most fun part of the ride?
Rory: It’s crazy when we really think about it. Not long before the arena tour with Imagine Dragons, we were playing bars. It’s really hard to comprehend at the time because it’s happening so fast and you’re just going with the flow. We learned so much on tour with those guys. Crowd surfing at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on our tour was one to remember! We’d come such a long way. Two nights at the O2 Arena wasn’t too shabby either.
In the past, you had a chance to play surf events, including World Surf League events. Can you compare the energy and the vibe of performance like those to the regular music festivals?
Rory: Playing surf events is always great, but generally, people are there to watch surfing, not music. At festivals, it’s another level, people truly buzzing on music. We can’t wait to get back out playing festivals next year. You can’t beat them.
So how do you feel about surfing being a part of the Olympics next year, and who’s your favorite to win it?
Rory: It’s great for the sport itself, and we have a few friends taking part for Team GB, so totally support them – go Jas! If it inspires more people to get out in the water, it’s cool. As long as the focus is not a corporate, money-making machine – that’s not what surfing should be.
One for the end – what’s next for Sunset Sons?
Rory: It’s safe to say we are back. This tour has been amazing, and we can’t wait to get to Europe in January. We love meeting everyone on the road and seeing the reaction to the new album. We just want to keep touring, playing festivals, and work on more music. Bring it on!