You could say that things came to fruition last autumn for indie outfit Sunset Sons. With a new album Blood Rush Déjà Vu realised in November 2019 and a UK tour that followed hot on its heels, this British-Australian band of Rory Williams Jed Laidlaw and Pete Harper, set off in their new chapter. We had a catch up with drummer Jed as he told us all about their new direction and all things Sunset.
Sunset Sons is a beautiful name that captures the essence and feel of the band eloquently. Jed articulated, “We searched for a name that summed us up for a long time. It’s funny because a name doesn’t really mean anything until people have heard your music. We’ve had some ups and downs as a band, but we are a tight unit like a dysfunctional family of brothers; I think you can feel that when you come see us live.“
With a headline tour and the new album released last winter, it felt like a pivotal time for the lads: “It was definitely exciting. We worked on the album for a long time, so we just wanted people to hear it and then get out there and play it live.” Blood Rush Déjà Vu, their sophomore album, proved a different experience altogether to Very Rarely Say Die. Jed considers, “We’ll always be super-proud of our debut album, but making this record was a really different process, mainly with the song choices.”
They debut had pretty much all the songs they had ever written on there. For Blood Rush Déjà Vu, they wrote about 40 songs and then chose the ones that worked the best together as a whole: “I feel like this album is much more expansive, and you can hear where we are now as a band. And where we are going.” The album draws on painful past experiences and has reflected on good times. Jed expands, “We all agree that we want to write songs that mean something to us. We have spent so much time together and shared so many experiences, so those come out when we write together. I hope that when people listen, the songs resonate with them. A song can mean one thing to one person and something totally different to another. But that’s cool with us, as long as it means something.”
During the recording period, the boys kept their creative juices flowing and felt inspired: “We were listening to a range of stuff. We kept talking about how we wanted the album to sound tough but beautiful. The Smashing Pumpkins got referenced a lot. And LCD Soundsystem.” Jed’s favourite song on their record changes all of the time: “I listened to Superman last night, and I was proud of it.” Jed recalls the day they recorded it: “At one stage, it was just Rory’s vocals and a piano and drums. It sounded so good, just like that, and we were joking that it was finished already. It wasn’t, but it was a good sign we were making something great.”
All three members are experienced in travelling and residing in different countries to home. Therefore it makes absolute sense that touring comes naturally to them: “Our lifestyles before we were in the band were pretty nomadic. Surfers have always travelled and touring feels similar. I’m super comfortable living out of a bag.” This tour saw them stop-off in Jed’s hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne: “It’s always has been like a second home for the boys. When we first started as a band, we all came and stayed at my Mam’s place while we rehearsed for the tour. Our crew has always been Geordies, and the lads are good friends with all my mates from home. A Toon gig will always go off.”
Love and devotion to surfing brought these explorers together, but it was their passion for music, which propelled them into the thriving outfit that they are today. Promising times for the Sunset Sons, where the feeling is that we can everyone can come along for the ride and enjoy the travels to see where 2020 leads...
Article by Beverley Knight