FORGOTTEN SONS (from l-r): Craig Watt (bass), Robert “Birdy” Burgess (vocals), John Gair (drums), Sandy Middleton (guitar/vocals)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
They may be from the most northern point of the British Isles, but Shetland four-piece Forgotten Sons are determined not to let their geographical isolation deter them from pursuing their musical ambitions.
Since forming in 2015, the band have gathered much momentum for a captivating sound full of heavy riffs, melodic hooks, and high energy.
This, along with frank, heartfelt songwriting and a strong work ethic, has seen them compared to such outfits as Biffy Clyro, Alkaline Trio, and the Foo Fighters.
The quartet spoke to me about their recent appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, what can be expected from their new single, out next month, and how it is for them coming from one of the places you would think would produce a heavy rock collective.
How did the band form?
The band formed when four close friends decided to part ways with their individual bands and get together to form Forgotten Sons. We were all hanging out and socialising together out with the band, so we decided to join forces.
From where did the name Forgotten Sons originate?
We all like the band Rise Against and liked their song ‘Long Forgotten Sons’. We also had a joke saying we were forgotten about in the Shetland music scene as it is mostly fiddles and accordion music.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
Birdy and Sandy usually sit down together in the house with Sandy coming up with guitar riffs. The lyrics are put together by the pair of them. We all meet up at band practice and jam the songs until we get a structure to the song.
What inspires the band’s lyrics?
Mostly Birdy writes about previous relationship problems or life issues. Life itself is our inspiration for lyrics.
You were recently featured on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat. How did that come about?
BBC Newsbeat were coming up to Shetland to do a feature on the isle and the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival. We had a friend that put our band forward to them, and we had an interview that was aired on BBC Radio 1.
And I presume you’ve had a lot of interest since that went out?
We have had interest from all corners of the UK, and quite recently had some airtime in the Netherlands.
Next month, the band will be bringing out a new single, ‘Ragged Sails High’. How has the recording process been?
We recorded a demo ourselves in an old house with our drummer, John, mixing it. The Animal Farm label took our demo, remixed it to a high quality, and got it mastered in Wales.
And what can be expected of it?
It is quite a rocky number compared to our last single, ‘Leave The Light On’. There is a lot of energy and power to this song.
Coming from the Shetland Isles, how is the music scene there?
Mostly fiddles and accordions. There is a rock scene up here, but it sways towards the heavy metal side of things. We are halfway in between with our sound.
Are there many other bands/artists from that area doing what you’re doing?
We have a handful of bands that are the same genre as us, but they will concentrate on covers rather than creating their own songs.
What’s planned for after the upcoming single is released?
We are headlining the Pitmedden Festival in Aberdeenshire towards the end of May, on the Saturday night. We also plan on doing a mini-tour of Scotland to get ourselves known on the mainland.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
We’d love to be gigging all the time and getting ourselves heard. We’d love to quit our day jobs and do this for a living.
‘RAGGED SAILS HIGH’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM FORGOTTEN SONS, WILL BE RELEASED VIA THE ANIMAL FARM ON MARCH 23.
FURTHER INFO ON THIS, AND THE BAND, CAN BE FOUND HERE.