THE SUNSET RADIO (from l-r): Rob Scarr (drums), Aaron “Az” Lees (bass), Adam Maw (vocals/guitar), Ricki Hutton (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTO by MALCOLM BRYCE
From North Yorkshire, The Sunset Radio are a four-piece specialising in an anthemic, melodic indie-rock sound, including elements of punk and pop, and delivered at breakneck speed.
Having last year released two positively-received singles, it seems the emerging outfit have struck gold once again with their latest track, ‘Old Goodbyes’, and they chatted to me about this, as well as a whole range of band-related topics.
How did the band get together?
The band got together through a couple of friends jamming together on acoustic guitars. Az and Adam had a few of these over some beers, then decided to invite Ricki along, and then we made the decision to start a band.
The issue was that we come from a small town in Yorkshire called Selby and there isn’t even that many people there who are into rock music, let alone people who play drums!
We then went on the hunt for a capable drummer, and went through something that more closely resembled a comedy sketch than an actual band.
The search included a drummer who moved away after learning a couple of our songs to work on the oil rigs, a drummer who moved to Poland after learning all the songs, a drummer who learnt all the songs then decided it wasn’t for him, and a man who turned up to a practice sat behind the drum kit and was hit with the realisation that he couldn’t actually play the drums, which was like turning up for a driving test without having any lessons.
Anyway, we finally came across Rob around 18 months later, thanks to him working with Adam, and the line-up was finally completed.
From where did the name The Sunset Radio originate?
The name was one that was a working title for about as long as our search for a drummer, but we had decided early on that we wanted to be called The “Something” Radio.
We then had it narrowed down to every two syllable word in the English language for what the middle word should actually be.
One drunken night, with time running out to make a decision on what that word should be, we finally settled on Sunset, unfortunately none of us remember the reason why the next morning, but we woke up and had a band name.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
Each of us have a different set of influences that we all draw upon when bringing our sound together. Adam would point to bands like The Beatles and The Clash as big influences, Az is a massive fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rob is a fan of Jack White, and Ricki is into heavier bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Enter Shikari.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
So far, the formula has been that Adam has written either a full or half a song on the acoustic guitar, which he will bring to the rest of the band, and from there, we will work out what bits to add where, in order to make the song more suited to a full band performance.
This approach has seen us come across some that we aren’t initially sure on as being our favourites, and ones that seemed great initially, but ended up not quite working.
Recently, the band unveiled a new track, entitled ‘Old Goodbyes’. How was the recording process for that?
The recording process itself was pretty chilled out, as we got it done over a couple of days at a studio in Wakefield. The main issue, however, was battling through the snow earlier in the year down some winding country roads to actually get to the studio!
And how has the reaction been to the single so far?
The reaction to the single so far has been very positive. It is a great one to perform live, and the crowds have really been getting into it.
Will ‘Old Goodbyes’ eventually lead to an EP/album release?
We will be hoping to release an EP at some point next year. Everything we do is a learning curve.
We are from a small working-class town with no interest in rock music, we don’t have rich families to just plough money into this for us like a lot of other bands do, and we are having to support this all ourselves, as well as balance full-time jobs.
That means that progress for us might be slower for us than other bands who can just throw money at it, but we will keep going.
Everything we have done so far has come from a couple of friends just playing guitars over a few beers, we started this journey with no connections to anyone who could help us out in terms of booking gigs, recording a song, or releasing one, so next time round, we will be more experienced and ready to reach an even bigger audience.
How, for you all, is the experience of playing live?
Playing live is what it is all about for us. Our first show came about because our friends were desperate to see us play live, as none of them had ever seen us in bands before, and we made sure that for our first show, we would blow them away.
We think they were all expecting and kind of hoping we would be crap so they could take the piss out of us, but we weren’t! A long way from it too, as we were pretty fucking good for a first ever gig.
Now, we have got the bug for playing live, and we just want to keep playing bigger and better shows.
What are the band’s plans for the near future?
For the rest of this year, we are going to try and promote the ‘Old Goodbyes’ single and music video through a combination of getting it out into blog reviews, Spotify playlists, and by playing it live.
We have our first show in London lined up for the 1st September, and then we return to Yorkshire to play the Sounds of Summer festival at the Leopard in Doncaster on 28th September.
After that, we play Verve in Leeds on 5th October, and we are looking to add more gigs for the rest of the year, and that should be something that will be announced soon.
And finally, what is your long-term aim?
The long-term aim for the band over the next couple of years is to get ourselves out there to more people, and also get to know the right people in order for us to get bookings on inner city festivals such as Tramlines in Sheffield or Humber Street Sesh in Hull, as these will give us the best chance to increase our fan base, and to play bigger and better shows.
‘OLD GOODBYES’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM THE SUNSET RADIO, IS OUT NOW.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: