The Surfersvillage Interview
Anglo-Aussie four-piece digs surfing as much as making music
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 August, 2015 - Sunset Sons are four friends – Rory, Jed, Rob and Pete – who came together through a love of surfing in Hossegor. The foursome cut their teeth playing gigs to rowdy snowboarding crowds in the French Alps before expanding their presence throughout Europe.
The Anglo-Aussie four-piece were playing small clubs a few months ago and are now on a big run of summer festival dates including Glastonbury before embarking on a UK & European Arena tour in support of Imagine Dragons.
They have amassed a huge following and now the four surfers are pinched for water time as rock’n’roll takes over their lives.
Which is more important, surfing or music?
Jed: Both, simultaneously!
Rory: If it wasn't for surfing, we wouldn't have all met, but music is my first love.
Pete: Both. We have just found a way to do one as a job, to pay for the other!
Rob: Music has been with me for longer and I think it reaches more people on the globe than surfing does. I feel like music can help shape a person’s character from a very young age. But…surfing definitely shares similar qualities to music, like expression and freedom.
Where is the center of European surfing? Hossegor? Newquay? Peniche?
Jed: Tynemouth! Middle of nowhere centre of the universe.
Rory: It's got to be Hossegor, the place is amazing.
Rob: Peniche has sardines and surfing. Hossegor has surfing…and some other stuff!
How would you describe what you do for work to a small, inattentive child?
All: Make people smile, sing, dance and sometimes cry.
What is that you do professionally that you are most proud of?
Jed: Create music.
Rory: It would have to be our almost finished debut album. A lot of time and love has gone into it.
Pete: The songs we have written for the album are pretty special.
Rob: Playing live gigs started out as a laugh and a way of earning money. Now, thanks to all that fun we had playing shows it's become the most important training in anything I've ever undertaken. Without even realising!
Tell us what has been your biggest mistake?
Jed: Some of the music…!
Rory: I doubted my musical ability for a long time and didn't perform in front of anyone for ages due to fear.
Pete: I thought I made a mistake once but I was wrong.
Rob: When I was 20, I thought it'd be cool to wear jeans inside out. So that's what I did. For a short while.
What did you learn from that mistake?
Jed: Be open minded.
Rory: Man up and always believe in yourself.
Pete: Never doubt yourself.
Rob: It's ok to make mistakes if you learn from them. Sometimes, you’ve got to experiment.
Share with us your biggest Rocky Balboa moment (punching frozen meat and then running up the stairs of the Capitol, music blaring).
Jed: Last weekend at the Isle of Wight was pretty amazing. The crowds just keep getting bigger.
Rory: It would have to be our Halloween gig at Koko. We had a hectic day, didn't get much time to soundcheck and didn’t know what to expect - it ended up being one of my favourite shows to date. The crowd was amazing!
Pete: Walking on stage in Paris to 5000 people at Le Zenith.
Rob: I was in Val d'Isere and I had 30mins to get to the Loop Bar in Tignes for a gig. Just as I was driving out of town, the road closed due to an avalanche! I quickly turned back and borrowed some ill-fitting boots and a board from a random guy. I jumped on the Solaise cable car where, from the top, it's a 20min ride to Tignes. By this point, I had 10mins left. I was cold and only wearing jeans and a t-shirt but I could see the tiny spec from the top that was the Loop Bar. I rode there in 12mins. It was intense. I pulled a couple of backside 3s on the way.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Selling shoes?
Jed: I actually used to sell t-shirts at gigs and festivals. And teach surfing. I'd just go back to that. What's your size?
Rory: Yeah, I reckon I could sell shoes.What are the hours like? The job I had before the band was washing dishes, I wasn't fast but I was thorough!
Pete: I worked in the mines in Australia for three months a year and holidayed the rest of the year, so I would probably be on holiday.
Rob: I'd like to think I'd be doing something cool and rugged like carpentry in idyllic surroundings. Selling shoes would probably be the reality though, depending on the hours.
OK, you get to drop into any five moments in history – surf or otherwise. Please name them and why.
Jed: The first time I saw Kelly Slater in Black And White was pretty special.
Rory: 1985, Freddie Mercury performing at Live Aid.
Pete: My dad always tells me stories of surfing Byron Bay and Noosa when he was 16. He reckons they didn’t see anyone else with a surfboard for weeks at a time. That would have been epic.
Rob: 1. Damon Hill wins the 1996 formula 1 world championship 2. Nirvana unplugged in New York. 3. Neil Armstrong walks on the moon. I'd be the third man, straight after Buzz. 4. The premiere of Star Wars 5. The great fire of London - from a safe distance.