Sunday, March 19, 2017

Little Indie spends five minutes with ... The Sundowners

Jane Davies talks to Niamh Rowe from rising Hoylake (Wirral) band The Sundowners about their impending new second album, 'Cut The Master' (produced by The Coral's James Skelly and Rich Turvey, and released on April 21 through Skeleton Key Records), influences and playing live...

Thanks for taking the time here to answer some questions. How do we find you today?

Niamh Rowe: Hi Jane. Good, just finished work and just about to head to practice.

Introduce us to your fellow band members for those uninitiated with The Sundowners.

NR: So, I’m Niamh, vocals and rhythm guitar; Fiona Skelly is on vocals, rhythm guitar and percussion, then Alfie Skelly, lead guitar; Tim Cunningham is on bass, and Jim Sharrock plays drums.

What was it like supporting Kasabian on tour?

NR: We just did two shows with was boss though. They were really sound guys and the venues and crowds were great.

You also supported The Coral at Liverpool Olympia last December.

NR: Yes, it was really good. It’s always boss gigs with The Coral 'cos we're all a big family so we always have a good party together after. I don’t think I made it home till 1pm the next day ha!

You have described your first album as 'a bit Carpenters' and that the new album will be markedly different.  What’s the underlying feel to the new record? 

NR: The new album is definitely a journey, best listened to as one track. Andy Votel has done interlude music linking all the tracks up and added little bits of magic to the songs so it literally plays as one track and it won’t stop in between tracks on the vinyl. In a way it could be seen as a conceptual album, there’s an underlying story. It’s a journey of a cult, the cult could be mankind and our own struggles, but everyone can find their own meanings in the songs.

Where do you usually get your song writing inspiration from? Is there a usual process that you follow when writing?

NR: We write in different ways. We sometimes jam then build a song from that, or sit down and start with the chords and melody. We all write in our own time and bring our personal songs in and all work together on the rest of the track.

Is performing live a big part of why you do what you do, or do you prefer making music, the writing and recording part of it?

NR: I personally prefer playing live. I like rawness and the energy of it, I’m not too into recording! It’s too repetitive for me and I get distracted easily ha! Gigging is a big part of us, we’ve gigged non-stop since we started and I think it’s a whole different sound and side to us when we’re live.

I know that your greatest musical influence is Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane, but what is influencing you right now? Are there any certain styles you'd like to try or artists that you look at and think you'd like to try a cover of?

NR: During the album we listened to a lot of Rotary Connection, Radiohead, Shocking Blue, Jane Weaver, Scott Walker, Gillian Welch, John Carpenter and Soundcarriers - we love how their music is artistic and timeless and still has a edge of pop music about it. Our favourite cover we’ve done is United States of America's 'Garden of Earthly Delights'; there’s a live recording of it from our Kazimier show back in 2015.

Wirral Music scene is pretty lively at the moment, Tabitha Jade, Nytclub, Mad Alice, Veyu.  Anyone else we should be listening to?

NR: She Drew The Gun and By The Sea are definitely up there for top Wirral bands for us.

So you are off on tour in April and May, tell us something about the bands playing in support, Edgar Jones and the Joneses and Cut Glass Kings.  I saw Cut Glass Kings in January at District, Liverpool and I must say I was very impressed.  I did detect echoes of the latter works of The Coral going on there.

NR: Yeah, we can’t wait! We’ve done a few tours with Cut Glass Kings in the past and they’re such a great band and live act and Edgar is amazing too. We’re all good friends so it’s a pleasure to share the bill with everyone.

Do you get more nervous before a home city gig, or do you find Liverpool the most relaxed gig on a tour?

NR: Both! You know the crowd is on your side in Liverpool and you’ll always spot a familiar face in the crowd that will put you at ease but at the same time you’re eager to play your best to your hometown crowd, so there’s definitely butterflies before you play. There’s always a great energy in Liverpool.

A quick-fire few to close on. Who would you ask to come and perform a live show with you? 

NR: Patti Smith.

Who would you like to collaborate with? 

NR: Jane Weaver.

Dinner party time - choose your guests, dead or alive.

NR: Crosby, Stills and Nash, Vince Vaughan, Al Pacino, 70s Fleetwood Mac, She Drew The Gun, Dawn and Marvin Powell, and Andy Britton.

Who would be your artist of choice if you could only listen to to one act for the rest of your life? 

NR: Townes Van Zandt.

Thank you very much for your time. Few last words?

NR: Cheers. Come and see us on tour, it’s gonna be boss!

More info: FACEBOOK

Live dates

25 LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
26 NEWCASTLE Think Tank
28 BARNSLEY Opium 10
29 MANCHESTER Jimmy’s Bar

01 LONDON The Lexington
03 BRIGHTON Sticky Mike's
04 BIRMINGHAM Sunflower Lounge
05 SHEFFIELD The Rocking Chair
07 GLASGOW King Tuts

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