Leith trio Felix And The Sunsets had a chat with us this week to talk us through the political elements which influence their writing, their vision for the music they create and update us on the release of their upcoming EP out this year…
For our readers who may not know of you, give us a little bit of background on the band…
Hello, we are a three-piece rock group, based in Leith, Edinburgh and consisting of Max Wilson on drums and percussion, Sean Logan on keys/synth/piano, and myself on guitar and lead vocals. We have a lot of diverse influences and essentially want to borrow the best aspects of every style to make great rock and pop music.
I understand your latest single ‘This Will Change’ was inspired by the BLM protests that went on throughout last summer, can you break down the track and give us a little more context on it?
Sure, This Will Change is the result of our desire to create a protest song that could help the fight against systemic racism. The song is our tribute to people power and our potential to create a better future. I find the greatest and most inspiring artists usually to be politically engaged with the world, artists like Nina Simone and Bob Marley. I had Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ and ‘The Times Are A-Changing’ by Bob Dylan in mind as archetypal protest songs as I wrote it. It’s also probably my favourite piece of music we’ve made so far. It uses a samba rhythm, courtesy of Max, and all these layers of percussion and vocal harmonies and it makes a completely different sound to what people may have expected after our more punky material. To me the most fascinating and powerful thing about music and art is its potential to inspire change.
I was a big fan of your previous track ‘El Cubano’ which also came across as being politically charged partly. Is this a big source of your inspiration when it comes to writing?
Cheers I really appreciate that, yeah definitely. I’m trying to find the sweet spot between political and personal. I’m wary of being only political, without any sort of humanness to bring it to life. In El Cubano the political influences were a key part of a fairly abstract and surreal painting and it creates a mysterious and vague effect, whereas in This Will Change it felt much more important to be straight up and unflinching and not leave any room for misinterpretation. Overall I want to make music that can contribute to tipping the balance towards peace and justice and waking people out of apathy, but I know that sometimes you just need music to have a dance and a good time too, so ideally I aim to combine both.
With all that has gone on over the past year, how would you say it has impacted your creativity as a band?
We’ve been really lucky to be able to practice safely for all of the original lockdowns, in the easy-to-social-distance space of the Pianodrome, which is in a freezing cold warehouse in Granton right now. Our newest member Sean works with them so it’s been a blessing to have that opportunity. We’ve been crafting a whole new set list with a whole new range of sounds like piano and synth, and we are just excited to be able to get back out there once this vaccine finally rolls out!
You had spent a period of time throughout last year doing weekly covers. Was it a decision made to keep some interaction going with fans or in a way more for yourself as an outlet during hard times?
I think a bit of both! Before COVID I’d earn some money on the side playing an acoustic covers set in bars and pubs, stuff like Elvis, David Bowie, The Beatles. So I thought that it’d be fun to try use that material to lift some spirits. I had intended to keep it going for a whole year but mental health got the better of me and it fell off.
What has been your highlight or standout moment as a band thus far?
Probably getting the news that Creative Scotland approved our application to fund our next EP! It felt like a long shot and we are insanely grateful to get an endorsement like that. The EP will be available for download on the 26th of February from our Bandcamp for anyone who wants to hear them all at once, and each of the 3 tracks will be released to streaming services on the final Fridays of Feb, March and April. Its definitely our best stuff yet.
If you could share a stage with any artist past or present who would it be and why?
If there was some way I could join Duke Ellington’s band for a night, just to be surrounded by that much brass would be incredible. I’ve been reading a book by Eric Hobsbawn called Uncommon People: Resistance, Rebellion and Jazz so that’s whats got me thinking along those lines.
The Scottish scene is brimming with talent right now, what artists have stood-out for yourselves of late?
KRYTICAL MASS were a great discovery and seemingly underrated right now but surely not for long. I highly rate Kouk and Dubh for hip hop. There really are so many great acts coming up in Scotland right now so it’s hard to say any without leaving out so many equally worthwhile mentions.
What plans do you have in-store for the year ahead then, what can we expect by way of new music or the vision you have for the future of the band?
This new EP will be out in Feb, with each of the last 3 songs at the last Friday of Feb, March and April, and after that we will get straight onto recording the next one. We have a good number of songs to choose from and intend to pick 4 of the best that work well together for another EP after the summer. We are also all on the same page about wanting to play live at every opportunity we can as soon as stuff opens back up again, even at jam nights and less official type nights. So we will hopefully be very active once it’s all up and running again!
Like what you hear? You can support the band by purchasing their music over on their Bandcamp page here: felixandthesunsets.bandcamp.com