Canadian rockers The Glorious Sons chat life on the road, authenticity, and supporting The Rolling Stones

Since the release of their most recent full-length album, Young Beauties & Fools, Canadian outfit The Glorious Sons have been absolutely slaying it.

As they take their authentic brand of indie-rock across the globe on an extensive world tour, we hit the pub with band members Jay Emmons, Chris Koster, and Brett Emmons to sink a few coldies, and chat about their crazy six months.

Glorious Sons
Photos: Dani Hansen

We’ve been gearing up for this for a long time. This is what we always wanted, and we always believed we could get here“: We chat with The Glorious Sons about partying, life on the road, and supporting The Rolling Stones.

HAPPY: Hey fellas, welcome to Australia… how’ve you been liking the old girl so far?

BRETT: It’s a lot like Canada in many ways

JAY: The people seem nice, the city’s are really clean. I actually ended up liking it more than I thought I would down here. It’s kind of growing on me the more places I see… you guys do a lot of things right over here. It seems like everyone’s just a little happier.

BRETT: There’s a lot of very beautiful looking people

HAPPY: Did you have any preconceived perceptions of Australia coming in?

JAY: A lot of the times when you run into Aussies abroad, they’re always the drunkest dudes – and usually that’s me.

BRETT: I feel like Canadians and Aussies always hit it off, when we see each other at bars

CHRIS: I thought it was going to be really arrogant.

BRETT: Arrogant?

CHRIS: All the Aussies I’ve met abroad are quite arrogant, but it’s been the exact opposite.

HAPPY: Well that’s good to hear. You guys have toured pretty extensively across a whole range of countries… do you feel like you get a chance to really take all these places in?

BRETT: You get a broad sense of what everywhere is kinda like, but you don’t really get the specific experiences you would get if you were living here or backpacking here for a month. We’ve been on a plane pretty much every day this week – interviews, shows – it’s not much time to really get a very deep, intimate experience anywhere, but you get the broad strokes.

JAY: We had two days in Perth, so when we’re in the same spot for a couple of days, you can get a better idea of what a place is like… but otherwise it’s like a quick snapshot. Sometimes it’s just a venue.

CHRIS: You get a sense of how things work or what the people are like, but you don’t really get the local take on it.

JAY: We’re not good tourists either. We kind of just chill or go out and have food… we’re not explorers or anything.

HAPPY: Does that kind of really heavy touring get difficult at all? Being away from home for extended periods of time?

JAY: Yeah. This is the most we’ve ever toured. We’ve toured a lot in the past, but this is the most extensive we’ve been on the road

BRETT: With no breaks.

JAY: And it does get hard… with no girlfriend, family, or dogs.

BRETT: It’s like you’re living two different lives. You still gotta remember that at the end of the day, the one home is probably the most important. That’s where your parents are… your loved ones.

CHRIS: You can feel pretty disconnected from it too. Living on the other side of the world, doing a bunch of shit that nobody back there really knows about or hears about.

BRETT: It’s a fourteen hour time difference…

HAPPY: You guys started as a band a few years back now… 2013 I believe?

JAY: Yeah 2012 or 2013 I think it was…

HAPPY: But it feels like things have really been picking up in the past few months…

JAY: Yeah it’s really taken off in the past six months, internationally especially. Canada, we’ve always had a decent footprint, right from the beginning. But Young Beauties & Fools has really opened up some doors internationally.

HAPPY: Has everything felt as though it’s happened really quick? Or do you feel you’ve built up to this moment?

JAY: We’ve been gearing up for this for a long time. This is what we always wanted, and we always believed we could get here.

HAPPY: So it’s felt natural?

JAY: Yeah, kinda natural. There’s growing pains with anything, right? But yeah, this is what we expected.

BRETT: I never really been in awe of anything, because this is what we’re setting out to do. We’re getting better everyday, I can feel it – whether it’s out live shows, our writing, or just individual players… everybody’s getting better constantly. And when Chris joined the band, it added something that we didn’t have… which was experience. He’s a multi-talented instrumentalist, who knows his way in and out of music and the industry.

Glorious Sons

HAPPY: As you’ve mentioned, the new album Young Beauties & Fools has opened up a lot of doors, and you’ve previously said that main theme across this album in honesty, and the songs are often quite autobiographical… does it ever get difficult writing about this kind of thing?

BRETT: No, not really. I don’t want to call writing the easy part, but…

CHRIS: It comes very naturally to Brett, especially writing that kind of auto-biographical song…

BRETT: Semi auto-biographical. I don’t want people to think it’s a word for word interpretation of my life.

CHIRS: It’s holding on to his shoes and possessions that’s the challenging part for Brett.

JAY: It’s keeping your fly up.

HAPPY: How important is the authenticity factor in your songwriting? Is it a big part of it?

BRETT: When I first started out, it was more about making bigger statements and trying to be prophetic, I guess… and I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. But it became more and more apparent that writing was more of a personal journey. It was a remedy for everything else in life. Writing was how I dealt with things.

CHRIS: Finding his voice, like a real, unique voice. I think when you start – not to speak for Brett – but when you start, you’re taking from all these counterpoints of artists that inspired you… I think it takes a minute to kind of work out your own path… if you can do it at all, which I think is incredibly rare in 2018. But I think Brett is doing that.

HAPPY: You alluded earlier to issues keeping hold of your clothing… I understand that the early days of The Glorious Sons involved some pretty serious partying. Do you still keep any of this up?

BRETT: It was six years of everything all the time. I’ve quit drinking myself. That was just something I had to do because I felt my personality changing. I didn’t want to get swallowed by this life. I want to maintain my sense of self, not become a character more than a man. So, I had to do that for myself… but the other boys still party quite a bit.

CHRIS: We’ve got no problem being characters.

JAY: We’ve stepped it back a little recently. Brett kind of opened up my eyes… you know, if he could go sober… it’s good inspiration to try dialing it back a little bit. But at the same time, for me, it kind of takes away some of the fun. I enjoy having a few beers and partying it up after the show… seeing who you’re going to run into. That’s all part of it for me.

BRETT: Not everybody’s the same, right?

CHRIS: Everybody has their own style of doing it.

JAY: I could do it without drinking, but I prefer to have a couple of drinks. See where the night takes me… which might not be as far as it used to, but some nights it will.

BRETT: It’s funny, like six months ago someone asked that same question and we were like “fuck that, this is fucking fun.”

HAPPY: Has there been a big shift since you released the album?

JAY: It’s just once you’re on the road you get worn out. Sometimes it’s nice to wake up feeling good.

CHRIS: Even living in quarters with a dozen people at all times, sleeping on top of one another… honestly, it sounds funny, but just to deal with the other personalities at play – enter the bottle of vodka.

BRETT: Getting fucked up with people is awesome. And we have the chance basically to make a whole life out of that. So learning to pick and choose was hard. As soon as we got on the road and realised we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted and be whatever we wanted… we were all in.

CHRIS: It makes it hard to know how to celebrate. When something actually comes up that you want to celebrate some aspect of your life, it’s like “what do we do?”

JAY: I go to bed at 8:30.

CHRIS: Now that’s a celebration.

HAPPY: While you’re down here, you’re playing both some headline shows and some support slots… what kind of differences are there between these two types of sets for you?

BRETT: They’re just different beasts. A headline slot’s good because you can take the audience on more of a journey.

CHRIS: You’re not constantly trying to win people over. The rooms full of people who came specifically for you, whereas the opening stuff’s just kind of throwing your best right at them.

BRETT: The opening slot is punching them in the mouth and keeping that up until the end. The thing I find really exciting about opening is seeing peoples face change. At first, they’re looking at you like “ok, who the fuck is this band we have to sit through til we see our favourite band?” And then they start smiling a bit, and by the end of it they might be singing your songs and their eyes are fucking lit up. That’s a very cool thing to see.

CHRIS: Somewhere in the states some girl said to Brett, “When you guys walked in the bar, I looked at you and though who’s this asshole,” but by the end of the set she was all for it.

Glorious Sons

HAPPY: And speaking of support slots, later this month you’ll be supporting the fucking Rolling Stones…

JAY: Yeah, that’s going to be the experience of a lifetime for us

HAPPY: How do you approach a gig like this?

JAY: Just go and do it. I mean we’ve had to up our game with hiring certain people, like production teams…

BRETT: We’ve never played in front of 50,000 people before…

CHRIS: We haven’t even played to that many people accumulatively.

JAY: As far as what we do, it’s not like I could go sit and play guitar for six hours and be better than I was six hours before. You’ve just gotta go out and do your thing.

BRETT: The only thing is that we’ve only got thirty minutes, which isn’t a lot of time, so we’ve got to figure out a way to kind of strip our set back to that 30 minute time slot and leave as big as an impression we can.

HAPPY: Do you find it difficult making an impact in that amount of time?

BRETT: You’ve gotta smash em right in the face. Like I said, you’ve gotta come out and punch them in the face and you can’t let up.

CHRIS: You can’t take them as many places, obviously, as you can with even a 45 minute set… you’ve got that extra time to get that extra song in that kind of goes a few different places. A shitty 30 minutes can feel like three days.

BRETT: Fifteen minutes is a lot of time on stage. Especially for us. We don’t write fucking eight-minute epics.

CHRIS: We write seven-minute epics.

BRETT: We write short songs on purpose, and that fifteen minutes would allow us to take them a few different places, and let things breathe a little bit more. But like I said, you go out there and you sweat. People know heart when they see it, and people know good music when they hear it. It’s all you can bank on. I’m not there to just go support anybody, I’m there to make fans.

JAY: We’re not happy being an afterthought, we’re going to work for it. Hopefully at the end of the set, people will be asking “what was the name of that band?” And that’s usually what happens.

HAPPY: Finally, what’s next? Any new music in the works? Any plans?

BRETT: We have nothing specific in the works right now. We’re just doing a lot of touring. We’re kind of thinking about the best time to start thinking about album number three, and stuff like that. But right now, we haven’t had any time to think or do anything.

CHRIS: You can guess and think you know what it’s going to be like in six months, or whatever, but it’s always completely different.

The Glorious Sons’ new album, Young Beauties and Fools, is out now. Check it out on Spotify.