Interview with Sounds Like Sunset

After 9 years since their Invisible album, Sounds Like Sunset have returned with another full length record. Tomatrax caught up with David Challinor from the band to ask a few questions.

sounds like sunset

Photo courtesy of Matthew Thurbon

It’s been around 9 years since your last full length album, what have you been doing over this time?

We’ve been pretty busy. Just doing heaps of shows on & off, recording on & off when we can or when we feel like something’s worthy of being committed to tape or whatever. Most of us also ended getting married & having kids too! It doesn’t really feel like it’s been that long though. It seems crazy but I guess the time thing is really a non-issue for us. We’re glad the record’s coming out now, but it was probably just as likely to be put off until sometime next year too.

How will your forthcoming album compare to your previous work?

As far as the songs or the material goes, to me it kind of picks up where the last one left off. One song on the record is actually from before our last album (2005’s Invisible) was recorded, so a lot of these songs have been on the backburner for ages. One thing is this was all done as a 3-piece, ‘cos our good mate & original guitar guy Beef (Andrew Fevre) decided to leave the group just before we started the actual recording part with Wayne in 2009. Ben is with us now on the other guitar which is really great so we’re a 4 piece again, but as I say there were only 3 of us arguing over ideas & mixing levels when we did the actual record.

Where did the name We Could Leave Tonight come from?

Haha – it’s nicked from a line from the song Metropolis by The Church. We had about 3 really clever but probably overly-thought-out names for the record already in mind, then I went to see the Church not far from me at Avoca one night and that line stuck out like a really heavy, escapist idea, and seemed worthy of something more than just a line in a song. I hope Steve Kilbey & co don’t mind too much if they ever get wind of this!

The band has a wide range of influences – is it hard to get the different elements to fit together in your sound?

Yeah a lot of music kind of affects the way it all comes out but I don’t really think it’s a struggle to translate it into something else. We’re all pretty snobby & slightly obsessive record/music collectors and I think we end up with a kind of intuitive filtering process that separates out all the bits we do & don’t want. We’re absolutely not trying to be like any one of those “influences” though, or even a combination of them – this has always been about taking it all in and loving it, but responding with something else that adds something new to the whole conversation. I hope so anyway, otherwise what’s the point?

According to Wikipedia, until recently, you fielded a team in the Pretend Rugby League (PRL) championship, what is involved in playing pretend rugby league?

Hahaha – it’s a kind of NRL fantasy football league thing run by Robbo Cranny (78 Saab, Sarah Blasko, Gersey). Originally the comp formed around a bunch of the bands who rehearsed at Troy Horse studios, but I think it’s pretty open these days. There’s a strict $100 salary cap and Robbo moderates the comp with an iron fist.

Why did you stop fielding a PRL team?

It’s complicated. Kind of a combination of things really. We were pretty intimidated by Robbo, Bruno Brayovic (Peabody, Buddy Glass) and also by Ben Fletcher (Sarah Blasko, The Devoted Few, Bluebottle Kiss). As most people know, those guys make life hard for us even today. On top of this the PRL anthem we had to write & perform on song night was nowhere near as funny or insightful as any of the other groups. Ah, I’m kidding – and we’re still invited to play each year but we keep on forgetting to turn up to auction day – so really that’s probably the main reason we don’t play.

What was it like playing with The Hard Ons on Record Store Day?

Oh it was great – except the bummer was they arrived around about the time our plane was leaving (we had to leave to catch the last flight home out of Brisbane that night) so we didn’t end up seeing each other play at all! They have a reissue of their first ever 7”s on the Tym label too, so in a far-reaching & roundabout way became labelmates for a brief moment.

You recently did a split 7″ with Iowa, how did that come about?

We knew the Iowa guys from playing a couple of shows with them up here in Sydney when they’d come up from Melbourne, and then Tim invited us to submit a song for his label’s record club releases so of course we said “yeah” – both bands did. Iowa are great and at first we didn’t know the split was to be with them – we just handed Tim a song (Open Up My Eyes) but then the split it ended up being with Iowa – so that was cool. It sold out really fast too, which was great.

Do you think there will continue to be an interest in vinyl in the future?

I hope so! I think records are a way better experience compared to just clicking on a song with your mobile device or whatever. It’s one way the artist can really deliver a solid physical product that you can own, rather than just sharing a link to stream a song that may or may not hold your attention beyond the first 10 seconds. So far the numbers are all saying there’s a huge increase in vinyl purchases happening, so who knows?

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Haha! Um, seriously – when writing it & recording on it, yep…way, way too much  – but only so far as it takes to finish the idea. Beyond that – no, I don’t sit and listen to our music, until maybe ages later. I mean I’m stoked that we’re doing what we’re doing, but I don’t think any of us have our own stuff on unless it’s to sort of check over it. You do it, say what you’ve got to say, and move onto the next thing. After all these years I’m still at that awkward cringe-point where if there are people listening, I have to leave the room once my vocal comes in.

What music do you listen to?

It’s always changing but these days Ty Segall, Kurt Vile, Burial, Stereolab, High Llamas, Neil Finn’s new record, old Teenage Fanclub. Beach Boys, Big Star, Kinks, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Public Enemy, Adalita*. The Charlie Horse record is great. The last few Flaming Lips records are amazing too. Just lots of stuff. We’re also doing a Glide tribute night soon, so we’re all madly brainwashing our heads & rehearsing the songs we’ll be covering that night.

What do you plan on doing once the album is out?

Well, aside from quitting our dayjobs of course (ha!) – hopefully we’ll play some great shows and start working on the next record in the next month or so.

We Could Leave Tonight is out now via Tym Records – also check out their range of awesome unique guitars. I’ll take this one thanks.

*Editorial refuses to insert that many hyperlinks. Apologies.



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