With quite a few festival slots lined up for the Summer, Belfast sibling duo, Southern are on the rise with their contemporary, likeable sound.
We caught up with Thom and Lucy before they took to the stage at Donegal’s Sea Sessions festival.
You guys are set to play Sea Sessions in a bit – looking forward to that?
Thom: Yeah, really excited! It’s our first Irish festival.
Have you played many gigs in Ireland before?
Thom: Yeah, we’re both from Belfast so that kind of started off our career, we’ve played loads of gigs in Belfast and Dublin. Just different types of gigs.
Do you find festivals are more pressurising because there’s a lot of people who may have never heard your stuff, or is it less stressful than going out for a headline show?
Lucy: I think you’ve room to be more free with festivals because everybody’s there to just have a good time and enjoy the music. It’s not as serious. And there’s always a good energy and atmosphere. It’s just that kind of event, whereas at a gig everyone’s judging you. So in that sense, you’re under more pressure. I guess we just need to do more festivals to get that experience.
In terms of the music scene at the moment, there’s a lot of bands around who are made up of siblings – Heathers, Drenge, Hudson Taylor. How do you find working together?
Thom: It definitely helps. I guess it makes it a little bit easier for us to create music together because we’ve grown up around the same musical influences our whole lives and we’ve shared all the same memories and everything that’s in our heads. You know, we’ve done it all together – good times, bad times, so when it comes to writing, we usually share the same opinions and views on everything that’s happened to us so the lyrics we write in relation to our lives show that we’re able to relate to each other really well. Both on a musical level melodically and also lyrically.
So, looking at the self-titled EP you guys released late last year – what plans have you got to follow up on that?
Thom: Yeah, we released ‘Where The Wild Are’ in February this year with two b-sides, so that was kind of like an EP again. And then we’ve got another single going to radio in a week – a track called ‘Where I Want To Be’. So that’s coming out with a b-side as well and then after that we’ll release another single and gauge the responses we get to the next two singles and that will tell us how soon to bring out the album. So we do have an album in the making at the minute with a producer in London so it could be the end of this year or start of next year that we’ll have a full album.
I saw your Facebook page, and it’s quite active, even just posting pictures and all that – Is social media something you really feel pushes your development as a band?
Lucy: It definitely is to an extent. It’s a great way to get your music out there internationally. We get messages everyday from people all over, like this week we got one from a fan in Mexico, and you’re constantly getting people from Poland just saying they really like our music and it’s so nice that our music is reaching such a wide audience but, at the same time, it’s all down to gigging and giving the real musical element to it. Some days it’s difficult ’cause so much pressure is put on you to make sure you’re online presence is active, when really, a lot of the time all you want to do is write the music and be in the studio.
Thom: Yeah, it’s not the same anymore. We kind of prefer the old way of word of mouth and a poster going up in your local town and people go to a gig ’cause they’ve heard you on the radio. The way nowadays has its advantages as well and it’s nice to get feedback from posting a photo of just going out with your mates, you know. But you have a sort of weird relationship with your fans now, you almost have to be their friend as well. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. ‘Cause it can be demanding. People don’t realise how much work goes into recording, so then on top of having to spend half a year making an album, you’re having to organise your Facebook and Twitter everyday. ‘Cause people get very bored easily and they just want more and more. It’s manageable though, you can get good at it. So yeah, we just try to put up photos and things.
Lucy: It’s the 21st century like, it is what it is.
Thom: Yeah, you just gotta go with what’s happening. The world is changing and it’s quite scary but also really exciting.
Definitely. So, after Sea Sessions, have you guys got any more festivals coming up or what’s the plan for the Summer?
Thom: Yeah, we’re playing festibelly (July 11th/12th) and Secret Garden Party (July 24th – 27th) and Reading & Leeds as well. But we’re really busy this Summer with the album, so it’s kind of restricted us from doing the festivals this year but I think it’s better ’cause we’ll be going to festivals with our album out next year. So next year will be our festival year but it’s still really exciting to do Reading and Leeds and Secret Garden Party.
Deadly! Thank you so much for that interview guys and best of luck with the set.