Interview: Solemn Sun

By Jess Tagliani

It can be difficult to gain the same momentum that you once had with your old band. But that’s the position that quartet Solemn Sun found themselves in, after rebranding themselves. Formerly known as Jim Lockey And The Solemn Sun, this group came back together with a new name, sound, and image, which has gone down incredibly well. Frontman Jim sat down with us to talk about why they rebranded themselves and how they feel now that they’re embarking on a new journey.

Once upon a time, you were known as Jim Lockey And The Solemn Sun. When you changed your name to just Solemn Sun, you said: “We’d reached the juncture where most would wander the beaten path and churn out a carbon copy of the last effort.” Did you feel you were in danger of releasing another ‘carbon copy’ of your previous efforts?

Yeah, definitely. We’d been writing new music and what we were writing was too far out to even possibly go under that name [Jim Lockey And The Solemn Sun]. Also, with the old band, everybody thought it was just me with a backing band, which it definitely wasn’t – it evolved into a full band. The most annoying thing is that a name is everything for a band, so we couldn’t write the stuff that we write now and put it out under the old name as I don’t think people would have understood it. We got to the point where, if we’d carried on down that road, it would just be false and we really want to believe in what we’re doing. I mean, none of us make any money, so if you’re going to be doing something every day, you want to believe in it.

Do you feel more comfortable in this set-up then?

Absolutely. It’s nice to know that now we have this band name, we can take it pretty much anywhere we want.

You released your self-titled EP in 2014 and you released your latest track ‘Bloom’ on 4 March. Why the long wait between releases?

We had a change in members last year, which set us back a little bit, and so we had to relearn a bunch of other stuff. But we’ve just been writing and working out what we want to do next. It must be annoying for our fans as we’re not exactly the most productive, but I think it’s because we take a lot of time over what we want to do and we’re very concerned about the quality of our writing and songs.

Speaking of ‘Bloom’, how was the writing and recording process?

It was really different, recording wise. It was the first song where we’ve tracked everything separately and pieced things together. A lot of the drums and loops have been based on hip-hop production, so there’s a lot of loops and weird drum sounds that we’ve achieved ourselves; we didn’t use any samples, so everything we’ve done is organic.

Chris Capewell was asked to perform on Crooks track, ‘What Might Have Been’. How did that suggestion to work alongside the band come about?

The Crooks boys are from Cheltenham as well, and we’ve known them for years now. We’re really stoked for them because it’s going so well. But yeah, they basically love Chris! I’m still waiting for my opportunity.

You played quite a few festivals last summer; 2000 Trees, Y Not, Truck Festival – how did it feel to play those festivals in your new set-up?

It was…weird. It was good though, as it felt like a relief. We’d been working on it for so long – almost a year, so we were just waiting for it to come out. But doing these shows was amazing because the response was so good.

What can we expect to see from Solemn Sun for the rest of the year?

Well, ‘Bloom’ is out now and we’ll do the rescheduled dates with Crooks sometime in April or May. After that, it’ll be straight back to writing – we’re going to drop a few songs throughout the year, with a view to do a full-length before the end of the year.

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