It’s time to start getting excited, Dear Reader. We’re less than a month away from the unofficial start of our 2019 festival season. That May Day Bank Holiday weekend means one thing – Live At Leeds. Packed with (literally) hundreds of the best new bands on the planet, it sees one of the country’s most vibrant creative cities turned into a mecca of buzz, hype and awesome live music.
To celebrate, we’re holding a special Live At Leeds takeover. Over the course of the day (11th April 2019, in case you’re coming to this late – Ed), we’ll be bringing you all kinds of stuff from and about the acts playing this year’s event. If you’re going, it’ll help you plan out those all-important spreadsheets. If you’ve not yet picked up your tickets – well, what are you waiting for? You can grab ’em here, right now.
Guitar-poppers Saltwater Sun have just unveiled their new three-track EP, ‘The Great Deceiver’. It’s a short release that packs a punch via a trio of heartfelt and disarmingly honest tunes that tackle everything from silly, unnecessary rows, to believing in yourself, to losing a loved one. Read a track-by-track run through with vocalist Jen Stearnes here, and find out more about her band below.
Hey Jen, how’s it going?
It’s going quite nicely thank you.
What are you all up to at the mo, there’s a new EP out, right?
We are writing furiously at present and yes, our new EP ‘The Great Deceiver’ is out.
How did you go about curating the tracks for it? Were they always intended for an EP?
We wrote five singles coming off the back of a long (very long, very boring) period of inactivity due to injury en-masse in camp (our sporting careers were illustrious but ultimately short-lived). After 18 months of silence, we had no idea if anyone cared anymore, so we thought releasing songs a single at a time would be the best way to test the water.
Thankfully, ‘The Wire’ and ‘Hot Mess’ (two of the five) were so much better received than we could have imagined. Our former label were busy with other releases, but we were massively keen to get the rest of the songs out to listeners quickly after so much stalling. We opted to release the three remaining singles independently as an EP, which is scary and exciting in equal measure – but it’ll be great to have more music out in the world.
Do you have much new material in the bag, all set to go?
We’ve got a couple of brand new songs we are already incorporating into the live set and a few demos. We’re developing every riff/chord progression/ idea we have into a song, so we have a wide selection to chose the strongest tracks from, for our debut album. We figure if we have it all written, we can see where life takes us and go from there, keeping the live set fresh in the meantime.
Are you guys ready for festival season?
We were born ready! Playing festivals has always been one of the core aims of this band. We’re hardened festival goers (me, in particular, if I do say so myself).
How would you rate your camping skills out of 10?
Benny (drums) is a legitimate outdoorsy type who routinely takes himself off camping in places like Snowdonia so he can cycle up and down mountains at speed (see – injury), so that’s a 10/10 for Ben Grylls. We all grew up near Reading Festival, which has probably the most disgusting campsites in the UK (god bless her and all who wallow in her filth) and none of us have died of cholera or dysentery, solid 7/10s across the board. At the point I have to admit that I have a campervan which I take with me these days, I’m a horrible sellout. 0/10.
What do you think is key to putting on a good festival set?
I think it’s the same as with most shows – knowing the audience you are playing to and thinking carefully about which songs they would most like to hear. With festival sets its key to consider how much time you have – the set is likely to be short – so use your stage time wisely. We always work on the assumption that lots of people who haven’t seen us before could stumble upon our set, so we like to fly through a high energy one and showcase ourselves as best we can to try and win everyone over. Please, love us!
You’re at Live at Leeds soon, are you going to hang around and check out the other bands playing?
I’ve asked Ed the Dog to teach me Scrabble, and now Another Sky and Zuzu want in so we’ll all be congregating at his set. We’ll be watching all of the aforementioned bands as are big fans of them all, as well as Indoor Pets and C Duncan. Gengahr are on straight after us in the room next door, so we’ve asked them to stall so we can run over. It’s going to be a busy day!
Do you have a favourite venue or spot to play in Leeds?
We’ve played/been to two places in Leeds, The Lending Room and Leeds Festival. It would be the most anti-Reading thing in the history of the world to say we liked Leeds Fest, we’d be made pariahs and shunned from our own stomping ground, tarred and feathered in the streets, plus The Lending Room had a Harry Potter Quiz on downstairs when we played (which we aced, obviously) so let’s say there! We’re looking forward to having a wander about and doing some exploring.
Anything else we should know?
Spiced Rum, ginger beer and houmous on the rider, please (not all mixed together, where do you think this is? G3 camp at Reading? Have a word).
Saltwater Sun’s EP ‘The Great Deceiver’ is out now; they play Live at Leeds (4th May), Truck (26th-28th July), Boardmasters (7th-11th August) and more.