Interview with Saints of Sin

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Rui, Sophie, Sparxx, Ash and Josh make up the South Coast’s resident rockers, Saints of Sin. Set to play Milford on Sea Arts and Music Festival in the summer, Issy Aldridge sat down with drummer Josh, to talk about what was in store for this year’s festival-goers.

HOW WAS SAINTS OF SIN BORN?
Well the two brothers, Sparxx and Ash, met me (Josh) when we formed our first band, Mothership. We had some amazing times together and it was the perfect starting point for us to experience band life and playing live music. After about 2 years, Mothership came to a natural end mainly because of university commitments. Sparxx, Ash and I were still very keen to play music together so we looked to form another band. During the Mothership days, we often played with a band called ‘The Push’ and ended up befriending their guitarist, Matt Spencer. They disbanded around the same time as Mothership so we asked Matt to join us in the new band we were forming.

I then met Rui at the Southampton Academy of Music, where I was studying and was soon impressed by his vocal talents so we asked him to audition for the band. There was never any doubt to us that Rui would be our perfect front man and thus Saints Of Sin was born. We had a good 3 years or so as this lineup but unfortunately, it didn’t work out with Matt so we ended up on the lookout for another guitarist. Then along came Sophie! We had already known her for a while as she was a fan of the band and was often at our shows. Actually, she was at the very first Saints Of Sin show at The Joiners, Southampton, back in 2013! We knew that she played the guitar and were amazed by her shredding abilities after watching her videos on Facebook and Instagram. This made her the number one guitarist on our list of potentials! It’s funny to think how some things come full circle. A person who was a fan at our very first show is now a huge part of the band and we couldn’t imagine doing it all without her! This has been our line up for the best part of a year and a half now and, honestly, we feel closer than ever!

DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND. WHO ARE SOME OF THE BAND’S GREATEST INFLUENCES?
We would say that we bring the spirit of old school 80’s Rock into a modern era. Our influences are both old and new and we sit somewhere in the middle. Think Guns N Roses/ Bon Jovi meets Avenged Sevenfold/ Bullet For My Valentine. What is really important to us above anything else is keeping our sound melodic and catchy. Yes, there are loud guitars and hard-hitting riffs but it is all centred around melodic hooks and catchy vocals, inviting the audience to sing along! This year we have been working on new material which we feel pushes in a really interesting direction. The Classic Rock influence still shines through but it’s more of a cheeky nod to the era rather than a focal point. Without giving too much away, the new stuff is an adventurous musical blend of modern Pop and Metal.

YOU COVER SONGS FROM TIME TO TIME, WHAT IS IT ABOUT A SONG TO MAKE YOU WANT TO PUT YOUR OWN SPIN ON IT?
That’s a good question! There are a few things really. Firstly, it has to be a banger! A song that’s a hit or a classic in its own right. As an original band, the whole point of throwing in a cover is to help win over the audience by entertaining them with something familiar. This means it has to be a song that most of the audience will know and love. This can really kick up the atmosphere at a show, especially to a new audience. We like to put our own stamp on cover songs, so expect a few little tweaks and changes to spice things up. We do cover some Rock classics like Sweet Child O’ Mine and Dude Looks Like A Lady, but our favourite thing to do with covers is to take an obscure song and make it our own! The chance to get really creative with a cover is far more appealing to us than simply covering a Rock song. We do this by taking a modern Pop chart topper and ‘Sinner-fying’ it! This has been so much fun as you really have to be creative to make the musical arrangements work in a Rock band setup. Examples of this are our covers of ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J, and ‘Uptown Funk’ by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. These have become crowd favourites and we plan to do many more covers like this, so watch this space!

WILL YOU BE DOING ANY COVERS AT THE FESTIVAL, OR ARE YOU STICKING TO ORIGINAL TRACKS?
It will mainly be our own material but there will be 1 or 2 cheeky covers in there, yes. If you want to know which ones, you’ll have to come and watch the show!

WRITING OR PERFORMING – WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
That’s another good question. We love both! Performing live is undoubtedly more of a thrill, but then again it can be really exciting when we’ve finished writing a new song because we can’t wait to unleash it upon an audience! I guess the two go hand-in-hand. A live gig kicks ass but you need some great songs in order to put on a great show. It’s hard to beat how awesome it feels when we play to a crowd that’s going nuts to our music.

When we hear them singing our own songs back to us and dancing or moshing around, going crazy – it’s the best feeling! For us, that’s what playing in a band is all about.  We’ve put a lot of work into our live shows. They’re packed with energy, crowd participation and even some choreography! We pride ourselves on delivering the best show we can, and we make sure we’re always at the top of our game whether we’re playing to just 10 or 10,000 people.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT PERFORMING AT FESTIVALS OVER INDOOR VENUES?
It’s just the general atmosphere. There is always such a buzz around and everyone is up for it! You usually get larger crowds when playing outdoor festivals too. This always makes it special as it means we are getting exposure to lots of people and we usually come away with quite a few more fans – we call them Sinners!

WHY CHOOSE MILFORD MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL?
We had always heard great things about this festival and it hasn’t disappointed us. The last two times we played were amazing and we’re sure our third time will be to the same standard. It’s crazy how much of a buzz a small sea-side town like Milford can create! Hats off to the organisers! The stage is brilliant – the perfect size to accommodate our Rock n Roll antics – and the crew is always on top form! The sound is bang on and the audience are simply epic. Both of our previous performances at Milford festival were absolutely packed and the audience was really up for the party. We can’t wait to be reunited with them this year and we promise we will be delivering our best performance yet!

WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR SET, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NEXT?
Well, I’ll definitely need a few minutes to get changed! Have you seen the state of me after banging away at those drums?! But in all seriousness, we’ll be mingling with the good people in the audience! Selling and signing merch, chatting, goofing around… And having a few well-earned beers of course! We’re also looking forward to watching Majesty, the Queen tribute, as we’ve heard they’re awesome and the Jenkins brother’s Aunt is also guest-singing with them! So if you’re planning on coming down and fancy talking to us after the show, please find us by the merch stand and say hi!

 

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