Pete Devine was able to corner Scarsun for an interview at Station 18 Festival held at Hangar 18 Music Venue.
The band consists of: Letha Curtis – Vocals, Matt Hall – Guitar (Not present), Aaron Jukes – Guitar, Jim McDonald – Bass and Nathan Miles – Drums
PD: How would you describe yourself as a band?
Jim: We’ve got such different backgrounds in music, I guess it all comes together. We don’t think we sound like anything that’s out there at the moment. It’s just a mish mash of all our insperations.
Aaron: We’re alternative metal, but with a chick.
Letha: Yeah, and what is nice is that all our influences in music reflects on how we write our music with all the different genres that we listen to collectively together it’s a pretty funky mix.
PD: Can you give us a brief history of the band?
Aaron: So Matt, the one who’s not here, he’s downstairs on the merch desk, he’s the guitarist and it was his project really. He started a few years ago
Jim: 2014 it was.
Aaron: Wow! 9 years ago, and he went through loads of different incarnations and then kind of settled on this line-up.
Letha: Yes, there was you (Aaron), when did you join 2018? You found me, I was on Band Mix. I knew Nathan from college, I knew he was an outstanding drummer. So, I asked Nathan, and he said yes.
Nathan: She Was on Tinder for singers.
PD: Who are your musical influences, who/what inspired you to take up music?
Nathan: Growing up, my dad would put on videos of Pink Floyd and Yes and ever since I was a child I saw the drum kits and I was really interested in them. And then I one day I started playing on pots and pans, like you do, then, at some point, when I came home from school, I had a little junior drum kit and I started playing on that. As I grew, I got into the heavier stuff. I saw Metallica on YouTube and I was so intrigued by how it sounded and that got me into metal.
PD: Did you ever take lessons?
Nathan: I have, yeah. When I was 8, I had my first drum lessons and that was so long ago, during comprehensive school I had lessons there as well, so I had a private tutor and a teacher in school.
Letha: Didn’t you used to be in a band then?
Nathan: Yeah, I used to be in a Samba band as well, that was interesting.
Jim: My parents wouldn’t let me play drums. So I started playing bass, I was about 13 and had my old man’s old acoustic guitar with 4 strings on it and I would play along to Iron Maiden records on it.
Letha: My old man is a bassist and a singer who was a frontman in a band for years. He’s in a like 60s rock n roll covers band and just goes around and does stuff like that.
I was never asked or told to “do that”, it was always do what you want to do. I absolutely love music, I learned to play the piano, self taught, so I’m not great, when I was 11. I started singing when I was in college, about 18 or 19. When I found Scarsun, ‘cos I love metal music, heavy rock and I listen to pop music just as much as anything. And then I joined Scarsun and that was it really.
PD: What has been your proudest moment in music?
Letha: I liked it when we played 229 in London, supporting Dub War. That was a good gig that was.
Nathan: As well as when we played The Thekla, the German cargo ship. That was good. It’s like everytime you’re in there, it’s just like a normal pub and you go outside and you’re like “We’re on a boat!!”
Aaron: It doesn’t move luckily.
Jim: We rocked it though.
PD: What is your favourite song to perform live?
Aaron: I’d have to think… I like playing ‘In The Night’.
Letha: Do You?
Aaron: Yes, I do like that the most.
Jim: I quite like Rules…
Letha: Yeah, I like ‘Rules’, it’s a great opening track, I think. It just punches you in the face. It’s a strong track to start with. But I do like ‘Make Me Ache’, ‘cos that’s more like our anthem track…
Aaron: Angry sex song.
Letha: Angry sex song, yes. That one is a bit more rock in influence then the other tracks, some of them are more heavy metal and that one is a little more traditional rock. I think when we play that one it can get to a wider audience.
PD: How does it feel to be on stage?
Letha: I shit my pants, I was absolutely terrified before I went on.
Aaron: I can vouch for that…It was…smelly!
Letha: Leave me alone… I was nervous earlier, but as soon as we got on and a song in, I was fine.
PD: Do you feel like that most gigs?
Letha: It was really weird, I can get on stage sometimes and just feel right, let’s go and then other days I’m like oohmmm!!!
PD: When you get that feedback from the crowd, does that help?
Letha: Yeah, if it was like crickets after every track I’d probably go “oh fuck it, let’s get off”. Today was a good audience
PD: Fair play, for 3:20 on a Sunday afternoon it was pretty packed down there.
Letha: I was shocked. And the thing is, we’re a bit heavier then some of the bands that have been playing, ‘cos it’s a very big rock influenced gig.
Nathan: I would say it’s like 80s rock, with some modern stuff in there.
Letha: Yeah. How did you guys feel going on?
Aaron: To this point, I’m used to playing in front of people. When I was in college we’d have music nights and our parents would watch us perform and oh my God, I used to feel anxious and all that stuff, but I got used to it. I feel like if I play in front of 1000s of people, I’d be like arghhhh.
Jim: It’s just confidence in what you playing, what you rehearse, what you’re doing.
Letha: And we are well rehearsed.
PD: Can you shine some light on your writing and recording process?
Jim: No! It’s an absolute industry secret.
PD: Okay, next question… (all laugh)
Letha: No… Instrumental and then normally the boys that come up with some riffs, Jim will come in with the bass Nathan with the drums and then they send it to me and I sit in my house and write the lyrics.
Aaron: I can remember the writing process for Sirens, we just sat in a room and played a riff and it became the verse of ‘Sirens’ and we just built the track from there.
PD: Did you play any new songs in your set today?
Aaron: Actually we did, we played one new song. But we’re not going to say the name cos it’s a bit mmm….
Letha: We’ll just call it S and M. It’s working title is disgusting.
PD: Are there any bands on the Station 18 bill that you are looking forward to catching?
Aaron: I’ve never actually seen White Raven Down before.
PD: They are awesome.
Letha: What time are they on?
PD: 6:20. They are so worth watching.
Nathan: Great stuff.
PD: What type of venue do you prefer to play in?
Letha: We once played in a social club and it was a shit-hole
Nathan: Yes, it was.
Letha: and no one liked us ‘cos obviously we weren’t the right genre for that kind of place.
I like playing rock and metal venues.
PD: Have you played any outdoor gigs.
Nathan: Matt and Aaron have but we haven’t, that was before our time.
Letha: Come to think of it we haven’t played outside.
PD: How is 2023 looking like for you?
Letha: So far, we’ve got 3 new tracks.
Aaron: Another EP coming out and video.
Letha: Different stuff though, to what we’ve traditionally done, you know the Higanbana trilogy and then it will be the new tracks moving forward.
PD: Any gigs?
Letha: Yeah, we’re playing the SOS Festival next, we’re playing on the Saturday (1st July), I checked ‘cos my birthday’s on the Friday.
Jim: Then we’ve got the Neon Goat Festival 12th August).
PD: Where’s that held?
Letha: We’re having that in The Westgate Hotel in Newport That’s a good line up as well.
Nathan: We used to have that in The Dolls House Abertillery, but we moved it to Newport.
Letha: Well, it’s more central in a city and more people will come.
Jim: We sort of just run that ourselves.
Nathan: There are plenty of other gigs coming up too, all the dates are on the website.
PD: Many thanks for chatting today, where can people learn more about you and buy your music/merch?
Aaron: Ring Letha on…
Letha: Haha, mainly. I’m pretty active on social media, I keep our pages up to date and stuff like that. I’ll always mention if we’ve got some new merch or release news or if we’ve got a gig coming up.
Nathan: Yeah, it’s all on the website, all the dates, links and stuff.
PD: Thanks again guys.
Letha: Thanks for taking the time to interview us.
Aaron: Thanks Pete and I didn’t get the chance to tell my 12 inch pianist joke!
Band/Artist location – South Wales
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