Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Fred: We’re a straight ahead good time Rock’n’Roll Band, keeping the flag flying for hard Southern Rock, but brought right up to date. A live band at heart who aim to bring that live feel and energy to our studio recordings.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
Moose: We’ve all been playing in bands for ages – back as far as the mid-80’s, so we’ve been around the block a few times! We all met by playing in various covers bands playing the Bristol pub scene maybe fifteen years ago, but Sons of Liberty kicked off as a side project in 2014, set up specifically to play Southern Rock exclusively – Skynyrd, Allmans, Blackfoot etc. We started slotting our own original songs into the set from late-2017, and from there came the first EP ‘…Shinola’. From that point things went bonkers…..
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
Fred: We grew up going to see all the classic rock bands of the 70’s and 80’s so the core influence for the music starts in that era, but we are all big current music fans too so it’s a very wide pool of influences across the band. We are always writing and ideas can spring out at any time. Rob writes lyrics in that great Southern storyteller tradition, so they are usually about things he has experienced or people he has known or historical stories that he has some connection with, which is great as the lyrics often really resonate with our audience. We also like to add some humour into the mix, as music should be about having fun too in our book.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
Moose: We’ve probably already exceeded anything we could have imagined when we first started, and our band plan has seen a few updates along the way as we’ve ticked off what seemed like the bigger goals. We’re still looking to nail a support slot on a decent UK or European tour and there are a couple of the bigger festivals that we’d really like to play too, but other than that we’d be over the moon to keep the recent momentum going.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
Fred: For me I think it was playing at Giants of Rock on one of the mainstages in 2020, the room was packed and we had a lot of love that evening. The rest of the guys may have different highlights though. Releasing our first EP was a big one too, and having ‘Damaged Reputation’ playlisted on Planet Rock was quite emotional. The proud moments keep on coming.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
Moose: Yeah, the current scene is rammed with some great bands, and some of the facilities that are available from a semi-simple home set up now are amazing. We’re still a bit old school though, so we’ll normally be working up the songs in a sweaty rehearsal room as a band, and recording in a more traditional studio set up – Momentum Studios in Plymouth in the case of ‘Aces & Eights’. We signed up with O’Neill PR to help us get the new album out there, and in the same way that a producer helps maximise the impact of the songs, having PR support helps maximise the impact via social media, traditional press and radio too. You can do a lot yourself, but don’t overlook how much a great team can add too.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
Fred: We do most of the live booking ourselves. These come from a lot of hard graft on the road playing the grassroots venues and building a fan base. One thing leads to another as the word gets out that you are a live band worth having on your stage or festival. We don’t have a booking agent but we work with some cool promoters that we have met on our journey. As Moose said, we have been working with O’Neill PR with the ‘Aces & Eights’ album launch, who have been great at promoting our music and live performances. We have a pretty packed live schedule with about 30 shows in the diary which are all listed on our social media platforms.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
Moose: It’s just how things are these days, even cars aren’t always coming with CD players, but it kinda makes music seem a bit more, err, disposable maybe? All of our releases have been available via the main download or streaming services, but we also make sure that the CD or vinyl versions are something a bit special too. Things like the playlists etc on Spotify are great, and working out how to pop up on these are key. The financial model for streaming is frustrating, especially for a band at our level.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Fred: That’s a tough one. To be honest I’m happiest writing our own songs… not because they are the best songs ever written …. but because it is so rewarding and a real privilege to have people enjoy what you have had a hand in creating. If you push me I’ll say ‘White Christmas’ as the royalties from that would be quite nice to have!
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
Moose: There’s challenges at every level, but the power of the big labels and the big management teams are still there at the top of the pyramid, and that will always be the case. Stepping up from the bottom when starting out is a massive challenge, but once you’ve got some initial traction it gets a bit easier, so it’s just a case of making the most of the moment. Hopefully as we come out of the COVID-related restrictions we’ll see everyone working together to generate some sort of joined up recovery – bands, venues, agents, promoters et al.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
Fred: We’re busy focusing on ‘Aces & Eights’, preparing for all our live shows and trying to firm up some bigger support tours. We never stop writing musical ideas though, so when the time is right to think about the next recording we’ll have plenty of cool songs to start working up.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
Sons of Liberty links:
Band location – Bristol England
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Merch –
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Last Fm
Check our page for Sons Of Liberty