Musings on music delivered when I dig myself out.

An interview with Sons and Daughters

[originally for]

After seeing Sons and Daughters, a veritable tidal wave of furiously dark folk music, open for Franz Ferdiand, I knew I had to get to know more about the foursome. The group recently saw their full-length album, Love the Cup, re-released on Domino records and are readying themselves for another round of touring. Guitarist Scott Patterson took a few minutes to speak with me while walking around New York.

Codebreaker: Since the group is called Sons and Daughters, who is your favorite celebrity family?

Scott Patternson: Oh, that's a good question. [to drummer David Gow] Dave, who's your favorite celebrity family? [pauses] It's got to be the [June] Carter family.
Codebreaker: On a similar note, how important is family to all of you?
SP: We all come from good, close families. See, the thing is though -- we're all really close friends in the group, so friends are more important in the actual band. We've all known each other since before the band as well. It's a special thing -- you're not afraid to tell each other when stuff's not right or whatever. It's lovely to go on tour with your friends. In the broader sense of the word, I consider my best friends to be family unlike some aunts and uncles you never see. So in that way it's just as important.
Codebreaker: For the uninitiated how did Sons and Daughters come into being?
SP: It was Adele's idea. Adele was on tour with the Arab Strap with Dave [for whom he played drums for as well] and she wanted to have her own band and she wanted to call it Sons and Daughters. So she talked to Dave about this and Dave said 'If you get this group going, I'd love to play drums.' When she got back home her friend Ailidh, who she's known since her teens, they started to write some songs in Ailidh's flat. I used to go to a record shop that Adele used to work in and I used to buy a lot of records that she really loved and we got talking from that. She came to see me play a small acoustic show one night in Glasgow and she asked me to join the group. After a couple of months we had some practices at Ken 19 and wrote some songs. It wasn't too easy for us to get gigs since we all had jobs and conflicting schedules but after a year we started gigging more often.
Codebreaker: Musically, what is it like to grow up in Scotland?
SP: If you're talking about the mainstream, on the radio in the UK you don't get a lot of alternative anymore. It's about the same things on the radio [in America], you know, Jay-Z and R&B. Glasgow especially is a very vibrant music scene. Just like any other city in the world -- London, New York -- there are loads of record shops and there's a real community of people with an eclectic taste in music. But since Glasgow is such a small place you get to know everybody in the bands, so it's a very close-knit community. I can't put my finger on it, but it seems there are more great bands coming out of Glasgow right now than there are in the rest of the UK, in my opinion. Everybody helps out and plays together; even though none of the bands sound like each other it doesn't really matter. You have to help each other out, really.
Codebreaker: Do you find much traditional Scottish influence in your music?
SP: We were talking about this yesterday. Ailidh especially, she grew up with a lot of UK folk music like the Incredible String Band. My parents weren't so much into that, but living in Scotland you hear that in the media so it kind of seeps into you. For me, I wouldn't say Scottish folk music, but more American roots folk music that had an influence on me. There's this box set that you can buy called The Anthology of American Folk which was released in the 50s that was a massive influence on people like Bob Dylan. I bought that and it really struck a chord with me. It's all this folk music from the 20s and 30s. It's taken Scottish and Irish folk music but played by Americans in the early days. It's really sinister; lots of songs about death and murder, all kind of horrifying... and I loved that.
Codebreaker: Besides folk I'd almost say there's a dance influence as well. It's not outright dancey, but when I saw you all live I found myself dancing.
SP: That's important to us as well. When you go to a show you want people to enjoy it and-- I always feel that when I see a band and you feel your blood pumping and you can't stop tapping your feet, that's some of the most enjoyable kind of music. There're a lot of different influences in the band -- we all love different kinds of music. Some like dance music, I love country, folk and post-punk. It's a big melting pot of every kind of music that we love. It's important to us that it's got a beat to it that gets you moving and I suppose dance music is very similar to that.
Codebreaker: I keep on hearing your band's name tossed around in conjunction with Johnny Cash...
SP: Well, the song "Johnny Cash" was around for two years before we recorded the album. It was only ever a working title but we ended up calling it that. It is and it isn-t about him -- it-s more of homage to him. The theme of the album isn't really about him, but most of themes are about relationships and the violence within them. You can read it many different ways...
Codebreaker: One thing I love about your music is the doubled vocals -- the high/low combinations you do. Does that come from how you all write your songs?
SP: It's a call and response thing. It goes back to the old folk thing as well, especially people like the Carter family. We liked the idea of having boy-girl duets on the album. It kind of lends itself to the themes of relationships, where you've got the male voice and the female voice. Some of the songs where Adele sings one thing and I repeat it, you can be read as a sarcastic response to her.
Codebreaker: How long ago did you all get off tour with Franz Ferdinand?
SP: We did the UK tour with them in April and May and we did the U.S. tour the whole of June.
Codebreaker: How was that?
SP: It was amazing. It was the biggest tour we've done so far. We're obviously good friends with the guys so it was great to be able go on tour with your friends. Because they're doing so well, you don't really get to see them back in Glasgow at all. The crowds were so receptive to us, which is always a worry if you go over with a band if they're gonna... like you.
Codebreaker: I was going to ask if it was difficult to woo over people looking to see Franz Ferdinand.
SP: Every city we played it was great. It really bowled me over -- a lot of the kids coming to the Franz Ferdinand shows were really young, so this might have been the first bands they'd ever seen. They were really lovely and really seemed to get it right away and give us great applause.
Codebreaker: Like Franz Ferdinand, you've all had some pretty good buzz yourselves. Have you felt any pressure to be the next big think like them?
SP: I don't think even Franz themselves expected to get as big as they did, so I think it's come as a shock. The media in the band likes to hype bands up in the very early stage and it can sometimes have a detrimental effect. We've got our heads screwed on -- we know that the kind of music we're making is maybe not the kind of thing that is loved by everyone. It's not that we don't want to -- we'd love to do well. But we don't want to change what we're doing to try and fit in and make it. We're taking it as it comes; we're not trying to put ourselves under any pressure to make music the media likes. That can really destroy a lot of bands, but we're just enjoying it at the moment.
Codebreaker: Your album originally came out on Ba Da Bing!, but now it's being re-released on Domino, obviously a much larger label. What was that like getting that deal?
SP: Oh, it was unbelievable. Domino has always been my favorite label anyway. I was looking through my collection and so many of them are from Domino records: Smog and Bonnie Prince Billy and so many more. When you start a band you've always got a list in your head of dream labels. For me, my dream label was Domino. When I found out they were interested in us I was really excited and when they offered us a deal, it was like a dream come true. They're lovely people -- the U.S. and UK offices -- they only seem to employ nice people. And they're music lovers, unlike maybe some other kind of labels.
Codebreaker: What's coming up next for Sons and Daughters?
SP: We're doing a lot of touring. We'll be back in the U.S. in October 'cause we're touring with Clinic. Back in the UK, we're doing some festivals when we get back. We're going to bring out a single with a video and just more touring. In December we're hoping to be in the studio to record an album that will be out next spring.
Codebreaker: One last question: what's on your turntable these days?
SP: Me personally, I've been going through a phase -- I kind of get very obsessive about music -- I've always loved The Smiths but I've just got back into them again. The Smiths and Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsborg, kind of singer/songwriter stuff. There's also a local band in Glasgow called Uncle Joe and Whitewalk who/re absolutely fantastic. I don't think they've made it over here yet, not brought any records out in the U.S. They're really creative and I've listened to them a lot -- they're kind of like The Birthday Party.

E-mail this post

Remember me (?)

All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of More...

0 Responses to “An interview with Sons and Daughters”

Leave a Reply

      Convert to boldConvert to italicConvert to link


I Got Love For

ATOM 0.3

Establish Contact:

Previous posts


Add to your Kinja digest