By: Mustafa Mirreh
2 November, 2018, 20:00
Photo: Ania Shrimpton
We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to music here in Bristol but more so with the city now on the map and attracting a lot of well deserved attention with artists across the city breaking through with their live shows, music releases, radio plays and conquering the official music charts.
Bristol rock trio Sœur are one of several bands right now making waves in the industry which has seen the group smash their targets over the last 12-18 months; from their recent tour with Demob Happy, airtime on Radio 1 and 6 Music, performing at Reading & Leeds and ArcTanGent festival and live session at Maida Vale among others. Now in the last quarter of the 2018, Sœur have kicked off their final UK headline tour to promote the release of new EP Fight, which sees their sound taking a much bigger and edgier approach compared to previous work.
We caught up with Anya, Tina and Jim as they beginning their final round of shows of the year, including a sold-out hometown show at The Crofter’s Rights on 17th November.
Anya – Hello! It’s been a busy few months for us, recording our second EP ‘Fight’, shooting the music video for its single, writing new material and booking our tours. We’re really enjoying it though, super stoked to be back out on the road this week!
Tina – Great! We’re about to head out on tour and busy drilling some songs ready for our next release.
Jim – Everything is going great at the moment, we’re really busy getting ourselves ready to hit the road, we can’t wait, it feels like we’ve had a build up of releasing new songs and now we just want to hit the road and play them to everyone.
Anya – I think our tour with Demob Happy was pretty special for me – those guys are both awesome musicians and people. ArcTanGent was also a dream, I’ve wanted to play that festival since I first heard of it; it was nerve-wracking to be playing in front of a real muso crowd, especially as we don’t exactly fit into the math rock/post rock box, but it went down so well and everyone we spoke to was so lovely about it – I couldn’t stop smiling on stage.
Tina – Supporting Demob Happy was great, those guys are so nice and touring is always fun. Also making the music video for ‘Fight’. It was such an amazing day, everyone was so up for it and we worked with some amazing people. It was so lovely to have conceptualised something and work it through to realisation.
Jim – Our tour supporting Demob Happy was super fun! Shooting a music video in the basement of Mothers Ruin on one of the hottest days of the year is something I don’t think we’ll forget any time soon. Having the support from Steve Lamacq recently has been pretty special too. Selling out our headline hometown show six weeks in advance is quite an achievement. I think we’re most excited about releasing our new EP and touring for the rest of the year! Can’t wait!
Anya – We find it tough to capture our live energy on record so we decided to make this EP a little more raw than the previous one. We took a lot less time in the studio and recorded everything live (except vocals). A lot of the magic can get lost when you give in to the temptation of fine-tuning everything, so we left it all in there.
Tina – Our song writing process is always evolving and I think the latest record is more a reflection of that rather than us going in a certain direction.
Anya – I think the initial idea for ‘Fight’ was from a soldier’s perspective on a war they are fighting but it ended up being about all sorts of things. It is essentially the journey from beginning to question something, to demanding a reason for it, to deciding to stop it and eventually, deciding to fight against the thing that was once blindly fought for. I think it’s easy to accept what we are taught but it is only by questioning it that we truly learn. Whether it’s a war, an abusive relationship, a mental illness or a society-instilled stereotype, this song reminds us that we have the power not only to stop fuelling the cause but to actively fight against it.
Tina – Earlier this year I bumped into a really old school friend and got chatting. He told me about his experience in the army and how this idea of protecting his country soon lost it’s charm as he ended up despising what he was doing and what it meant. It really stuck with me and this was initially what I started writing the song about, but we wanted it to transcend this particular situation, hence why I think lots of people can relate to it as it isn’t tied down to that.
Anya – I think it’s created this incredible surge of hope for aspiring bands, I know it has for me. It’s easy to become disillusioned with the music industry and to feel like you only have a shot if you’re churning out generic pop, with a shit tonne of money and nepotism on your side, so seeing bands like Idles going from playing your local dive bars to album charts and world tours is inspiring. I think the music scene in Bristol is really inclusive, instead of bands and venues and promoters all competing against each other, they work together and support each other which is beneficial to everyone.
Tina – It’s amazing. Bristol is such a hub for creatives so it’s not surprising that it’s getting the attention it deserves. Not only does it attract bands down here but it strengthens the scene which is good for us all.
Jim – I think it’s great that Bristol is getting a lot of attention at the moment. The music scene is strong and supportive and I think that show’s with the artists that are coming out from that scene. We want to save our venues and everyone feels together in trying to keep hold of the live scene in our city. With more news every week on venues around the UK closing it’s hard to predict what will be happening in 5 or 10 years time.
Anya – I’ve always felt like being on stage is the only place where I get to be truly and completely myself, it’s both exhilarating and cathartic and I’m not sure there’s anything in the world I enjoy doing more. I also absolutely love meeting and chatting to our fans, whether they’ve just seen us for the first time or we’ve seen them at our last ten shows. Whenever someone says a song really resonated with them or that seeing us doing our thing has inspired them to do theirs or even just that they had fun, it means so much to me. Those people are the ones that keep us going and we love each and every one of them for that.
Tina – It’s got to be performing. Touring can be quite hard work other than the performing. Long drives, long days with nothing to do. We just make sure we’ve got a few good books with us though and wait for the shows.
Jim – The best bit about touring is just getting to meet loads of new people, play our music to our regular fans and also gain more along the way. We’re really hard working so we don’t tend to party much after shows, it’s more about the post tour party! Thankfully our last show on this next tour is in Bristol so I’m sure they’ll be an after party kicking off somewhere!
Anya – We can’t wait either! I think our Bristol fans know what to expect of us by now… love, sweat and beers.
Tina – Yeah, it was quite surreal. Some of our family and friends didn’t even manage to get tickets. Hilarious. And those there can expect us to give everything we have as usual. We’ll be playing the EP too so some may not have heard us play those love before.
Jim – It’s going to be a big party, we want to do something really special but we’re still working on a few ideas. All we know is it’ll be loud and sweaty. Play safe!
Anya – We’re heading back into the studio after the ‘Fight’ tour to record our next batch of songs. We’ll be writing and touring as much as we possibly can in 2019. Did someone say album? Someone might have said album…
Tina – We’re going back into the studio in December to get our next release ready. No doubt we’ll show up on the festival circuit and then maybe get an album out there at some point. Only time will tell!
Jim – So we’ve got a plan to release another EP in spring, they’ll be more extensive touring and videos to follow. Basically just keep building things up and keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve got a few exciting things in the pipeline for 2019 but we can’t share all of those just yet!
New EP Fight is out on 17th November with Sœur celebrating the launch with a sold out show at The Crofter’s Rights.