Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with Leeds based band Sunflower Thieves to find out more…
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
Hello! We are Sunflower Thieves, female-fronted pop folk band, originally from Derbyshire and now based in Leeds. We began as a duo (Amy and Lily) and we went to primary school together, and have been friends since we were very young. We wish we had a fun story to tell about the name 'Sunflower Thieves' but unfortunately we don't! We decided we needed a band name and put a call out on our social medias, but didn't take to any of the suggestions. We like the contradiction of something beautiful and positive (Sunflower) with something negative (Thieves).
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
We both grew up in families who are passionate about music, and attended lots of festivals and concerts from a young age, so we have a vast amount of varied influences. In terms of our current influences for the band, we are inspired by the likes of Lucy Rose, First Aid Kit, Bear's Den.
How would you describe your sound?
Honest lyrics and captivating stories of loss, friendship and hope, portrayed through ethereal harmonies and catchy poppy choruses. "Beautiful... just beautiful" - Dean Jackson, DJ BBC Introducing East Mids.
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
Our new single is called Two Halves, and was out on September 7th 2018.
The song is very personal, about being there for someone who is vulnerable, as they rebuild their life and you rebuild your friendship, without being a threat to them. The story behind it is not explicit in the lyrics, so we are looking forward to seeing how people interpret it!
What’s your local music scene like?
We are currently based in Leeds, where there is a vibrant, busy music scene and plenty of creatives. There is also a huge support network for female and non-binary creatives and musicians, which is really important to us in this industry. There is always a gig to go to, and someone we know to support!
However, we started gigging back home in Derbyshire, where our local town and surrounding areas are really supportive. From there we began performing in Nottingham, which was the biggest confidence boost, and provided so many opportunities for us, including playing at Dot to Dot Nottingham, and Splendour Festival.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Over the next 12 months we hope to play more Sofar Sounds gigs, as we have been doing over this past summer. These are some of our favourite gigs to play, in cool spaces, intimate performances and audiences who are passionate about undiscovered live music. We also plan to play more festivals, and book more gigs abroad. Release-wise, we have a live band performance video of Two Halves to be released after the single, followed by a stripped-back acoustic duo video. We will be releasing a follow up single a few months later!
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
We'd love to collaborate with lots of people! Amy studies songwriting and would love to write for other musicians, as well as have Sunflower Thieves perform on collaborative songs. For example, Nottingham's Joseph Knight released a track called 'Hold On To Me' in 2017 with Amy's vocals and harmonies on it. We hope to do similar projects with more of our fellow musicians, as Sunflower Thieves. Lily produces our tracks, and has produced other artists such as Mehalah Ray, Leeds based singer-songwriter. Both of these skills provide many options to explore!
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
1. We often get introduced as 'Sunflower Seeds'. Not quite as cool.
2. At our recent Sofar Sounds Newcastle, we performed in a Turkish restaurant. Right at the end of our set, we performed our new single, Two Halves, and on the last two words of the song, the sound system in the room blasted out loud, traditional Turkish music, completely ruining the silent, intimate atmosphere we had created! We all had a good laugh about it, but we don't think that will ever happen again!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
From what we are doing as a band, we want other female musicians and bands to receive the amazing support that we do, and grow in confidence in the way that we have, so that we have more female representation on festival, lineups, in radio, in music journalism, in any creative area that they want to be in. We look for an equal industry, and collaborate with as many female creatives as possible to help this happen! :)