Merseyside is revered for its music and in recent years we’ve seen a real surge in quality bands coming through. La Vida Liverpool Bands is a series that brings you the best local bands — from ones you may know to up and coming ones to watch out for. If you’re looking to discover a new band and find out about more about them such as their biography, music videos and gig details, then check out La Vida Liverpool Bands as we introduce you to the best bands Merseyside has to offer. In this piece, we focus on The Sundowners.
Consisting of Niamh Rowe (vocals, guitar), Fiona Skelly (vocals, guitar, percussion), Alfie Skelly (lead guitar), Tim Cunningham (bass) and Jim Sharrock (drums), the Wirral based psychedelic folk rock band have been doing big things over the last few years. They’ve supported The Coral, Paul Weller and Kasabian and have featured on BBC Radio 6, as well as making waves on the festival circuit, having played at festivals such as Glastonbury and Festival No.6.
They’ve had a busy 2017 — releasing their second album, ‘Cut The Master’, touring and playing multiple festivals throughout the summer. We managed to catch up with Fiona Skelly and ask a few questions whilst they were enjoying some down time over the festive season.
LVL: So, Fi, what have you guys been up to recently?
Fi: Over the last year we released our sophomore album ‘Cut The Master’, toured it in the spring and had a summer jam packed with festivals — it was great! The band have been touring, writing and recording non stop for years so we’ve decided to take a bit of time off and recharge our batteries over Christmas.
LVL: How did The Sundowners form?
Fi: Niamh and I would hang out learning our favourite tunes, practicing our harmonies and writing. We’d get up in bars and pubs by ours and play them until we started to sound alright. Alf saw us play one day and was looking for a singer as his band just split. We went in for a rehearsal and loved it. At that time we had different players on drums and bass but that didn’t last long — then Tim aka T-Bone came in on bass and we played as an acoustic 4 piece for about a year until Jim came along. Since then we’ve played the best and the worst venues in the country haha, got to tour with, support and work with some brilliant artists, released 2 albums and helped start the label we’re on — Skeleton Key.
LVL: Who would you say are your main influences?
Fi: It’s a mixed bag really. We’re all into a variety of stuff, strongly rooted in the past with some modern bands such as GOAT, Tame Impala, Valerie June and Lemon Twigs, but I’d say one of the strongest influences has been Tom Petty. We went on a band holiday to Paris and luckily got the chance to see him before he sadly passed. His radio show, ‘Buried Treasure’, was the sound track to so many of our van journeys.
LVL: How have you guys managed to deal with the increased success and attention?
Fi: Hmmm I don’t know really. When you’re just living something it’s hard to see the changes. I don’t feel any different to be honest. We all still hold down 1 or 2 jobs each so there’s nothing that’s gonna keep you more grounded than when you support Paul Weller and get to hang out with him in his dressing room then have to drive through the night back home, unload all the gear at 4am and then get up at 8am to go to one of your jobs haha.
LVL: What’s it like playing at Glastonbury?
Fi: Playing Glastonbury is a great experience that any young band would love not only because of the buzz of getting to play a boss gig but getting a free weekend pass. We had a blast both times. It really does have something special about the place — an electric energy.
LVL: What are your plans for 2018 and beyond?
Fi: Our plan for 2018 is to have no plan. We’ve already laid down a few tracks in between gigs over the summer that were sounding pretty cool so they’re there waiting for us to get stuck into but there’s no big rush. We’ve always had so many gigs booked way in advance and studio time that everything has been written out for us and it’s just like joining the dots so we’re just gonna free fall for a while and enjoy it.
For The Sundowners Facebook page CLICK HERE
Images courtesy of John Badham and Jack Prince