Selfish Sons Talk Touring and Coronavirus Delays
If this is the first time you’re hearing of the Brisbane band Selfish Sons, I doubt it is going to be the last.
The alternate rock/pop trio of Jordy, Finn and Jonty came together in high school and have been performing their original songs all around Australia ever since. Following sell out gigs in Sydney and Melbourne, due to the Coronavirus venue restrictions in Brisbane, Selfish Sons had to cut the final leg of their Australian tour ‘Sleep’ short.
However, with big plans already underway despite the circumstances, there’s no denying that these Brissy boys are ones to watch. Selfish Sons took the time to chat with The Creative Issue to discuss all thing’s music, touring, COVID-19, and even what time they wake up in the morning.
The Creative Issue: Can you tell me a bit about Selfish Sons? When and how did you meet and any influences that you guys have?
Selfish Sons: So pretty much, Jonty and I met years and years ago when we actually did a commercial. I remember the whole drive. We were just two completely random kids that had never met each other before, but on the whole drive out to this random place in the middle of nowhere we just sat and listened to music and just kind of bonded over it. We were both really young, I was probably like, ten or eleven and Jonty was even younger probably about eight. Finn and I are brothers, and we’ve been playing together for years since we were little. And then years later, for some weird reason Jonty popped up at our school. And then once we hit grade eleven or grade twelve, we just started playing together. When I got out of school, we really got serious about it. I had a bunch of songs that I had written that I showed the boys and then pretty much from there, we played our first gig and here we are now.
TCI: So what has been a highlight for your band so far?
SS: Oh, man, so many things. Just off the fact that we loved playing music from the beginning. We didn’t even really think too much of it or want too much out of it. We’ve achieved some amazing things like we sold out Heya Bar, which was our first ever ticketed show. We sold out The Foundry after that, which was 350 tickets. And then we sold over 400 tickets to The Brightside after that. We just sold out Sydney on this run and I think we were a couple of tickets off selling out Melbourne as well.
TCI: 2019 was a huge year for your band and you have had multiple sell out shows. What has it been like with the recent success, and were you surprised that you were selling out shows so quickly, being such a young group?
SS: Well, I think the thing is, behind the scenes we played a lot of shows to nobody for quite a long time.
TCI: Was that mainly in Brisbane?
SS: Yeah, in Brisbane. We actually did a tour way back where we played pretty much everywhere else. And pretty much everywhere else we played, there was less than ten people there. I think that’s all part of it and to be honest, that’s made us appreciate where we are now. Obviously, we’re still very small. And you know, we have huge aspirations, but just seeing people that are rocking up in our T-shirts and they know the lyrics better than I do, it’s crazy. We are just so humbled and so happy that people want to share that with us.
TCI: Yeah that’s awesome. So you were recently on your Australian tour, Sleep, where you had been to Sydney and Adelaide and were meant to perform in Brisbane this weekend. How were those shows in Sydney and Melbourne and do you have any favourite moments or highlights from the tour?
SS: So we did Sydney and Melbourne that weekend, and honestly this has probably been one of the most exciting tours we’ve done yet. I was saying to the boys the other week when we were getting on the plane, how exciting it is to know that people are going to be in those rooms before we’re even at the room. Yeah, so it is a huge milestone for us. The highlight for me would be just getting that call as we were walking into the venue in Sydney, from our booking agent being like, you guys just sold it out. I have never been hit with so much dopamine in one go. And then Melbourne was just as great. Just being able to be in a room with people who knew the lyrics to our song. It’s just insane.
Yeah, just the sheer jump we’ve had from the last tour to this tour is incredibly overwhelming. The amount of people that have come through in Sydney and Melbourne is kind of crazy. It’s honestly exponential compared to the last time we played there. We love playing live music and feed off the energy of other people. So, the shows just keep on feeling better and better because there’s more people in the room to work off. So overall all it was a very good tour, apart from this Brisbane show, which we’re missing out on.
TCI: Can you tell me a bit about your newest single ‘Sleep’ and the inspiration behind it?
SS (Jordy): So pretty much, I started writing a bunch of stuff while I was going through a lot of problems with insomnia. Like I had issues sleeping and my own issues with anxiety and depression. And you know, to be very honest, I couldn’t think straight for a very long time. I couldn’t put together songs, I couldn’t do things like I used to be able to do. But basically, it was just a lot of different tiny ideas that came from sporadic moments in my creativity or my issues, and we just pieced it together in this collaborative, cool way. It’s a pretty special one for us to be honest. This song marks the start of something new and a new direction that we want to take.
TCI: Do you think this song and the fact your music is going in a new direction is a reason that more people are recognising you guys and coming to your shows?
SS: I think it plays a part for sure. I think any little thing moves you forward, especially when you’re trying to get something across. Especially us as a band, we’re just trying to kind of relay what we feel and hope everybody else can feel it as well.
TCI: So how do you guys work as a group?
SS: So we used to individually write the songs but now it’s more collaborative which I think gives the band a little bit more character because it comes from everyone. And I think the cool thing is that everyone has different music tastes, so we have this cool blend of pop and heavy. We are just really enjoying creating music at the moment. I think that’s the best part. It’s not as intense as it used to be.
TCI: So what does a typical day look like for you from waking up through to the end of the day?
SS (Jordy): Well, we wake up at like 1pm or 2pm so… No, it is me waking up at about 8am and then Finn wakes up at about 10am and then collaboratively we spend that whole morning trying to wake Jordy up which takes until about 3pm. So, we’ve missed out on a whole day there. Then it’s like another two hours for Jordy to just come into zone. But then we’ll spend the whole night working.
But most days we’re together pretty much and we’re making music or thinking about music or just thinking about what we’re going to be doing over the next few months. I also think that’s the thing about being in a band, you always need to be feeding off each other. I think that’s what gives us the dynamic we have because we’re really like family now and it’s beyond mates playing music together. It’s so much more than that. We’re trying to just treat this like a full-time job. We’re not making much money, but every single day we’re trying to work at it.
TCI: So as you’ve mentioned the Brisbane show has been cancelled due to the dramatic increase in restrictions on large events because of the Coronavirus outbreak. How has this come to affect the band and rest of your tour?
SS: We got notified by the venue and we’ve had majority of our gigs for the foreseeable future being cancelled or postponed. It’s like really murky water for us because we don’t know what’s in store for the future. Especially in terms of our crew, and the people that work at the venues, sound engineers, booking agents, lighting guys, it has a ripple effect through the whole industry. We really don’t know what the next few months are going to look for us. We didn’t have a whole lot of shows planned, but all of those shows are important to us in terms of the people that we were going to reach and being able to fund what we do. We’re just trying to navigate that and trying to figure out how we can move forward and continue being a band.
We don’t want to put anyone’s health or safety at risk. And then also at the same time, we don’t want to just stop our entire life. For us, this is what we do, this is all we’ve got. It’s just a really tricky time for everyone.
TCI: Has it affected how you guys communicate with industry related people and how you rehearse as a group?
SS: We’re pretty much in quarantine together to be honest. We’re all stuck in a room 90% of the time anyway, so it’s not really that much different. To be honest, our hearts are with the venue owners. As bad as it is like, we lose our money or whatever, but the venues are the ones that are really impacted by it and those are the places that also respect having us play there. That’s where we play, that’s where we cut our teeth, that’s where we have nothing if we don’t have a room to play in. I think there’ll be a couple more Skype calls and a couple more interesting facetimes to come, but hopefully we can just stay safe.
TCI: Are you guys used to working at home or have you recently been trying to do this a bit more now, or in the future do you think you’ll try and do it a bit more?
SS: That’s the thing, we are a touring band, and we adapt. I think that’s the cool thing about what we do. We can write, perform or do anything at any place, at any time. We’re lucky in that sense. That’s why we want to show our support for the venues that can’t necessarily do that.
TCI: Do you think there is anything that people can do to show their support for bands like you guys or even the venues?
SS: I think there’s a bunch of amazing organisations like Support Act that really help so many of us in this situation. But it’s not only us, it’s the entertainment industry and it’s also the travel industry and so many other facets of the community.
The primary things you can do is just going straight to your band’s merch or actually buying the music rather than streaming it. Just engaging. Staying engaged with those local bands who really do need that. Not forgetting and just being as active as you can.
TCI: What’s some future plans for Selfish Sons?
SS: Our plans for this year was just give 110% to touring, heaps of new music and recording music. We’re going to do all of that as best as we can and just try and find a way to work around it. There will definitely be a new single out soon and more music to come this year.
TCI: Well at least that’s something to look forward to then through all this.
SS: Yeah, just stay safe, wash your hands and look after yourselves.