Sons of the East – Palomar Parade

Tell us a little bit about each of you and Sons of the East.

Jack, Dan and myself (Nic) make up the band’s core members. Jack is our lead singer and frontman extraordinaire, Dan is our banjoist and lead guitarist, and I play keys, guitar and do a little bit of lead vocals here and there. We got together as a band back around 2012 when we were all still at uni, starting it as a fun project to write tunes together while we studied for what we thought would be our real jobs. Slowly but surely the band took off and we now get to call this our real job!

Talk us through ‘Palomar Parade’, your record available for Record Store Day Australia this year?

Palomar Parade takes its name from the street where we recorded a lot of demos that later became the album. It’s our debut album, which, when you’ve been a band for 10 years sounds crazy, but we’d previously released a bunch of EPs and we like to take our time crafting the songs.

How long was the record in the works for? Was your approach to creating this album different in comparison to your previous releases?

It sort of varies. We’re not the type of band to go into the studio with all the songs written and do, say, a month of intensive recording, it’s a bit more piecemeal than that. So with Palomar Parade, some of the songs had been written a few years prior and needed more work to bring them to life, while others were written in the final months of putting together the record. We found that the process of getting into the studio and recording a lot of material spawned the creation of new songs that felt like they belonged on the record, so we chased those down until we felt it was a full record.

How do all the songwriting pieces fit together with the three of you? Are there specific roles you all take on in the studio?

It changes depending on the songs. We all write, both together and separately. Sometimes Jack or myself will bring a song to the group that’s more fully formed, and other times it’s a real group effort to write and record the song. In the studio I tend to work on engineering and production a little more, while Jack might work on lyrics and Dan will work on guitar and banjo parts, but it shifts around depending on who’s song it is, and who’s singing it.

Were there any artists that influenced the writing and sound of ‘Palomar Parade?’

Heaps! Generally our writing has been influenced by a lot of our parents music – stuff like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Tom Petty, Dylan, Springsteen – and some more contemporary stuff like Coldplay, Jack Johnson, but with Palomar there were plenty of other production influences. For example the opening track is a bit of an ode to JJ Cale, while Undone references production work from Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, so it’s pretty broad spectrum.

You are in the midst of a big tour across Australia and overseas? Are there any venues you are most excited to play, either here or abroad?

Yes this is the biggest year of touring we’ve ever undertaken, so there’s plenty of places we’re excited to be playing. At home, we’re looking forward to getting over to WA and playing in Margaret River as it’s so beautiful down there. Overseas, we’ll be doing Paradiso in Amsterdam in June which is really exciting, as that’s one of the city’s most well renowned venues and a bucket list item for us. In the states there’s a lot of shows we’re looking forward to, I can’t say much about them as they haven’t been announced yet, but there’s a festival or two that we’re really excited about.

Is there a memory or highlight that comes to mind from touring together?

Last year in the middle of touring we had a few days off in Rosenheim, Bavarian Germany, with our friends from Amistat. They took us on a hike to the top of a big mountain with a huge group of us, and we stayed overnight in traditional Bavarian lodging up the mountain. The night was full of Bavarian food and beer, singing and laughter. It’s not exactly what you think of when you think ‘touring’, but sometimes those experiences with the whole touring crew are the ones that stick with you.

What track do you love playing most to a live audience?

I love playing You Might Think. It’s got a great groove to it live, and I love the interplay between harmonica and the darker pads and electric guitar.

For someone that has not listened to your music before, what’s the first song you would suggest they listen to and why?

I’m doubling up here but it’s probably You Might Think. It’s one of those songs that still makes me feel a lot of things when I listen to it, despite having heard it to death when we recorded it. The other one is probably Hard To Tell – it’s fun and upbeat and gives you a little insight into what it might be like to come to a live show.

You’re from the Northern Beaches in Sydney, are there places that you feel particularly inspired by or you go to reset?

We’re all surfers so I’d say the beach/water is our place to reset. Being able to travel and see so much of the world through music gives you some perspective on how lucky we are to be able to live where we do, so coming home to the beaches is pretty epic.

Is there a favourite local Record Store you go looking for vinyl?

Red Eye Records is a great store in the middle of Sydney City where we buy our records from. Just around the corner from some great bars too.

Red Eye Records - Amy Halpin

It looks like you’ll be playing Dream Fields in Queensland on Record Store Day this year, what can we expect to see at the show? Is there anything you are looking forward to most about it?

Dreamfields is going to be super fun. We’re really looking forward to being up there, not only for the festival but for the entire weekend of shows in North Queensland. It’s a great lineup so apart from getting to see yours truly, we’re excited to see some of the other bands playing on the day!