Interview: Weekend Sun | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Weekend Sun are one of the North East’s premier original soul-funk bands and firm favourites of Craig Charles who has regularly featured them on his 6 Music show over the years. They return to perform at Stockton on Saturday 30th November, after their packed to the rafters performance at Stockton Calling earlier in the year, to launch their brand new album, Caught In A Machine (released via Butterfly Effect). We chat with Phil Smith ahead of the show to find out more.

How would you describe Weekend Sun’s sound? Who are some of your biggest influences?
We really like that period where soul artists were making Disco but Disco hadn’t been invented. Uplifting tracks like Saturday Night put a smile on my Sunday morning face. Not into shiny digital sounds – we really love the stuff that Big Crown records are currently putting out now like Lady Wray

Tell us more about your latest album ‘Caught In A Machine’. What are the themes within the record, where did the title come from and how is it different from previous releases?
We have a really warm analogue soul sound but with a strong hip hop influence for the drums. When we started, we were called the Low Keys, all based on samples; covers of Express Yourself and Primal Scream, Mr Scruff with bass/ percussion & horns.

‘Caught in a Machine’ is a quotation from a book called ‘Of Mice And Men’ by John Steinbeck. I thought it was apt for the times, there’s such a feeling of being out of control of our own futures and mistrust seems the common denominator. It’s similar to our first album in that there are soul, dub reggae / Jazzy St.Germain / Quantic tracks and our take on the Bristol sound of the 90s. 

Our last single was in 2017 but when the singer left we wrote some new songs. Our new singer, Karlene, loves Dub and Soul and I think that comes across.

You are releasing the vinyl via local label Butterfly Effect. How did that come about?
Butterfly Effect came about through an introduction by James Watson who has his fingers in lots of Darlington pies. It’s the perfect label for us as Stephen Gill is very supportive and there’s no music industry cynicism. The label aims to support local artists and does so successfully. Copies of their releases are kept by the British Library which is just amazing.

What does 2020 have in store for Weekend Sun?
We’ve got a huge backlog of songs to record. Songwriting is my favourite part, the penny dropped while recording our first album and have never stopped scribbling and recording ideas. I’ve also got a sideline folk-soul project going. We are performing a live acoustic set for Bob Fischer on BBC Tees on 14th Nov.

People really seem to like the jazzy songs on this release, so lots more to come from Weekend Sun.

What can people expect from your show at The Green Room on 30th November?
We can’t wait for the album launch at The Green Room with ‘Into Tomorrow’. It will be a full power line up and Karlz loves singing live and is really good with an audience. We went down really well at Stockton Calling and can always get folk dancing.

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