Brother and sister duo Southern are indicative of the changing landscape and attitude of young and upcoming bands. Rather than wanting to get off their face hours before playing a gig, they were drinking the most understated of drinks. Tea. Yet this, of course, serves an important purpose.
“I think (this tour) is the first time I’ve really noticed on this tour that every show counts. I don’t understand how bands in the past did it when they just got completely off their faces every night because if we have one night where we go mad, the next day is like hell and it’s so hard to enjoy a gig” explains Lucy.
The old attitude of going out and getting smashed for the hell of it clearly doesn’t resonate with Southern.
They know the importance of what they’re doing and they know they will have to work hard to get where they want to.
“If you’re never getting any success you can’t really afford to be doing it,” says Thom.
“I was working in a pub to be able to afford going and playing gigs for free every night in London.”
As you delve deeper and deeper into the psyche of the duo, their relaxed and somewhat reserved demeanour betrays an inner steeliness and determination.
“You aspire to be as big as your heroes and you aspire to play Glastonbury and headline the main stage. We’ve done a lot of grafting to get to where we are now and at this stage we’re kind of ready now to play those big stages. If we end up playing Glastonbury next year then it will feel like we’ve really achieved something.”
Even from a young age, Southern knew what they wanted. At the age of 19, Thom left Belfast to go to London to try and make something of his career.
“I used to go to England all the time when Lucy was in school and I used to play shows a lot. We went over with our band and played a show and we got a lot of label interest that week at a show that week and I just, I personally just never came back.”
Lucy continues: “We’d been playing around Belfast since we were both about 15 or 16, so we’d done the whole circuit of gigs. There are only so many places you can play in Belfast until you need to expand. We have a lot of contacts in London and Paris and we were already playing internationally almost from a young age so it was never a big jump for us.”
Getting as much exposure as they can is what Southern are aiming for with every gig they play. They have recently been signed to Marathon Artists yet they welcome the pressure and responsibility of being on a record label.
“They’ve just really happy with everything we’ve been doing. They’ve been coming to all our concerts and all they say is just keep practicing and just keep getting but there’s never been any negativity when we’ve been working with them. You know when we’ve been working with them they love it and everyone is really passionate about so there hasn’t been a lot of pressure if you have to call it that” says Thom.
“Maybe for other people they don’t like it as much you know, having to fit deadlines and things but I think we do that well under pressure so it makes us work harder” concurs Lucy.
They are also thankful to their record company for givng them creative freedom over their music and music videos etc.
“From the beginning when we were in our late teens, we were conscious of keeping all the creative control even before we had management and stuff” explained Lucy.
“Thom used to manage us and we were always on top of what we wanted our posters to look like so I think as the years have gone by and we’ve got management and a label onboard its hard to give 100 per cent of your project away.”
“We’ve been fully a part of our new music video. We worked with the same director as our where I want to be music video Michael Holyck. We wrote the whole concept and how it’s gonna be what its gonna look like, what the colour scheme is gonna be. All the stuff in the background idea was written by me and Lucy and we gave it to the director and then he’s made it look awesome and has brought our vision to life.”
Southern are the main support for Catfish and the Bottlemen’s current tour, and will be supporting Hudson Taylor on their UK tour in February.
Check out new video for their song Cool Kid right here.