London newcomers Sad Boys Club make confessional, heart-on-sleeve indie bops in a similar vein to the likes of Marsicans, Sea Girls, Bloxx and what have you. Formed in their early teens and buoyed by a little rehearsal room help from their pals Bombay Bicycle Club, before the-year-that-shall-not-be-named, they were motoring along with a couple of EPs (most recently, 2019's 'Four Shades of the Transitional Phase') and live slots all over the show. Now, their new single '25' (keep an eye out for the video coming next week) marks the start of a new era - the band's Jacob Wheldon tells us more.
Hi Jacob, how's it going? What've you been up to today?
It's going ok; I hope it's going ok with you too, Dork. First week of lockdown has been a bit of a challenge; I'm trying to think of a means to communicate about it in an effective way with people - so I spent most of the day picking the brains of some friends as to what might be a helpful way to address it. Then I watched Between Two Ferns for a few hours and finished the Chinese from a couple of days ago.
How did you guys meet and decide to form the band, have you known each other long?
I think the four of us have been together for about a year and a half? Tom and I have been best mates since the first day of secondary school. Pedro and I met at a studio on a different project, we scrapped that and decided to start this over a shared love or The Cure. Then I met Chris whilst out of my mind at some sort of party; I think maybe an anniversary or something - he was in the covers band playing, and I was obviously quite into it - or quite desperate - I woke up the next morning, and he was a member, just never worked out how to get out of it.
Can you remember the first song you wrote together? How does it compare to what you're doing now?
The first song Pedro and I wrote together was called '15/01'. It's a lot more indie than we ever dared go again - I think you can hear a bit of identity searching in it. Maybe we'd just read Meet Me in the Bathroom? We were writing songs together before we'd formed a friendship, so everything was quite reference-heavy as a way to understand one another - we're really just getting into our stride with a total sense of autonomy, songwriting wise. It's nang.
What inspires you, both in music and in life?
There are a lot of ways to answer this. Hopefully, this won't come across too pretentious but if it does then idgaf. I think moments, songs, people, art - wherever it comes - who provide a clarity are what I'm motivated by, whether that's joyous, brutal, melancholic, romantic, angry, whatever - I'm a very anxious person, I have a tendency to overanalyse everything so when a song or a person can lift me from that mode of seeing the world it feels seismic - it doesn't have to feel good. It just has to be enough to bring me into the present. Does that make sense?
How have you found 2020? Have you had to cancel or rejig much?
The answer is yes. I don't care for this line of questioning; admin, have Dork removed for trolling.
You've just released your new single '25', what's it about?
It's about writing songs, I think. Like what I was on about before, songs can work as forcefields against the ordinary, 'real' existence of everything, but not in a nihilistic way, in a kind of clarifying way. It's sort of about trying to live inside that version of reality and how that can be both a force for transcendence but also means you can be a twat. Somebody pass me the joint.
What was the process of conceptualising and creating the video like? Were you hindered by social distancing?
What did Kiedis say? "... on WhatsApp, where all good music videos are made"? Something like that. It was a lot of Jordan, and I just sending each other aesthetics that elicited a heightened emotion in us one way or another - it was a long Pinterest board. We built the idea while social distancing was already in play, so it didn't really hinder, but it helped shift our focus towards the idea of vignettes and moods over narrative.
How hands-on are you when it comes to things like videos and artwork?
I didn't grow up with MTV in my house, videos were never a big deal for me growing up, so I have quite a child-like curiosity towards them - I'm hands-on in a conceptual sense, but technically this is all Jordan and Moll's own wizardry. There's quite an extensive team that makes up Sad Boys; it's a nice place to be.
You've said '25' is the first song from a new "project" - is there anything you can tell us about that?
It's from a new EP called 'Echoes in A Shallow Bay'. I'm not sure when it'll come out just yet, but it's finished. It's a grand-sounding record, we've embraced our affection for the wide scope and cinematic unapologetically. Thematically there's a lot going on; my Jewishness, faith, friendship, mental health, the internet, art, music - it's all tied up by an exploration of identity and what it means to be your self when you don't feel like you've got much grasp on it. The year has felt so static it's hard to justify feeling good when you've done nothing to earn it - I think I've realised that there's some deep sense of yearning for self-evolution in everything we're writing at the moment.
Do you have much in the diary for 2021 yet?
Fingers crossed we'll get to do the Marsicans, Slow Readers Club, No Hot Ashes shows as well as our first headline tour and get back out to Europe, we loved it last time. Who knows though, eh? We're writing and recording all the time so have no interest in letting it slow us down either way.
Sad Boys Club's new EP 'Echoes in A Shallow Bay' is out soon. Probably.