Having all met at Guildford’s ACM, pop rock sensation Sophie and the Giants sit down with Ramble on Records to discuss life on tour, living in Sheffield and being their own best critic.
Hey SATG, how was your 2018?
Sophie: Busy! We started off with playing a few gigs before going on our first UK tour with a band called Trampolene. That was really cool as it was the first tour we had ever done and we had definitely learnt a lot of things, like not to drink every night!
Then we went off to do our first European tour with Tom Grennan which was pretty insane, playing to around two thousand people, all while releasing an EP.
Toby: And we also toured with Barns Courtney!
Sophie: A lot of tours basically! Which has been great. You wake up, you get ready and you play a show. We’ve been able to forget about life while we’re out there and do what we really want to do every single day.
Toby: There’s a massive pay-off when you get to play to that amount of people almost every night. You just want it more and more because as soon as you stop doing it and you’re back doing your day-to-day things you get the ‘tour blues’, as they say.
Chris: I never believed in tour blues as well, until we got back from that tour and I think I just sat in my room for two weeks straight doing nothing with myself, it was like man flu times ten!
So you all met at the ACM in Guildford?
Sophie: Yeah, I was on a songwriting course with Toby and knew Chris from the day we had started, and Bailey and I lived together during that time. I had actually started the band a year before with some temporary members who had other priorities so it was really just me and my songs and some friends helping me out. I then thought that I’d like to take this more seriously and be like a proper band – I also realised I needed a bassist.
Bailey: I had of course heard of Sophie and the Giants.
Sophie: He was already a fanboy before joining the band. Both Bailey and Chris joined at roughly the same time and then a couple of months later Toby joined.
Toby: Yeah and then within about three months we all moved to Sheffield!
Living in Sheffield, how do you find the music scene there and has it influenced you in anyway?
Chris: It’s growing again.
Sophie: Yeah people keep saying there’s a Sheffield revival going on.
Chris: And it’s great seeing all the smaller bands gaining a voice at the moment, it’s amazing to be a part of. It’s fun watching it grow while simultaneously trying to grow along with it. It feels like a community.
Sophie: Our mates BlackWaters moved up there as well with us. It’s just a good place to be at the moment. It’s a really cool place for music in general because you have all the history like Arctic Monkeys, Reverend and the Makers.
Bailey: But it’s all without the pressure, not like London where you have to get out there and do everything.
Sophie: It’s nice going home to somewhere that’s quite peaceful as well after you go on tours and there’s gigs going on like every day.
Chris: I was just down the pub down our road and there was a guy with a guitar and a guy with a saxophone just having a jam in the corner, I count that as a gig.
Sophie when it comes to your lyrics, what sort of things do you draw from?
Sophie: I write depending on how I feel at the time and it’s usually on things that I’ve experienced or stuff that I’m going through. It’s always very open and honest, I find it hard to write if I’m just making it up. So I have to find that place in my head, and it’s like my way of releasing my emotions.
I also think that’s how others feel it is if it’s written with feeling and that’s what we want to do, we want to evoke emotion!
What have you learnt since playing your first show in Camberley to headlining your own show back in October?
Toby: Looking back at it, you realise that you’re your own best critic.
Sophie: Yeah we needed that gig to realise how much hard work we had to put in.
Toby: You never stop learning, that’s the one thing.
Chris: Even the small things – like your guitar falls over – you need to know how to handle those extra few seconds and learn not to panic.
Toby: I think now we’ve got to a point where we always do like a mental checklist of all the things we need to bring.
Bailey: Yeah and there’s always one thing we miss out!
Sophie: I think as a group, we always know there’s things we need to work on to make our sound as good as it can be. That’s another thing we thought about when we moved to Sheffield. Part of the reason we moved was because it was cheap so we could really focus on the band full time and not have to worry about having a full-time job.
We know a lot of bands who do that, but if you can’t put everything into it, it can be hard! You don’t really stand a chance as it is because the music industry is so saturated so we were just like fuck it, let’s do it!
Sophie and the Giants, what’s your ramble on records?
Chris: Jamie T’s Panic Prevention. He’s from around the same area as where I grew up – I bumped into him once but I was too shy to say anything but he was always a big influence of mine and now these guys hate it because I play it way too much in the car!
Sophie: Yeah we used to love Jamie T.
Bailey: Twenty One Pilots, Trench.
Sophie: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Blondie!
Bailey: I’m a big fan of the 1975.
Toby: Queens of the Stone Age.
Chris: Yeah, I think they’re the band we could just ramble on about.
Sophie: Yeah Queens of the Stone Age is definitely mutual.