The Sunset Beach Hut are the latest Shropshire band to branch out and make waves on the Birmingham, following the likes of local legends, Spilt Milk Society. Consisting of front-woman Aphra, guitarist Ben and drummer Matty, The Sunset Beach Hut are a mellow, indie, ‘multi-layered’ three-piece. I caught up with them at The Little Dessert Shop over milkshakes to discuss their new singles and upcoming shows.
"Be ready, Man"
So, firstly, when and how did you all meet?
‘We started just over a year ago probably, because me and Ben had just got out of a few other bands and we just started writing and we wanted to try this new indie ‘feel’. So yeah, we just started writing these songs and then we went “oh, we have no singer”… We had an O2 academy gig coming up, we had two of them booked, and we went into the first one just me (Matty) and Ben and I ended up having to sing and it went a bit crazy. So, for the second one we called up Aphra.’
For those of you that don’t know, there is a pre-Sunset Beach Hut, pop-punk era in their musical careers under the name ‘Don’t Forget’.
‘Aphra: It was such a bad band name
Matty: It was just one of those high school bands you know
Ben: Did you just say Don’t Forget was a bad band?
A: No the name, I said the name was bad!
B: It was a GREAT name
A: Everyone forgot the name; it was just kind of ironic
M: so we had that and that’s how we met Aphra in the first place, but yeah because she came from that pop punk background we weren’t sure how she’d feel about the indie sound because it’s all really, not very over-driven guitars, a lot of chorus.’
At this point I’m imagining a lot of heavy eyeliner and distorted guitar. However, unless you’re a die-hard Don’t Forget fan with live recordings etc., I guess we’ll never know.
Moving on swiftly, we spoke about the influences behind their latest tracks – ‘Comfort’ and ‘The Tide’.
‘I listen to a bit of everything. Song-wise, out of the two released, especially ‘The Tide’, we had a lot of influence from The Japanese House – we’re very much into The Japanese House. With the other track, Comfort, we’d been listening to a few sort of pop-y songs where you have an acoustic guitar in them and it made them sound quite full and they had these massive choruses after quite a reasonably chilled out verse. Other than that, we have Two Door Cinema Club who are a huge influence on us, St. Raymond, that sort of stuff.’
Would you say you find it difficult to establish yourself as a band in Shropshire?
‘It is quite difficult isn’t it, because there aren’t really any places to play apart from Albert’s Shed.’ Aphra tells us.
‘We don’t really play that much in Shropshire so we’ve not really got a niche Shropshire market because all of our gigs are more Birmingham way, it’s the most local place that has a decent music scene, that’s actually going off right now.’
Right they are, too. B-Town, Madlands, Brum Town. Whatever you call it, you know it’s currently thriving for local and established artists – not just indie. I touch on this more in my earlier article which can be found here.
Whilst on the topic of Birmingham shows, The Sunset Beach Hut have a string of shows coming up both in and out of the Madlands.
So you have a show coming up with Odmansbox, The Glitter Shop and Echo Beach!, are you looking forward to that?
‘Yeah really looking forward to that’
‘It should be interesting yeah’
‘He’s (Richard Morgan – Indie Midlands) been trying to organise something with us for a while now and this was the first opportunity he saw.’
Tickets for that show are available here.
Any other shows coming up?
‘We’ve got Peaness, we’re supporting them on the 24th April. Then we’ve got Liverpool on the 16th March at the Zanzibar. That’s a support slot but we don’t know who we’re supporting, we don’t know very much at all.’
Do you have any new songs to look forward to? Other than ‘Comfort’ and ‘The Tide’.
‘We do have a few new songs coming out hopefully soon but they’re more likely going to be a few months away, we’ve got some studio time booked with some people and then we also have my home studio at mine which we do recording in – it’s more just for demo’s it’s nothing incredible but we managed to get The Tide and Comfort done there.’
Is there one song that stands out from the rest, that you want to put out?
‘Upside Down’ for me is a big one, we’ve got a song called Upside Down which is on Youtube actually. There’s actually a pretty decently recorded live video of that. That’s a song I’m really looking forward to getting out because it’s just so different from The Tide or Comfort, it’s got trumpets in it, funky, it’s just quite upbeat, and when it’s played live it gets a really good vibe going. We’ve got another song quite similar to that, that I think we’re going to release with it.’
‘I feel like that every time we write a new song it’s always better than the last one’
‘and then you end up with a massive catalogue of songs and you’re like what do we do with them all’.
Tell me about the album art, what’s behind that?
‘basically, we were trying to find something for a while because we’ve had ‘Comfort’ for around 7 months, ready to release but we just hadn’t put it out there yet because something came up, we didn’t have time or suddenly we went ‘we need to remix this it’s not as great as we thought it was – let’s just change it round a bit, make it a bit bigger’, suddenly it got to like three weeks before we had to release it and we realised we didn’t have any art, what are we gonna do?! We were literally just scrolling through our phones and on our computers trying to find an image of anything and we wanted to relate to it and basically I found this image that I thought was really nice, of my Granddad and my aunt around something like 1962, just them in the snow and I just thought this is a really nice photo because it’s so family based’.
‘Then Aphra had the ingenious idea of ‘I feel this song’s pink’.
‘In my head it’s pink, it’s always been pink. I like assign colours to all our songs. Like, it’s pink, The Tide is blue, TDC is like an orange’.
Rounding off our chat, Ben informed me to ‘Be ready, man’. ‘It might not be for a while, it might be soon, it might be ages, just be ready.’