For our fourth and final interview in a short series with artists appearing at this British Country Music Festival in Blackpool, we caught up with Liverpool-based band Motel Sundown. They tell us about the recent release of their debut album, what it’s been like to perform live again, and some of the female country artists they’d love to write with.
We last spoke to you during the first lockdown back in 2020. What has life been like for the band since?
It’s safe to say we’ve been extremely busy since then! We’ve released our debut album, ‘If You Were Listening’, a music video for the lead single, ‘Brake Lights’, and we’ve recently started our UK tour! We also had our album launch at Jimmy’s, Liverpool, in July which was really fun.
We’ve also been busy writing new songs for our next album and we’ve been enjoying working on the demos together.
How has it felt being able to perform live again after so long?
It’s been really good fun as we’ve been enjoying playing with our full band. We’ve got piano, drums and bass along with our original set-up of the two acoustics and electric guitar, so it’s fun being able to switch between the two set-ups depending on the gig. Also, playing the album songs live with a band has been an interesting process as we can stretch out and reimagine the recordings. It’s been a process of refinement and discovery.
You’ve recently released your debut album ‘If You Were Listening’. What has the reaction to it been like so far?
It’s been great! We’ve really enjoyed the whole process. We released the album onto 12” vinyl as well and we’ve been selling those online and at our gigs which has been a nice way to interact with people. We’ve had some lovely reviews, but it really means something when people go out of their way to tell us they’re enjoying the specific parts of the album – that makes it all worthwhile.
For anyone who hasn’t listened to it yet, how would you describe the sound/concept of the album?
It can be described as a combination of Americana, folk-rock and, jokingly, we sometimes call it Prog-Country. Conceptually, our sound is quite consistent (we have little tricks we use with layered acoustics and 12 strings that we have developed over time) so it ties together quite disparate songwriting and genres.
You’re due to play at the British Country Music Festival in Blackpool in September. How excited are you to be on the bill, and why do you think country music has become so popular in the UK in recent years?
We’ve had this in our calendars for quite a while so were really looking forward to it now its only a week away! The Country events are always really welcoming, well organised and good fun. We’ve also just been asked to play in a round set up by Laura Oakes on the Saturday, so we’re really looking forward to that. It’s at 2.20pm just before our set.
It seems as though Country music has become more mainstream in recent years, and a lot more artists have experimented with Country sounds in their music, however subtly, so that might be part of the reason why it’s become so popular.
Finally, if you could pick one female Country/Folk/Americana artist to write a song with, who would it be and why?
Of course, we’d never turn down a writing session with Dolly! but some of our favourites would be Brandi Carlile and Gillian Welch.
Originally conducted for and published on Belles & Gals on September 4th 2022.