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Under the skin of Sunshine Underground

What has been the highlight of your summer so far?

We've been quite quiet this summer; we've only played about 5 or 6 gigs in total from the start to the end of the summer. Just been indoors writing our new record, which will be finished by the end of the summer so we haven't really been as active as normal. Playing any gigs at the moment is a nice break from writing in the studio. Anything that gets us out and about has been a highlight so far.

Since your bass player left earlier this year do you think you're still the same Sunshine Underground as you were before?

I think it was already starting to change before he left. We made a decision that with our third record we were going to do something quite different to what we had done before. We had a different way of writing songs, we used to do everything as a four in a room and come up with stuff and for this new record we've decided to change the way we write songs. We're almost going the other way around, writing the songs at home and then working out how to play them for when we do them live. It's been an interesting process. It's now sort of a three-piece writing machine.

What can we expect from your third album?

It's kind of a lot more electronic, much more of a produced dance record really. We always hinted at making a dance record but we were always a band first and foremost. It's quite different. We've always kept changing our old songs. Some of the songs we've been playing are about eight years old and to keep them interesting we've been doing extended remixes so I think live sounds quite different to how it does on record. It's really high energy.

You played Snowbombing festival in Austria this year as well as a few smaller UK festivals. How do they compare?

They're all so different really you don't know what you're getting, apart from with Snowbombing we had played once before a few years ago. That was quite a big one but we've played so many festivals up till now that we have no idea what each one is going to be like we just have to go for it. We like playing small festivals as well as big ones. Sometimes smaller festivals are harder work. Sometimes it seems the more people you play in front of the easier it gets. If you play to a sea of people I find it quite easy. I can't just sing in front of one person in a room, I cant do that but I could quite easily do it in front of thousands of people. I don't know what that is.

You've toured with loads of bands over the years, LCD Soundsystem and The Klaxons to name a few. Do you keep in touch with the bands you tour with?

We've been doing a club night up in Leeds over the past couple of years and we've had some guests with us there. We're old mates with people like The Maccabees and people like that who came out at the same time as us and festivals are good because it's the only time of year we get to see other bands. I saw The Klaxons for the first time in probably two years at Reading and Leeds festival last year, they were just kind of hanging out there. It's cool that get to see people that we used to hang out with. But this year we've literally been stuck indoors writing the album but we're getting to the end of it now. It's going to be nice to get out and start playing a lot more. We're not sure of plans for our next tour yet, they gave us until the end of September but it's coming around really quick.

What's your favourite thing about festivals?

Well I've gone to a fair few festivals in my time, probably just the atmosphere. Everyone's in the right frame of mind and especially when it gets three days in and everyone's covered in mud and hungover everyone's kind of in the same boat. It's the one time when everyone comes together.

IAStival held a battle of the bands competition for new unsigned bands. How did The Sunshine Underground start out?

We moved up to Leeds about 8 years ago and we luckily started meeting promoters that were really good. And it was at the start of when Leeds was beginning to get recognised for its music scene. We did play quite a few gigs, we played the same pub in Leeds pretty much weekly for 6 months. That's the kind of stuff that we did. I remember there was a thing we did at In The City in Manchester which was really, really early on way before we had a deal. That kind of felt like the first break that we had.

Have you got any advice for new unsigned bands?

I think you have to learn things by yourself really. Just have to keep doing what you want to do and not let too many people interfere. As long as your really into it and doesn't become to much of a chore and you don't feel like your compromising too much that's what you want.

What are your best festival memories?

I just sorted out some Leeds festival tickets actually because it's really close to my house. I realised it's my eleventh year that I've been going and it makes me feel really old but we've always been going with the same bunch of mates. Its hard to have one particular memory because they all sort of turn into one blur, but they're always really good fun. They're kind of what the summers all about.

So will you be slumming it in the Leeds festival campsite this year?

Maybe! It's so near to my house it's ridiculous I might have to do that posh festival thing and when it gets to about 2 in the morning I'll be like right I'm going home. Definitely going to make the most of the festivals that are left, they've all sort of gone really, only a few left now.

What have you got planned for after the festival season?

We've been writing and demoing a lot but it's coming to the end of that now I think after the festivals we'll be getting into the studio for a month and making the record properly, then hopefully on the road by the end of the year.

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Sometimes smaller festivals are harder work. Sometimes it seems the more people you play in front of the easier it gets.
This summer has been very fruitful for me, and many moments of warmth will remain in my memory forever and will bring me warm memories.

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