Interview: St. Buryan

Newcastle five-piece St. Buryan released its latest single, “Giving In”, on Friday, February 8. The track is thrilling and packs a bit of a punch with a heavier sound than the band’s previous work, though it is still familiar. It’s the first of three singles to be released under Sound-Hub Records, and we got the chance to ask drummer Rhys Melhuish a few questions about this single, the next two and touring.

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Photo courtesy of Will Gorman.

Indientry: When your band formed back in 2013, you were all kind of spread across the country for school. How did you overcome that?

Rhys (St. Buryan): We just did what we could in the (albeit limited) time we did have together back up in the North East. We tried to write and rehearse a lot over the holiday periods, for example. It’s strange in a way, because as much as the time spent in different cities slowed our progress quite a bit, I think it’s helped us out long-term. Ben and Nathan studied music courses in Leeds which has helped them as musicians massively, especially on the production side of things. I was studying Journalism in Sunderland, focussing a lot on social media, PR, stuff like that, which has also given me some useful skills/tools to bring to the band.

Where do you guys draw your musical inspiration?

As a unit, I like to describe our sound as a blend of pop-punk and indie-rock. Individually, we all have different music tastes which we try and bring together in our individual styles on our instruments. I can’t really say there’s any particular artists that St. Buryan, as a whole, try and work from.

What artists are you listening to most right now? Did you have any notable favorite records of 2018?

The 1975’s new album is immense, as plenty have said. I’m also listening a lot to Busted’s new album Half Way There. They were my favourite band as a kid, and to see them back together now is great, haha! But aside from the nostalgic side of things, the album is really, really good. Reunion and MIA, in particular. Oof.

I spend a lot of time listening to other artists in the North East, and that pretty much dominated the music I listened to throughout 2018. Notable favourite tracks would be ‘Loveless’ by The Pale White, ‘Dead Boys’ by Sam Fender, ‘Hectoring’ by Ghost//Signals and ‘Go Get Her, Go Getter’ by Llovers.

Follow-up: If you could perform with any two artists, living or dead, who would you choose and why?

Personally, I’d say Little Comets would have to be one. They’re another who came from the North East, and flew the flag for emerging musicians in the region for so long. I’d argue that they’re my favourite band of all time, so if we ever had the chance to share a stage with them, I’d probably wee. On a slightly larger scale? I’d probably say someone like Panic! At the Disco. I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like.

Though your discography primarily consists of singles, your sound on this new single is impressively mature and a little heavier. What do you think changed?

Thank you! Our previous releases were all very DIY. Self-produced, self-recorded and apart from “Forget To Love” were self-mixed and mastered too. “Giving In” has been produced, mixed and mastered by Tom and Barrington at Sound-Hub, who we signed with last year. They really know their stuff, and it shows. The new tracks sound huge!

Our early material was quite heavy, and then we drifted into indie-pop territory, and now we’re on our way back to the heavier/indie-rock side of things. We try to make sure that each record/single we bring out is a little bit different. It’s fun to keep people guessing!

Can you tell me about the inspiration and process for “Giving In”?

Lyrically, I’d say it’s about getting to a stage in your life when/where you realize that everything around you is just a little bit broken and/or lost. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, even from a young age, there’ll be others around you that will do better than you without working, trying, or even appreciating it. The song looks into the frustrations and coping mechanisms that feeling can bring out in someone.

We didn’t intend to record this song as quickly as we did. Once we’d finished piecing the track together, we performed it live for the first time a few days later. It was a little bit shaky, but still went down really well. It was the one track everyone was talking to us about afterwards. It’s got a great riff, and fantastic energy behind it. I’m really excited to release it!

I know that “Giving In” is the first of three singles to come. Can you tell me anything about the next two?

As you’ll expect, I don’t want to give too much away about the next two. But I will say that they’re both live favourites that we’ve had in our set for about a year or so. I’m hoping those that have seen us before will be excited to finally have them both available on record.

You have a few spring tour dates coming up. What are you most excited for regarding touring and playing outside of the North East UK?

I’m really, really excited to play outside of the North East. It’s something we’ve needed to do for a long time. The artists we’re playing with and the venues we’re playing at are all fantastic, so the shows are going to be ones to remember, for sure. I’m just excited to travel with the guys too, they’re some of my best mates, so any time we spend together is time I’m looking forward to!

What’s next for you? Do you have any exciting shows coming up other than the spring dates?

There’s a few that are in the works, but aren’t really close to being confirmed yet. Ideally, we’d like another two or three shows outside of the North East before we come back for our big hometown headline show in April. We’ll see what opportunities come up, hopefully they’ll be just as exciting as everything else that’s going on!

Is there anything else about St. Buryan that you think is important for readers to know?

We know our limitations. We’re just a group of five best mates that decided to try writing some original music together, and it’s taken us here, and it could take us a little further. In that sense, it means that every single ounce of support that we’re offered from fans, listeners, readers, all of it, we’re all ridiculously grateful for it. Even from yourself for this very interview, Abby! It all genuinely means the world to us.

Check out St. Buryan’s single, “Giving In”, below:

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