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THE GLORIOUS SONS Young Beauties and Fools

Glorious Sons
Canadian rockers The Glorious Sons are touring Australia the for the first time ever with Brisbane prog legends Dead Letter Circus. The five-piece from Kingston, Ontario has become a household name in Canada, growing in popularity since their 2014 debut album The Union, with eight consecutive top-10 rock radio hits in the country. Now with their new album Young Beauties & Fools they’ve taken things to higher heights. They’ve expanded from their trademark southern rock style to pick up the 2018 Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year, gained massive international touring and festival spots and were even hand-picked by Mick Jagger to support the Rolling Stones in France later this month. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with lead singer Brett Emmons to get the story of their journey so far, putting vulnerability at the forefront in his new songs, and being tarred and feathered for their new video for hit single Everything is Alright.

You’re currently on your first ever trip to Australia touring with Dead Letter Circus. How has your time been here so far?

It’s been really great. They’re awesome guys and great musicians. I wasn’t all that sure how well we’d translate to their fan base but it’s been really well received. I think it shows when people love music they just love to see a band get onstage and show grit and heart no matter what kind of style it is. Obviously if we were a synth pop act maybe it wouldn’t come off, but we’re a rock and roll band so it goes pretty well.

You’ve been on a massive touring cycle so far this year. What have been the highlights of your travels in 2018?

Things have really opened up for us internationally since we released our new album Young Beauties and Fools in October. We’d never been out of North America before but when we released this one we got signed to a different bunch of labels around the world; in Germany, the UK, Australia, France and the States. We’ve been getting a lot of shows and been on the road pretty much since we released the album, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to end any time soon. I think our next break really won’t be until next year.

I saw you’d been selected to play with the Rolling Stones in France as well. That’s got to be pretty hard to beat!

I think that’s the biggest honour I’ve ever imagined having. It’s a real badge of honour for any musician really.

How did you hear the news and how do you deal with something as big as that?

I was laying in bed pretty hungover when I got a text from my manager asking me to call him, but I was just chilling and didn’t feel like it. He called and I didn’t answer and then he sent me a message that just said “Rolling fucking Stones!” So I gave him a ring and his words were “Who’s your guy?” and I was like “You are. What’s going on?” And it turned out we got an offer to open for the Rolling Stones in Marseille on June 26.

The thing is we grew up listening to the Stones. I know that sounds like something everybody would say, but we were really big fans. I’ve been to three of their gigs, my brother’s been to five or six and my mum’s been to ten or eleven. To hear as well that Mick Jagger actually oversees everything and decides what he thinks will fit, that’s a feather to put in your cap. We’ve won awards before and it never really affected me that much, but when we heard we were playing with the Rolling Stones, that was pretty big news.

You talked about how your new album opened up some doors for you internationally. Do you think that was something you consciously aimed to do, or thought about with a change in your style at all?

Well, as a band you’re constantly thinking about what you can do to progress anyway. It is a business after all. Also as a writer you want to speak to the biggest platform and to the most people possible. You want to change lives and connect with people but I wouldn’t say that when we were writing these songs we were thinking about how to become a global hit. It was more about just striving to get better.

I wrote the first album from the age of 18 to 21. I’m very proud of that album but I’ve had four more years after that to hone my craft and I’ve really worked on my writing. I wouldn’t say that it was like any conscious decision to be more broadly appealing, but it was a conscious decision to reach out and expand ourselves, write a different album and learn our craft a little more.

You’ve also said you wanted to be more of what a rock band in 2018 looks like, as opposed to your early stuff that might have leant more on the influences of some older music?

That was a personal thing for me. It occurred to me one day that rock and roll isn’t going to change the world if it sounds like it was made in the 1970s. It’s not going to be a relevant genre if it stays in a time capsule. I believe that things should always be progressing. Rock and roll isn’t necessarily about one thing, it’s a state of mind. Obviously you have these influences and those are impossible to get away from. Even in pop music, half of it these days sounds like it was made in the 1980s. We didn’t want to be compared to Lynyrd Skynyrd anymore. We didn’t just want to be a southern rock band.

And stepping outside the style of music, was there a particular theme or message you were trying to convey in the lyrics for the new album?

This album was about being vulnerable, being introspective and really trying to understand what was going on in my brain. I wrote a lot of it when I was I really hungover and it wasn’t really even me writing for an album per se, it was more just me trying to organise my thoughts and understand why I was acting how I was. Like why I was drinking six or seven nights a week, why I was behaving the way I was, why I was hurting people and trying to come to terms with that.

The album didn’t really have a worldly message. It wasn’t preachy or about my beliefs but for me it still advocates vulnerability and honesty, and in that sense it is reaching out to millions of people who are in the exact same position. At 25 years old you’re still learning a lot about yourself and this world is overwhelmed with information and there’s so many things going on. It’s a confusing time to be alive and I wanted to portray that anxiety and reach out to people.

Speaking of being vulnerable, your video clip for Everything is Alright sees you getting covered in tomatoes, paint, feathers and more. Am I right in guessing¬†maybe that wasn’t your idea and one of the others suggested it for you?

Actually it was kind of my idea. We wanted to use some slow motion where things were happening around me for this clip. Somebody came up with idea of paint flying through the air and I thought to myself, “What is this song about and how do I fit that into a video?” It occurred to me that people used to get tarred and feathered in the medieval times and we kind of rolled with that idea. People got to throw tomatoes at me and pour paint on me and fuck me up a little bit, but it was fine.

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