SATURN Sundown, a five-piece pop rock band, have beaten off massive competition to be selected as one of four artists, chosen from over 90 applicants, to reach the final of Chordblossom’s Kickstart 2016.
Hailing from the North Antrim coast, the band is made up of former school friends – four of whom house-share in Belfast – Vocalist Charlie Gibson, Lead Guitarist Carl Quinn, Conor McQuillan on synth, Gareth Stewart on Bass Guitar, and Daniel Egerton on drums.
The five left school and went on to pursue different interests, including writing, cinematography, and architecture. Lead singer Charlie Gibson, 24, said: “In our time apart, music has pulled us through everything from break-ups to dissertations. We’d played together on different projects as teenagers, and when we all found ourselves living in the same city, it felt right to make music again.”
When 24-year old Gareth Stewart returned from University in Manchester, he moved to Belfast. “I moved into the dirtiest house on the planet with the biggest legends you’ll ever meet, who excel at producing amazing music, yet can’t wash a single plate.
“We’re best mates,” said Lead Guitarist Carl Quinn, the driving force behind Saturn Sundown, “and we hang out together every day”.
“We all have our wee quirks; Charlie, our vocalist, will spend £30 on a bottle of shampoo, but run about in the same R2D2 hoody for three weeks. Edgy (Daniel) acts like he’s sixty. His daily routine contains a game of chess and Countdown at five, but you wouldn’t know it from his style of drumming. Conor leaves toenails everywhere; he wants you to look down the side of his sofa for something, but you’re scared to in case you find a toenail. Gary (Gareth) is the pretty one; he only ever talks about three things; girls, clothes, and gains. And me, I say I’m on a diet, but the Chip-co know me on a first name basis.”
The banter between the band members comes easy, “Carl always leaves his boxers in the shower,” says Gareth, “every time he’s in there.” Carl retaliates, saying “Gary has a £1 moisturiser he thinks makes you look glorious if you apply it to your bottom eyelid every morning.”
It isn’t always smooth sailing, with four of the band members living in the same house, tensions can arise. “Every morning I wake up and the first thing I see is Gary sitting at my Mac,” said Carl.
“All you can hear is the wee clicking noise from the keyboard, and I’m not in the mood. I just ask him to pass the smokes, but he’s far too enthusiastic and I’m not even acquainted with the day. So, I shout at him, he shouts back, and we fall out for four minutes until I ask him for a lighter.”
“We share a love for creating and just having a good time,” said Gareth. “We love life, and we bring that energy into our music.”
Saturn Sundown’s debut EP, One Fight at a Time, is due for release on March 21.
Charlie said they hope to create a snowball effect, and keep the momentum going they have enjoyed in their early months.
“We’ve the potential to go far and produce a lot of great music,” he said. “I might even get to give my Ma a CD – that was the whole reason I got into music; she’s at me every Christmas”.
Saturn Sundown are one of four bands selected by a panel of local music industry experts, to play in Chordblossom’s Final Showcase of their Kickstart 2016 competition. “We’re overwhelmed,” said Carl.
“Now it’s time to knuckle down and make sure we wow people with our performance.” The annual contest aims to give musicians and bands from Northern Ireland a platform to reach a wider audience, and boasts a package of stellar prizes, including recording a single and music video, a festival slot, artwork and much more.
Chordblossom’s editor, Robert Brown added: “This year’s competition featured some of the best entries we have ever had, so our team of contributors – as well as the independent panel of judges – really struggled to narrow them down to just four. The finalists should be very proud to have made it this far and we encourage everyone to come down to the showcase event and support Northern Irish music.”
Saturn Sundown and other finalists Ink Spelt Death, Brand New Friend, and Dandelion Tea play in the Final Showcase at The Eglantine Bar, Belfast on Thursday March 10, at 9pm.