Happy Place is out now!
Image: Alexander Kenny.
Alt-pop brother duo SAINT PHNX have treated us all with the release of their long-awaited debut EP, Happy Place. We caught up with the duo to chat about the release, their podcast, touring and more!
Across the EP, the brothers document the final six months of their fathers life, with the release serving as a tribute to their late father. Bursting with emotion and storytelling lyricism, SAINT PHNX offer up intimate and introspective moments that explores the loneliness found in grief, whilst also sending a message of hope and the reminder to celebrate our loved ones.
Alongside the release, the duo shared an official visual for Angel, directed by Alexander Kenny. The brothers are also set to hit the road across Europe, kicking off in Switzerland later this month. Whilst no Australian dates have been announced, the duo shared with MILKY they hope to visit our shores in the near future.
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music…
Stevie started out playing drums so we were lucky enough to have a kit in our house growing up. He then moved onto guitar and I then started to mess around on the kit when he wasn’t home. We then started bands with other friends playing small gigs in Scotland. We also played in a previous band together for a number of years and we decided to try something different. And that has lead us here as Saint PHNX.
Congratulations on the release of your debut EP, Happy Place. You’ve been releasing music since 2016, how do you think your approach to songwriting and sonic sound has evolved into what we hear on Happy Place?
We always try and write anthemic music that tries to uplift our audience. We also have to be real and honest when it comes to our songwriting. In 2020 during the pandemic we were writing an album with a completely different sonic. Late in 2020 our dad's condition got worse and he was taken into hospital on Christmas night. We then wrote Happy Place. Something that came very quick but also was so hard to write as we knew our Dad was dying.
Could you walk us through the conceptual nature of the EP and the themes woven within the collection of songs?
Our new E.P is a collection of songs about the last 6 months of our Dad's life. It takes you on a journey of how he was feeling and how we were feeling during that time. It's a tribute to him. Happy Place is the song that kicked everything off. Angel is the song that we wrote the day after our Dads funeral about saying our last goodbyes. Invisible is about how he was feeling at the time as he was trapped and feeling alone. Blue Feather tells the story of the artwork and what the symbol means to us. We want to make our wee mum proud and we hope everyone likes it.
What do you think was the most important thing you learnt whilst creating the Happy Place?
We learnt that the best form of songwriting is to be honest with yourself and pour our emotions into music. It was and still is very therapeutic for us and helped us through a very difficult time in our lives.
You’ve shared some great visuals alongside the EP. What is your process when it comes to conceptualising the music videos and imagery, and how involved are you with the development of the visuals?
We brainstormed a few things on what we were feeling and it just came naturally to us. Our family had been going through an emotional war. From that we were able to buy jackets etc from ebay and try a few different press shots to see what would work. It was just perfect the way everything turned out. We are very DIY as artists go but to have the help from an amazing team from Atlantic records and management just elevates what we want to achieve.
Which song off the EP would you play to someone, who had never heard your music, to make them an instant fan?
Place. Regardless of what someone is going through, I think Happy Place is very relatable to most. It is a sad song but very uplifting at the same time.
Are there any tracks that didn’t make the final cut that you think may have a life of its own further in the future?
We have a full other album written which a few songs could have appeared on the E.P but we will save them for later in the year.
If Happy Place was a piece of pre-existing visual art, which artwork would it be?
No idea! There is probably a picture that fits perfectly in the deepest part of the world. Hopefully we see it soon and can let you know.
What’s one line from the EP you find at times can be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
“Tear in my heart and a tear in my eye, I hope that i see you again one more time.”
You recently launched the It's Great To See You podcast. What prompted you to undertake this new project and medium?
We always find ourselves talking complete and utter nonsense. Each time one of us will usually say- “ I wish we had filmed that conversation.”
Its something we like to do for some extra content.
Who is your ultimate dream guest to have on the show and why?
It’s our favourite Glasgow Rangers player of all time. The one and only Ally McCoist. He is someone we looked up to when we were younger and he also sent us a very kind personal video to our dad when he was in hospital.
Glasgow has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite local acts you think everyone should be listening to?
There is an artist not far from where we live called Ghostboy. We think he has something special and will go on to do big things.
You’ll be hitting the road soon around the UK, what can audiences expect from a SAINT PHNX live show? Hopefully we’ll catch you on Australian stages in the near future!
Our brother lives in Melbourne so hopefully we will be on tour there very soon or play some festivals. It’s always been a dream of ours to play there. Our shows are usually very raw and sweaty haha. But definitely amazing fun!
You’ve toured alongside YUNGBLUD, Lewis Capaldi and Imagine Dragons and played a number of festivals and shows worldwide. How have you experiences on the road so far shaped how you approach performing live?
We have been lucky to tour with some of the biggest and best acts. They have helped us greatly and have shown us what it takes to be a big live act.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Honest brotherly love.
Best song of 2021?
Seventeen Going Under by Sam Fender.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Billy Ray Cyrus.
What was the first song you loved to sing?
The Eagles - Take It Easy.
A song you would love to cover on tour?
A Bruce Spingsteen song.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
First concert you went to?
Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Best concert you have been to?
The Killers at King Tuts in Glasgow.
First album you ever bought?
Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Guilty music pleasure?
If you could tour with any artist, who would it be?
Twenty One Pilots.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Family is everything.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
After our first show.
Happy Place is out now!