Ed-Beautiful South Dave Hemingway on the road with new band Sunbirds
On the back of it, they are on the road with dates including Worthing’s The Factory Live on Friday, October 20; Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms on Saturday, October 21; and Guildford’s The Boileroom on Monday, October 23.
“We recorded our first album just before the pandemic,” Dave says, “which was pretty bad timing. It meant we weren't able to go out and play the songs and promote them. You just had to put up with the pandemic. The album sounded great but it was just a bit frustrating. The pandemic was really strange but it was very strange for everyone.
" There's nothing we could do about it. It was just weird. But it was so great to get back into the studio again for the second album which is very different to the first. The second one was much more of a team effort. We are more of a band. On the first album I was a bit more pushed to the front.
"I was never happy with that anyway but with this one Laura has come to the fore more and sings a lot of the songs and our keyboard player does some as well so we are definitely much more of a band. It is just about people coming forward and working much more as a team. I've always thought that that's the best way for a band to work anyway. And the music also feels a bit different. This one is a bit more rocky. The first one was a little bit more laid back. This one is definitely more up front. I was really proud of the first album and I'm really proud of this one too but they're definitely different.”
For Dave, it’s great to be in a band producing new material again: “For about five years I was in a band called The South doing Beautiful South stuff but I wanted to do new music. They were not up for that and I've absolutely got nothing against them for that but I just wanted to new do some new songs and I suppose I thought that was that after that.”
But somehow Sunbirds evolved: “And it is great. It is like being back in a band for the first time again, playing very little venues again.” But there is also pressure, as Dave says. The point is that he really does feel the legacy of having been in two big bands, The Beautiful South and The Housemartins: “The new songs have got to be good enough. They've got to be up to the standard and that's really important. The songs have got to be up to scratch but I really do feel that we've done that. We really do sound like a new band even though we are knocking on a bit. But I mean the songs sound new and that's what matters.”
Oddly a number of those big bands from the past are coming out with new songs again, The Pretenders and Deacon Blue for instance: “It feels like that era that I was a part of is coming back.”
Might The Beautiful South? “That’s a 100 per cent definite no”, Dave says. “But I do feel very lucky to have been part of that band, a band that has stood the test of time. And I’m very proud of the heritage that I have from being in that band – which is why it is so important to me that these new songs are good. And they are!”