ACL Interview: Sarah and the Sundays talk first festival, gas station orders, more

Indie-group Sarah and the Sundays pose with Lariat Arts and Life Editor, Erianne Lewis, after their interview.

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

Gathered under a white tent in the press lounge of Austin City Limits, the members of the band, Sarah and the Sundays, patiently waited for me to approach them about our 12:30 p.m. interview only hours before their ACL 2022 debut.

The Austin-based band includes lead vocalist and guitarist Liam Yorgensen, guitarist and keyboard player Miles Reynolds, bassist Declan Chill, drummer Quinn Lane and vocalist and guitarist Brenden Whyburn. I talked to the band about their first festival performance, creative process and their surprising gas station must-haves.

“How are y’all feeling about performing at ACL?”

*Collective cheers from the band.*

Liam: “My mom asked me last night, ‘Are you excited or nervous for ACL?’ I said ‘Yeah.’”

Declan: “Anxious … I just want to do it. The wait is what’s killing me. I’m not nervous about the actual playing of it all, just the buildup.”

Quinn: “That’s how I feel, yeah. It hasn’t really quite fully hit me yet, but I’m sure it will as soon as I’m on the stage and seeing people.”

Brenden: “I’m ready, I’m waiting for it. Today I’m like here in the zone, sipping a coffee, you know.”

Miles: “I have no idea what to expect, but I’m just kind of excited for whatever happens.”

This performance will be the band’s first festival performance and their return to the stage since their 51-show tour, “The Living End,” concluded at the end of July.

“Do y’all have any artists in particular that you want to see?”

Declan: “I want to see Omar Apollo, definitely.”

Brenden: “I usually just wander around and see most of the people I aim to. Tomorrow there’s The Ventures, and that’s going to be a really cool show to see live.”

Liam: “Spoon on Sunday, I’m excited for that.”

Declan: “The [Red Hot] Chili Peppers.”

“What songs are y’all most excited to play today?”

Brenden: Pulling Teeth is like a big hitter for us. I think we really give it everything we’ve got at the end. It’s a good release, so we usually try to save it for the end of the set.”

Miles: “We’ve recently released two new songs on our deluxe album, and those have always been pretty fun to play, even though they are a bit new.”

Declan: “It’s more of a personal reason, but our song Vices, I play slap bass on. So, it’s always fun.”

“What is your gas station order?”

*Laughter ensues*

Declan: “That is a great question.”

Brenden: “Declan can answer for all of us. Well, that depends on what time of day.”

Me: “That’s up to y’all.”

Declan: “Okay we are going in the evening. So, Brenden wants a six-pack of Voodoo Ranger and some hot Funyuns. Quinn wants a Twisted Tea or a six-pack of tall boy Lone Stars and usually maybe like some bagel pizza bites, Tostitos. Miles wants probably a bottle of wine or a tall boy Modelo — I feel like he usually doesn’t get snacks, just that. Liam’s a big, if they have it, Baja Blast, if they don’t, he’ll go for a Pepsi or Coke. Dr Pepper, if he’s feeling himself. You’ll [Liam] go wild, you’ll get anything from Hi-Chews to Doritos. There’s an isle in our local 7/11 that has all the candy, and Liam spends a lot of time in there.”

Brenden: “Liam’s a snacker.”

Liam: “Yeah, I’m a snacker. I’ll spend like five to 10 minutes in that isle like, ‘there’s just too many of you.’”

Declan: “I get wine and probably like a pint of ice cream.”

Me: “What kind?”

Declan: “It depends how I’m feeling. It’s always Bluebell, but it’s like, do I want something like cotton candy vibes or do I want like chocolate?”

“Did tour change any aspects of you musically or personally?”

Miles: “I feel like confidence on stage is a big one. Before that [tour], we were playing a show like every five months or so. There isn’t enough repetition to build slowly overtime. So, playing every night or every other night, gives you a foundation to keep pushing, getting better, changing stuff. I think this year, Liam said like 51 shows, so that was just like kind of a blessing to really work everything out, get the songs better, get the set better, just get more confident on stage.”

“Have y’all been working on any new projects?”

Liam: “We’re renting a house up North, from January to April, to kind of bunker down and write our next record. Right now, it’s just sort of formative ideas and basic direction, kind of figuring all that stuff out. Then we’ll go up there and do our thing and get real focused on that.”

“Who or what do y’all look to for inspiration?”

Miles: “For me, it’s like a bunch of random stuff. It’ll be like one song I found that I really like one thing in it, it could be anything. That kind of thing just makes me want to play and kind of learn that.”

Brenden: “Seeing live shows, definitely living in Austin and being able to see a show every night, it is huge. Seeing the way other people present themselves on stage, inspiration definitely comes from everywhere.”

Declan: “We generally want our performance and style to be unique to us, but I think a lot of that, is drawing elements from like … we’ll watch the Grammy’s, and you’ll see Silk Sonic perform, and just like the dynamics, the way the song builds and that type of thing.”

Quinn: “I’ve personally kind of found myself to find a lot of inspiration in YouTube drummers. Any one I can find on YouTube that’s just like insanely good and has no right to be doing that on a drum set. I’ll just watch videos of that all day.”

“Where do y’all see yourselves in the next few years?”

Brenden: “Tahiti.”

*The group laughs*

Liam: “We don’t really know. I mean it’s hard, we’ve been figuring out moving … it’s hard to say with touring and stuff, because so much of that is so uncertain until it’s certain.”

Brenden: “We’re on a month-by-month basis.”

Liam: “We’re just living, we just want to do the music. Couple years hopefully we’re still making music, sufficing off that, enjoying ourselves, you know innovating.’”

Declan: “I feel like just still being excited. You know you hear a lot of stories about people just kind of getting lost in the business of it all and it’s important to know the business part of it, but it’s also important to keep some of that youth … At the end of the day just staying true to ourselves and not being callous about the whole thing.”

“Do y’all want to add anything that I didn’t ask about?”

Brenden: “We’ve got a good cat named Bug, shout out Bug.”

Miles: “She couldn’t make it today, but we told her we’d shout her out.”

Brenden: “She’s holding down the fort.”

Miles: “She’ll be listening, we’ll play her the recording.”