It’s early evening and raining like hell outside. Sophie (vocals) and The Giants, made up Chris Hill (drums), Antonia Pooles (bass) and Toby Holmes (guitar) are gathered round a small wooden table, surrounded by hummus, pitta, and Doritos. You would think that it’s just another night of hanging out as friends for the upcoming indie stars, instead of the first night of their well-awaited UK tour.
“We’ve just been playing in Europe for a while, which has been amazing. We were so sad to leave!” Sophie smiles. “It’s still insane that we’ve gone from selling 10 tickets last time we played over there to where we are now.” “It was wicked,” chimes in Chris, “There’s not much I can say other than it was crazy.” There’s no denying that the groups growth has been massive. 2019 has seen the group reach new heights, selling out their Europe tour, playing major festivals such as Reading and Leeds, and gaining over 10 million streams from their debut EP ‘Adolescence’ which released last year. But as they start their set, it’s not hard to see why audiences have been so captivated with the young band. The group have the talent of instantly electrifying a room with their energy, and as they begin their set with a crowd favourite ‘Waste My Air’, the room seemed to transform with them, a testament to the bands abilities to perform.
Though deserved, the groups success has been fairly rapid, only forming while at University a few years prior. “We all randomly slipped together, so there’s not much of a story.” Sophie laughs. “Me and Toby were on a course together, I’d known Chris for ages, and thought he was a nutter, and we all knew Antonia from her other band that we were all obsessed with. She joined a few months ago.” “The nice thing about it is tour can get so stressful, but we all known and support each other so there’s no issues,” Toby adds, with Antonia visibly agreeing, “I mean that’s why we all went to uni, to meet like-minded people and play with them.” she says, thoughtfully. To say the group are ‘like-minded’ is an understatement. The band seem almost connected on stage, dancing with each other as much as the crowd. It’s touching to see a group who are clearly friends first, but the group don’t blame their success on just how well they play together. “I think the best thing we did for the band is move somewhere completely new where we didn’t know anyone.” admits Alice. “You just get too comfortable. If you get really big in the college community, you get too obsessed with the massive student crowds and never play anywhere else. That’s why it was so important for us to start from scratch and move somewhere completely new.” The band seem to agree. “We called it ‘The Guilford Bubble’,” Chris explains. “You’ll play the same few venues, and become afraid to perform anywhere else. When we were in Guilford, we played the same venue four times in a row! So, we used it as a chance to see what we could improve on, before going and starting anew,” he pauses. “For the first couple of shows it’s brutal. We’ve played to crowds of three people before. But it’s worth it, because it’s an experience.” The bands relocation to Sheffield has seemed to certainly benefit the band, with Reverend & The Makers frontman Jon McClure becoming the unofficial mentor of the group after the move. “Moving to Sheffield and meeting Jon has massively impacted our work.” Sophie smiles, “I write with him a lot, and he’s become a kind of mentor for us. He’s taught us to be real really, and make the time of music we want to! It made us stick to our guns. And the fact he’s a massive icon there, and is hanging out with us is mental!”
The night continues with an unexpected yet welcomed cover of ‘Cupid’s Chokehold’, which allows softer side of the bands sound. However, this quieter energy doesn’t last long, with the group following the more relaxed cover with maybe their most passionate song ‘Bulldog’, a track that like most, is based of Sophie’s own experiences. “If I see something happening that annoys me, or someone in the band going through something that upsets me, I’ll write about it. It makes it amazing to play as well, because you can absolutely unleash your feelings,” she says excitedly. The emotion provided in the track help Sophie’s voice to shine, belting out the toughest of notes with ease, all while still managing to jump around with the crowd. It’s a certain skill of her song-writing to pack her tracks with feeling, with the singer feeling comfortable with her seeming lack of song-writing routine. “Who influences me when I’m writing massively depends on who I’m listening to at the time, but in terms of a process, I don’t really have one. I like working with a lot of different people when I write, so it’s nice to learn something different from each of them. It means that the writing will changes every time, and I think it’s good to be adaptable. It can be really restricting when you stick to one method, because if you reach a block you won’t know how to get out of it. But if you can write in every single circumstance, you find ways to push songs out of nothing!”
The bands riotous performance continues until the end of the night, where they unleash the arguable highlight of the set ‘Break the Silence’. It’s the most recent release for the group, and a track that roots itself in today’s issues. “There’s just so much shit going on right now isn’t there!” Sophie exclaims when asked what was behind the song. “I was just so sick of it, so I wanted to write something that could actually have an impact. I think often people can be shy to speak out about things they care about, so the whole message was really ‘shout until your heard’. Sort of representing what we’re trying to do now really, make ourselves heard in an over-saturated industry.” It’s the song that seems to have most impact on the crowd, who seem to engage with the message of the song from the start, singing the lyrics back to the band, matching the wild dancing of the performers. It’s an unforgettable start to the groups tour, but the band are already looking to do more. “We don’t know what exactly we’re doing yet, but we have lots of plans.” Chris laughs “There’s stuff in the books though, so keep your eyes peeled. There is music very soon though.” The band smile at each other knowingly. “Yeah, very soon!” They all agree.
You can check out the groups debut EP ‘Adolescence’ here.