Perhaps appropriately given their fiery mythical namesake, Glaswegian rock duo Saint PHNX’s music can best be described as ‘explosive’. Since brothers and longtime musicians Alan and Stevie Jukes joined forces in 2016, the ferocious energy of their songs has propelled them to bigger and bigger stages, at home and abroad. They supported Imagine Dragons at their sold-out Camden Roundhouse show earlier this year, performed a set at Reading & Leeds Festival, and recently played to a packed house at Supersonic in Paris, France. Singles ‘Reload’, ‘Magic’, and ‘King’ have earned them a growing fanbase, and the latter even got its own worldwide Snapchat filter. It’s safe to say the pair are making waves – so we caught up with Stevie, the band’s lead vocalist, to discuss their whirlwind year.
How did you guys first start making music together?
Well, me and Al have been in other bands for a number of years, probably eight years, and then [we decided] we’d both like to start something new. And it was just sitting round one day making demos that we just wrote this song and looked at each other and thought ‘This is, this is something special’, so… We just wanted to start something new.
Yeah, that’s really cool. So, you two are brothers – I have two brothers and I cannot imagine working with them, I think they’d drive me crazy. Do you ever get on each other’s nerves [working together] or do you think that being family helps?
All the time. All the time. It’s kind of a love-hate thing because we are best friends as well, so sometimes you’re at each other’s throats, sometimes you’re best friends, so… I’m sure you know what it’s like, as you said! So sometimes it can be brilliant, sometimes it can be a bit tough.
Describe the process of writing your new single ‘Magic’.
Well, ‘Magic’ is about finding inspiration, finding something… magic, if you like [Laughs] – how it can appear out of nowhere. We were in a place where we were finding it quite hard and musically we were trying to do something different and trying to do something new, and it just wasn’t working. And then all of a sudden, just out of nowhere, you know… Basically the story’s about if you’re down a one-way street in your head and it’s like, that place [where] you don’t see a light [at the end of] the tunnel and then all of a sudden, out of magic, something good can happen. That’s what the idea’s about.
Saint PHNX is a relatively new project, but both of you have been playing in bands together for ages and ages. What are your early memories of performing live like?
Being absolutely rubbish – that’s probably the main memory. As you know obviously we’ve played in bands for a long time, we’ve played in all types of different places in front of two people, three people, you know… we’ve been through it all! … I got a drumkit when I was fifteen. And I used to just play cover songs all the time, up my mum and dad’s loft. And then after that I started playing guitar and bass, and then I gave Alan my drumkit and then he started to learn the drums, so the first memory was probably just… yeah, playing up the loft at my mum and dad’s.
What’s been your best experience performing live as Saint PHNX so far?
There’s been a couple. I would say that one of the best moments live was probably playing with Imagine Dragons in Camden. We played a show in Paris two weeks ago [as well] which was really great, the Paris crowd were nuts – that was probably one of them. But I’d probably say Imagine Dragons’ show was the best moment live, ‘cause three thousand people were there and they were very receptive… So probably that show.
What’s the main piece of advice you’d give to new musicians just starting out?
Just keep going and don’t take ‘No’ for an answer – that’s probably the biggest thing I could give to someone. First and foremost, make sure you’ve got the best songs you can write, and after that, just believe in what you’re doing. And just keep going, no matter what. And [you have] Spotify and YouTube and all these different tools you can use to promote yourself so embrace them and use them to their full potential and make as many fans as you can = that’s basically all you’ve got to do.
Thanks so much Stevie!
Watch the video for Saint PHNX’s single ‘Magic’ below:
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