"Just on record, I love the Jonas Brothers." -Al Jukes (2019)
This past week, we got to know the Scottish band Saint PHNX. At their first ever Nashville show, we spent the day with the brothers to find out more about the band, who they are, and a lot more. We started the day off with soundcheck, which goes as swimmingly as it sounds. We hadn’t listened to the band until after we saw them in Atlanta, so now we could sing along with soundcheck cause we finally learned a few songs (long overdue). The venue was also very interesting because on top of it’s 500 capacity music venue, it was also a Top Golf. Sounds fun, and it definitely was. Apparently it’s also dangerous considering the headliner, Yungblud, accidentally hit one of the touring crew over the head with a club. Let’s just say, there was a decent amount of blood.
Post soundcheck and the head injury, we headed to the Top Golf artist area for Stevie & Al to hit a few balls. We’ve never payed golf (I’m GREAT at mini golf), and they kept trying to get us to hit a few. As you probably guessed by the lack of embarrassing evidence on social media, we didn’t. After a few puts, we sat down for a little chat. We definitely looked heavily into the band before this and discovered, there weren’t a whole lot of background information. So I asked for a quick background story, which started off great as Stevie introduced himself as “Hi, I’m Al.” Al then introduced himself (the real Al) and then Stevie. Stevie continued to add that they together are Saint PHNX from Scotland. They are brothers that have played in bands together for years, and then finally came the perfect opportunity for the to start their own band together, just the two of them. And then as Stevie said, “The rest is history.”
Obviously, anyone who has a sibling knows that siblings fight. So I think the obvious question was what’s it like being in a band with your brother? Are there any problems? Cause that’s definitely gotta be a lot. Al gave us a very sarcastic no, so I then argued the Jonas Brothers loved working together too and then they broke up for 6 years. “Just on record, I love the Jonas Brothers” Al added. Then Stevie informed us they did have a third brother, but he didn’t make the cut. Just kidding - he lives in Australia and has a job he loves. Stevie told us that as brothers they do love each other and can hate each other, but at the end of the day they’re best friends. They both agreed it’s easier to get each other and talk to one another as siblings so it definitely proves itself to be more helpful than challenging at the end of the day.
If you’ve seen Saint PHNX play or have seen a video, you may have noticed that onstage it isn’t just Al and Stevie either. The mysterious man playing guitar my friends is John Cargill (or Johnny Bones as they called him). Stevie used to sing and play guitar, but they felt like there was an element missing from the live show with Stevie being a frontman stuck behind a mic and guitar. So they called Johnny up through a mutual friend, “and ever since he’s done that, it’s been amazing” Stevie stated. Unfortunately, Johnny won’t be becoming a permanent member of Saint PHNX any time soon as the heart of the band is the two brothers, “but live, John is a massive part of that.”
We had also found out that this is their first full US tour. They’ve played in a few major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and even played SXSW this year. But this was their first proper, cross country US tour. Obviously, crowds are going to be different across the pond compared to here. “We did a tour around Europe with Arizona and the crowds were great, but the crowds here are just … everyone’s just so up up for it. The energy, the vibe, it’s amazing.” Apparently for the Atlanta show, the first show of the tour, kids had started lining up at about 2am for the concert. “It’s insane … It opened our eyes to how serious you guys take music, which is amazing.” The band is definitely playing to a bunch of fresh faces, but apparently the crowds have been unbelievably welcoming to the guys. “The social engagement has been insane. People say we’re their brand new favorite band. So far it’s been a dream come true.” We even talked about fans getting things like their logo tattooed on them and Al has requested, “Hopefully more people do it.”
We also noticed that the Saint PHNX team is very small, or as they said “we pretty much travel light.” Their current crew on this tour is their sound guy, Greg. But in Europe, they typically have a tour manager along with them. Luckily, Yungblud’s team has adopted them as their own and it’s basically one big family. Not to mention they know Mikey, drummer of Yungblud, from a mutual friend back home. And Adam, from Yungblud, apparently grew up 5 minutes from the Jukes brothers growing up, small world, right? Speaking of home, we were curious what it’s like to be away from loved ones so far away, especially considering they’re both married. As Al said, they’ve been doing this for about 10 years now so their wives are pretty much used to it, but they are also extremely supportive of their lifestyle as they know it’s their dream to be doing this. “If things go right, everybody wins” Stevie said.
We then asked the brothers if they had any plans for the rest of the year that they could tell us, and man these guys are going to be busy. They have an album coming after the summer, a big new single in July, and their newest music video for their song “Nunchuk” will be out next week. Also potentially a headlining US tour in the works, who knows. Finally, we wanted some final words about why you should check them out. Al said “The music’s awesome, it’s different and one of a kind. And if you want a laugh, check out our Instagram.” Which pretty much summed them up as a whole. We then moved back into the venue for their set. The crowd was clearly loving it.
Unfortunately, in the middle of the 3rd song they had some technical difficulties which cut their set short. Not only did the crowd handle it well and were visibly disheartened by the abrupt ending, but Saint PHNX also handled it extremely well. Cause you know what, it’s live music, it happens. It’s all about the experience, you can’t get that kind of technical problem on Spotify.
But overall it was an awesome day with some awesome guys who create awesome music. Repetitive, yes? But very true. Be sure to check out Saint PHNX all over the internet and the rest of the Loner tour. You won’t regret it.
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All photographs by Olivia Amaral