Sophie Sweet and her November Criminals are a Leeds based band with a very unique sound of blended rock, blues and country. Imagine a combination of unstoppable foot stomping rhythms, sinister lyrics but sweet, powerful and resounding melodies and you're getting close to the creation that is Sophie Sweet and her November Criminals.
Influenced by both new and old styles they write original songs but also do renditions and covers from inspiring artists such as Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.
Musicmuso caught up with Sophie at the 'Rodeo Girl Line Dancing' class in Leeds, Billy Ray Cyrus' 'Achy Breaky Heart' had just started and we were ready to do some killer 'Dig', 'Hitch' and 'Lockstep' moves. Before the chaos ensued, we asked her some questions, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
We are a Leeds based band that produce a unique blend of Blues, Rock and Roll and Country to create high energy live shows filled with foot stomping, hand clapping action.
You’re called Sophie Sweet and her November Criminals how did you come about choosing this name?
The boys originally started the band before Sophie joined and because they were all born in November they called themselves the November Criminals. After Sophie joined they decide they wanted to extend the name so that Sophie became the focal point and they simply became her backing band.
‘Vice and Virtues’ was your last EP, who designed the cover artwork for this?
A friend of Dan’s called Tadas Daujotas is working towards being a graphic designer and very kindly designed the artwork for us.
Where was ‘Vice and Virtues’ recorded and why did you choose that studio?
We recorded ‘Vice and Virtues’ at 309 studios in Leeds with a freelance producer. We just set up the recording equipment in the rehearsal rooms and laid down each instrument separately. We have used the 309 rehearsal space a lot so it was an ideal location for us!!
‘Go Billy Go’ is a stand out track in your last EP, what is the story behind this?
Go Billy Go is a story of a young man who always does right and does as he’s told until he decides one day to simply disappear and go hunting for temptation.
Tell us about your next EP where are you at completing this and what can your fans expect?
Our next EP, ‘Sophie Sweet and Her November Criminals’ is being released under the label Animal Farm. Fans can expect tracks with sinister lyrics warning against dangerous women and heartbreak and catchy guitar riffs and licks combined with driving rhythms.
Your latest single is ‘Am I the Only one’ why did you choose this to be the first release?
‘Am I the Only One’ is probably the slowest of all our songs in our current set list but we think it really showcases Sophie’s vocal range and the Chorus kicks in with a lot of power and it makes for a very catchy song. Or at least we hope so!
Tell me a fascinating fact about you or one of your band members
Daniel the Rhythm guitarist, although he’s as English as you get is unable to talk on stage without it sounding like a bad American accent.
Being an unsigned band how hard is it to get noticed and how has social media aided your music?
In the beginning we gigged as much as possible just to try and get ourselves heard on the music scene. This paid off in the long run, especially in supporting larger bands. Social media was slow moving at first but with the use of the # (hashtag) we have gained a lot more followers on twitters and likes on Facebook. Friends and family have always been very supportive in sharing and liking our status’s and tweets. BBC introducing have also opened us up to more listeners.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ this is not only one of the best songs ever recorded it was also our common love of Johnny Cash that really helped us bond our different musical tastes.
How would you describe the music scene in your hometown and who would ask the readers of MusicMuso to check out?
Leeds, being so large, has many different musical genres around on the music scene from rockabilly to metal and blues to pop and rock. For bands close to our genre we would recommend ‘Thieving Lloyd Cole’.
First gig you ever went to?
Ah back in the day when I had questionable taste in music…I think it was blink 182….
Favourite actor and actress?
Steve Buscemi and Natalie Portman
3 words that best describe you as a band?
Energetic, Loud, Stylish
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as party guests?
Johnny Cash so he can provide the soundtrack, Nucky Thompson so that all of our alcoholic needs will be meet, Dita Von Teese to provide the entertainment!
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Beetlejuice - he’s mischievous, a little bit dark, a little bit comedic and loved by all regardless of his evil nature.
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Sure- you go abroad they are all over the road and no one ever questions their motives!!!!
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
Our plans for 2014 are to release and promote our new EP, film our new music videos and tour round more of the UK.
We were getting in a right pickle, just after a 'Monterey Turn' we got our feet tied up and ended up bring down an entire line of dancers, before we made our feeble apologies and shuffled out of the room, we asked Sophie some quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Drum machine or the real deal? Real Deal!!
Mac or PC? Mac
Fry up or Sunday roast? Fry up
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Lemmy
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl
Car or Motorbike? Car
Acoustic or Electric? Electric
Shower or Bath? Bath
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino? Robert De Niro
God or Google? Goooooogle
We would like to thank Sophie for taking time out of her hectic schedule to answer our questions, we wish her and her November Criminals all the best for the future and promise to share any news items that come our way with you as and when received.
Interview by Mark Wincott