Written by Sophie Wyatt
Childhood friends and musical partners Amy Illingworth and Lily Sturt-Bolshaw (aka. Sunflower Thieves) have nurtured a strong and instantly recognisable sound as they have entered the music industry. Their blend of musical genres, from folk to pop has acquired them a loyal following of fans, and they’re not stopping there. We caught up with the duo to discuss their latest EP and defining their sound.
While we know they are childhood friends, we wanted to know the whole story behind how Sunflower Thieves came to be. Amy informed us that while the backstory to the duo is wholesome, the name itself comes with little history other than the girls love for it. But also explain that their tastes in music have evolved alongside the growing duo.
Amy – ‘We actually met each other at primary school. And the name… there’s no cool story. We went to our local open mic that our parents used to go to and then from there just started making songs. Then when we started playing our own stuff we realised we needed a name and started playing around with floral names. But no cool backstory I’m afraid.’
Lily – ‘I think we’ve got mainly similar tastes in music. There’s the odd random one. You used to be really obsessed with Drake,’ Lily laughed.
Amy – ‘I’m really into hip-hop, not that it’s reflected in our music. I did go through a big phase of that. We’ve learnt a lot about music taste from each other and our parents.’
Lily – ‘We actually recently announced that we are supporting Lewis Watson on tour who was one of our biggest influences when we started writing music. Since then more like Maggie Rogers and Phoebe Bridgers kind of vibes.’
Often described as pop, folk or generally alternative, Sunflower Thieves music is often disregarded as multi-faceted and wrongly labelled under just one genre. So we wanted to know what the girls thought of the constraints of genre, and how they would best sum up their music.
Amy – ‘We were actually filling out an application form this morning and we just had to pick one. But I just don’t think genre is really a thing anymore. They guide you to somewhere, but we always end up saying something like ‘dream-folk-pop-alternative’. Somewhere in there, which could be anything. Lily does all our production and I think the sound of music has definitely developed with the growing texture and elements. It’s definitely come together over the last two years to get us to the soundscape we’re in right now.’
‘Someone To Be There For‘ is the name of Sunflower Thieves latest EP. The pair explained to us that they were forced to work on this EP over an untimely lockdown. Using it as a tool to stay sane and release creativity, the pair dove head first into this project. They went on to explain a little more about the experience and the EP itself.
Amy – ‘It was new for us because we went hard with co-writing over lockdown. Trying to stay sane. We really enjoyed it and loved the songs that came out of it. ‘Sirens’ the first single was one of those. We didn’t go into the studio with the intention of writing a song for the EP that day, we were just writing. There are themes that reflect what we were feeling at the time that work together because they explore a similar time.’
Lily – ‘It was really different doing it that way because we’d usually write a song and then gig it 10 times before we even start recording it. To get a vibe of tempo and what else we could hear around it. So not getting to do that was quite a cool exercise. It felt like more work was involved in imagining where it could be. I don’t know how much I’d want to do that again though‘, she laughed.
Finally we discussed what the artists have coming up in the near and far future. With the release of their latest EP and a whole host of shows around the corner, we know we will be hearing the name Sunflower Thieves a lot more in 2022.
Lily – ‘So we’ve had two more tracks come out and that round up the 5 track EP. Digitally it was out on the 15th of April and then on vinyl later on with an extra secret track.’
Amy – ‘We’ve got three more London shows, only one if announced. It’s at Roundhouse in the studio theatre as a part of Roundhouse Rising.’
Head over to Sunflower Thieves’ Spotify page to hear more of their latest tracks.