If you love feel-good music with substance, you love SAINT PHNX. Composed of brothers Stevie and Alan Jukes, the indie pop duo is huge on family, which drives their passion and love for connection. Describing themselves as “two fun loving brothers, here to make you smile,” they state, “We’re willing to make music that makes you feel good, that’s the whole goal.”
Having grinded and created music as a duo since 2016, the Glasgow, Scotland-based musicians have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, far beyond just the music. On top of their undeniably anthemic records, it’s their sense of humor and personalities that result in contagious good energy and laughter for their growing fanbase.
Now making their major-label debut with Atlantic Records, SAINT PHNX returns with their most impactful single to date, “Happy Place,” a vulnerable and emotional track dedicated to their late father who was diagnosed with a terminal lung condition called pulmonary fibrosis. And in the midst of the boys gaining a buzz internationally, they wrote “Happy Place” with their father rallying for them on the sidelines.
Flaunt caught up with SAINT PHNX, who was posted in the studio above the garage in Glasgow which their father built. Read below as we discuss their sound, how they got their name, the success of “KING,” “Happy Place,” importance in family, their close relationship with their father, touring with Yungblud, goals, and more.
Can you describe your sound?
Stevie: It’s changed over the last couple years, but we like to make songs that are big and anthemic.
How did the name Saint PHNX originate?
Stevie: Previously, we were in a band for a number of years. We got some national success in Scotland, nothing to run home about. We obviously wanted to try something different, try something new, try to make bigger songs, and the name comes from that. From moving on from our last band. Phoenix as in rising from the flames and Saint being in a higher place, that’s the whole idea behind it.
Being a duo, what do you both bring to the table?
Stevie: I’ve been trying to figure out over the last few years what Alan does bring to the table, and I don’t know what that is. I bring the feel-good factor. I bring smiles. I bring the vocals, the songwriting, the dancing, all that. Alan, he usually brings his lunch when he comes.
Alan: [laughs] I can’t believe I can fit in this room with the size of his head. I’m the most likable. Stevie’s a typical singer, a drama queen in general.
How was it growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, UK?
Stevie: We grew up outside of Glasgow, 20 miles outside of Glasgow in a half-town, half-countryside vibe. It was quiet but we were always family and that’s what the band’s all about. Before the music, we used to both work in the family business. We always worked together, then started playing music together. We’ve been inseparable since we grew up, so we’ve always used that in our music. Family’s very important, that’s what we like to base the band upon.
Biggest Influences coming up?
Stevie: Oh dear me. I like older music, classic songwriting with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and David Bowie.
Alan: I like Vengaboys. [laughs] I’m more hip-hop-influenced. I like Dr. Dre, Eminem, that’s what I grew up on.
“KING” garnered over 19 million Spotify streams and counting, fondest memories from that record?
Stevie: It gets weird because the song “King” was about the hard experience with our first band. As any band, we tried to make it and get a record deal. We went out to London and played all these shows for all these record labels, but they all told us we weren’t good enough or we couldn’t make it. That song was our defiance and saying one day, we’ll have our moment. One day, we‘ll be who we want to be, and that became a “fuck you” to everybody that rejected us. That’s what “King” was about. It propelled us and got us fans, helped us start playing live shows. That was the song that kicked everything off.
“Happy Place” out now, how are you feeling? Bring us back to when you recorded this song.
Stevie: It’s good. It’s been a bit of an emotional time over the last year or so because of our father becoming ill and passing away. That song was about him and the experience of going through that. That song helped us through the process of grieving and we’re finding out now that it’s released, people are messaging and DMing us to say that song has helped him through a difficult moment. People go through similar things, whether it’s losing a family member or being in a hard place. That song has given them a bit of light and helped them put a smile on their face. Seeing that song come out and getting that feedback has been pretty amazing.
The video says “RIP Bert Jukes” at the end. What does it mean to dedicate a song like this to your father, RIP Bert Jukes.
Stevie: We want to dedicate everything to him because he built everything we believe in, in the way we are as people and the way we write music, it’s all because of him. At the start of the conversation you asked us to sum our feelings up, and that’s been being positive and making other people feel good and that’s what he always taught us and wanted us to do. We wanted to dedicate that song to him because we want to tell his story.
I love that he built a house, and you guys turned the room above the garage into a studio. What’d it mean being so close to him and doing what you love at the same time?
Stevie: He was next door. When he was in a hard place, when his health started to decline, after we finished “Happy Place,” we got to go into this house and share it with him. That’s one of the things that made him smile was hearing the new music. He was our biggest fan so he got to hear songs before the fans heard them, and he loved them and always put a big smile on his face. That was always very special, when we showed him the songs.
Alan: He was very biased and said every song was the best song. “That’s the best song, it has to be #1!”
Stevie: Saying we were the greatest band of all time, obviously that’s a lie. Or maybe to him, but we know he was very biased.
Alan: That’s a father, just loving his sons. That’s what it’s all about.
Creative vision with the visual?
Stevie: We wanted to tell the story of what we’re going through, and what he was going through, which was an emotional war. Metaphorically, he’s going through a struggle and the whole story details a man and a woman being together and the man has to go off to war and fight the battle himself. That’s what my dad had to do. He had to go through the battles with his health and do it all himself. That‘s the story of the video. We tried to create an old love story and we’re really happy with how it turned out.
Where was it shot?
Stevie: Have you ever seen or heard of the movie Braveheart? It’s about a guy named William Wallace, who fought the English. He used to fight in a place called Stirling, a roundabout called the Trossachs in Scotland. We shot it there.
What is your guys’ happy place?
Stevie: My happy place is in the studio, making songs. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but in the studio just making music, that’s where I’m happiest. Or onstage performing live, definitely miss that.
Alan: My happy place is on Christmas Day.
Stevie: He likes the turkey! [laughs]
What’s the best Christmas present you’ve gotten?
Stevie: Alan got a pair of trousers with the buttcheeks cut out. He used to wear these trousers all the time, but they’re too small for him now.
Alan: Yeah, that was the best present. [laughs]
3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Stevie: In Scotland, we have Irn-Bru. It’s a Scottish drink, a soda.
Alan: Coffee and patience.
How was it touring with Yungblud?
Stevie: It was amazing! Especially when you get to go to places like America or Germany. When you’re not from America, you get to see the whole country and all the states. It’s not until you come home or something like Coronavirus happens that you look back and appreciate it. But touring with Youngblud was amazing, his crew was amazing. Playing the shows in Greater America was some of the best days of our life.
How did you guys meet initially?
Stevie: The funny thing is, his guitarist lives about 10 miles from where we live. So he had known us and had heard our music and we just got an email that said, “Do you want to come on tour? We like your music,” and that was that. It was a privilege to be asked, it was fuckin’ awesome.
What’s your relationship with your mom? I love seeing her in your posts.
Stevie: She’s the best. She went through a hard time and we had to do our best to keep her happy and be there for her. She’s doing well and she’s a big inspiration in what we’re doing. It’s not just our dad, but certainly our mom is a main part of the inspiration in the music we play. She said that when my dad passed away, the reason why she loved being with my dad was because he made her life exciting, because he was crazy. It’s been our job to keep our mom’s life exciting.
What’re you guys most excited for next?
Stevie: We’re working on new music, working on finishing the album. We want to go tour again, go to see everybody in America and around Europe. That’s what we’re most looking forward to.
Goals for yourself as artists at this point of your career?
Stevie: Alan’s trying to get a 6-pack and he’s trying to grow a beard, hopefully he reaches that goal in the next 10 years. The goal is to be as big as we can. We’ve had a taste of big stages with Imagine Dragons, Yungblud, Lewis Capaldi. We want to get there ourselves. That’s the goal.
How’s Tiktok treating you?
Stevie: TikTok’s a strange place. A very strange and weird place. We were forced onto the app by our management, and people seem to like it. We’re teaching people all over the world how to say Scottish words. People are liking it, it’s fun.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Stevie: We’re going to have an EP out very soon, then hopefully an album after that.
Alan: Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated.