SAINT PHNX, the dynamic duo – truly, there is no other word to describe them; Stevie and Alan encompass what the word ‘dynamic’ is about. Their meticulous attention to detail, heartfelt lyrics and production, and the fiery passion that follows in the music they create that arises out of them being a duo is ridiculously incredible. The sensitivity of the lyrics in their debut EP, ‘Happy Place’, fused with the upbeat melodies of their production gives rise to a thematic masterpiece. They have been unveiling their masterpieces through touring with Yungblud, and opening for artists like Lewis Capaldi and Imagine Dragons, which goes to show the extent of their dedication and expertise within the realm of music.
Siblings share the unparalleled bond of cooperation and collaboration and have the safety net of each other’s endless support and that’s just what makes Stevie and Al Jukes a brother-band to watch out for. For them, the greatest highs in life come from deliberately tapping into their feelings and experiences. Their songs are decked with powerful music, radiant harmonies and kinetic percussion, topped off with energetic vocals. Far beyond their musical expertise lies fun-loving brothers deep within, who are going on to create their legacy and be remembered not only for their anthemic music but also their contagious good energy and constant good-natured bickering. Even through the screen, they are a bundle of positive energy and sitting in the middle of it all are the humble brothers themselves, that form the iconic duo, SAINT PHNX.
“Fantastic!” said Stevie, when asked about how their year’s going. “We’ve just been getting a bit of work done with the EP, and making sure that everybody knows to grab a copy or buy a physical copy.” And their work paid off – ‘Happy Place’ scored a whopping Number 5 spot on the iTunes chart.
As artists, since they burst into the headlining musical scene, they have left every room they walked into with soon-to-be longtime fans. And then the world shut down. Isolation was a burdensome phase, but for SAINT PHNX, they used their time to skillfully create music filled with unfiltered outpouring and an exploration of the multifaceted feeling of grief. “I think if we sit back and look at it, we’ve all been through a crazy time and I think we went mentally and physically insane. As artists, from 2019, we toured all across the world with Yungblud and Lewis Capaldi and then we did a headline tour all across New York, and then all of a sudden, the whole world shuts down. So to go from touring for almost three quarters of the year to being locked in your house definitely makes you think and takes stock of your life as an artist. But we used our time wisely, we wrote a lot of music and it was nice to come up with songs and release the EP as well.”
While they have traversed not only their musical journey, but most of their lives together, they entered into the music industry as a duo, a powerful force to be reckoned with. “Me being the older brother, at a very young age, I was very into music, I started playing the guitar and using the drum kit. I just started playing along to some famous songs, and then I joined bands – it was something I always wanted to do, and then Al tried to copy me and he wanted to be me, and that’s how we became a duo!”, Stevie says with a laugh. When asked about getting into a musical band, Al says “If you asked me now if I would start a band again with my brother, the answer would be not a chance. It’s very difficult with Stevie. But in all seriousness, it’s been great so far.” According to Al, they’re a bit like “chalk and cheese”, but they complement each other perfectly, so it has worked out exceptionally well.
Their ability to immediately pull off powerful music is what makes them so special. But how exactly does this come about? While reflecting on this, Stevie says “The music creation process is just me, writing all the songs and singing them. Al doesn’t do anything, he doesn’t even play the drums!” which is a perfect depiction of their brotherly humorous relationship, which also ties into the fact that in order for them to actually create their utopian world of brilliance, their foundation needs to be built on heavy teamwork and collaboration. “I’m just joking – I think within the band, my main job is songwriting and singing and Al works on the production”, says Stevie. “But again those ideas for songs come from experiences and things that we’re going through together or have gone through as brothers. We collaborate and bring up our ideas, and because we’re working on the same songs, the main thing is the collaboration process for our ideas, chords, melodies, all those kinds of things.”
“When we were writing ‘Happy Place’, it was about our experiences, so the words came very quickly, and the songs on the EP are very real and raw.”
From a musical idea, their ability to spin vivid portraits of their experiences is astonishing. While their music is rawly original, it is heavily influenced by the likes of Twenty One Pilots, Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons and Coldplay, which they say are “some of the biggest influences on their paths as artists”, and majorly reflect in the music they create. “Musically, Brandon Flowers has been a big influence on me personally”, says Stevie, one half of the brilliant two. “Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph from Twenty One Pilots, Arctic Monkeys, everyone we look up to as musical inspirations has been big influences on me.” Al, the second half that forms the iconic whole adds, “Echoing what Stevie said, the bands that we like are always honest in their music, and I think that’s what we try to be as well. Fans and listeners can smell bullshit and if they see it’s fake, people won’t be interested. I think that people are interested in honest music, and we’re trying to be the embodiment of that. Josh Dun is one of my biggest inspirations and I love Coldplay too, those two are definitely at the top.” Their aesthetics effortlessly complement the duo’s considered thought process about the music they create.
Their knack at channelling emotions from their personal lives and keenness towards creating stellar music led to the emotive EP, ‘Happy Place’. “For people that don’t know how it came up – it is a tribute to our dad, who passed away last year. He brought a ‘happy place’, which was the house he had built with our mom, his kids and grandkids – it was his dream to do that before he died. So we wrote a song before our dad passed away about a ‘happy place’, which represented what he did for his family. We also wanted to give a positive link to the message that everyone needs a happy place, it feels nice to have one! ‘Angel’ is the song after ‘Happy Place’ and was our final farewell to our dad. It was a very difficult time, and we were writing a completely different album and we wrote ‘Happy Place’ when he was sick, and then ‘Angel’ the day after his funeral. It was our last goodbye, so the songs are very raw, and also very easy to write because the words just came to the paper very quickly. It’s a celebration of his life and a tribute to him. It’s going to be very special and we’re excited to share it with the world.”
While keeping the legacy of their dad alive, they also happened to spin a wonderfully cohesive flow of songs that fit into each other like puzzle pieces, while also communicating and expressing their raw moments and moments of vulnerability. ‘Invisible’, another expressive song on the record holds significant importance to the two. “I was playing the chords on the guitar one day, over and over again, and the words came very quickly. It was soon after our dad passed away, and I was just reminiscing and thinking about the time’s when we would phone our mom and see how he was. He was obviously very sick and we couldn’t go and see him because of COVID. It was a very dark time and our thoughts consumed us. After he passed, we thought a lot about how lost and lonely we were going to be without him”, says Al. Stevie adds, “Al and I were feeling extremely lost through that difficult period of our dad being so unwell. We felt so lonely, but we had each other and that’s what that song’s about.”
From weathering those tough storms to channelling those very burdensome emotions into this powerful body of work is something the duo excels at. “‘Blue Feather’ basically explains about the ‘happy place’ that once was, and why the ‘blue feather’ is so significant to us. We sat in the studio to try to talk about these feelings and talk about the song we would make it to be. It is based around having each other as brothers and feeling alone individually, we were there for each other. As a family, we had each other’s backs and it taught us that you don’t have to suffer in silence, you’re not alone and other people have been through tough times too.”
The brilliance of amalgamation of those real-life experiences coupled with the brothers’ natural ear for raw and real music creates an EP that has a pleasantly surprising mixture of realness and heartfelt music. While the lyrics have a sensitive deeper meaning, the graceful specificity of their uplifting production is what drives their music to be so unique. “We didn’t actually realise it was that way when we were writing ‘Invisible’. Even with ‘Happy Place’, it’s a very sad song, very raw and real, but that captures the essence of our dad, he was a very lively and upbeat person. He had an absolute love for living life, and we wanted to make sure the songs on his record captured his passion for living life. It came naturally, thinking about him, thinking about his message and we wanted to keep it alive.”
And so they have kept it alive. Using the powerful driving force of remembrance of their dad, they have accomplished prominent accolades, while continuing to keep his legacy alive in every realm of their work. “We got offered the record deal right after our dad passed, so I think that has been the top of the highlights right now”, Al says. “We’ve been on tour with Yungblud around Europe and for part of the tour, our dad came along with us, he sang on stage with Yungblud, and that has been an amazing memory that will live on for sure.” The duo has been on quite a roll recently and reflecting on that, Stevie adds, “Signing a record deal is something every artist wants to do and signing with Atlantic has been amazing for us.”
“You don’t have to suffer in silence, you’re not alone and other people have been through tough times too.”
From working as independent artists to signing a major record deal with Atlantic Records, Stevie and Al have been the creators behind uniquely decadent music for years now, but they acknowledge that they wouldn’t be where they are without their fans whom they have amassed for years now. For them, the most enjoyable part of travelling globally on tour is getting to interact with their fans and listeners. “It’s amazing to sing our songs to people living in a different country, and having people sing back the words to our songs is an incredible feeling, it is something very surreal. It’s been amazing to tour across Europe and go to a different country as well. If we look at France, they speak a different language, but still sing the words back to our songs – it’s very special and makes you realise what you’re doing is working. It feels overwhelming but we’re very grateful to be able to do that!”
So they continue their unique gift of combining soft-spoken moments of introspective lyrics with kinetic and striking back soundscapes – and their accolades are a testament to the fact that it works. From being independent artists to absolutely winning in the musical realm in a year by securing a number 5 spot on iTunes and now contesting on the hit American reality TV show, ‘American Idol’, they have already established themselves as one of the most exciting new acts this year. We reckon that SAINT PHNX has major potential to grow to become one of the biggest bands of our era and we sense that their defining moment is just down the road.