Interview: The Sand Dollars put music first
Melbourne fourpiece, The Sand Dollars, have recently released new single Holster and are embarking on a September/October tour. We spoke to them to find out more:
Hi and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said!
Hello! And thank you.
For those unfamiliar with The Sand Dollars, how would you describe your sound?
It is difficult for us to describe our sound because our songwriting process dictates that it is always changing. Often we will ring each other late at night just to chat about some new band we’ve discovered and say, “hey let’s do something cool like that for our next song.” So our sound is always in motion, which we find can be a challenge but also probably benefitting our music. The one thing we strive for regardless is to have a product that sounds cool.
Melbourne has a very vibrant music scene, bursting at the seams with bands. Have you found it to be a competitively beneficial environment that helps you push your own artistic boundaries?
Melbourne is a bottomless breeding hole, which keeps popping out amazing bands every day. Although there are so many talented bands around us and there is always competition in the industry, we love these bands and support their music. We keep our artistic side to ourselves 😉
What is the creative process for you guys; jamming til a sound is born, writing lyrics first and shaping a melody around the words or a piecemeal process with each member working on a given section and pooling it all together?
Our creative process can be long and painful. We don’t all have prescribed roles but we all have strong input into the finished product in terms of sound. It is very rare we all jam a song and it all comes together at once, it usually takes a while until all four of us are happy with it.
Is your lyrical content derived from direct personal experiences or do you tend to approach writing in a disconnected third person style?
Lyrically we tend to include a more visual narrative than personal experiences. When we hear lyrics that are from personal perspectives they can often seem forced if the performer isn’t genuine in their music, even if their lyrical content is. So we like to steer clear of that. One way we approach lyrics is to think of our songs in the context of a film soundtrack. We would write words based on the visuals and themes of, for example a Tarantino film, and the song’s narrative would form from there.
It isn’t easy keeping a band together and the financial pressures are omnipresent, how do you juggle band commitments and daily living?
Band commitments are always welcome in the house of The Sand Dollars. Until Donald Trump or Kanye discover our music and are willing to put millions into our creative needs we will always find ways to put the music first. Thankfully our daily lifestyles of making pizza, snowboarding and whatever Baini does isn’t too difficult to work around.
You are about to hit the road on the back of your new single Holster. What does your new material say about the stage you are at in your life at the moment?
Our new material has a common thread for each of us; it’s fun to play and (we hope) fun to listen to. That’s the stage the four of us are at right now and we would like people to experience that enjoyment with us when they watch our live show or see our video clips.
Do you find touring to be inspirational whereby it helps you write and create more material or are you so focused on the task at hand that writing and creating new material takes a back seat?
Having a goal like a tour gives us incentive to be more creative with our live show. We decided to really assess each song we play and question the merits that each song holds for our live show. Some songs in our live set are currently getting a complete overhaul in preparation for this tour, because we aim to win over as many fans as we can along the east coast of Australia.
What has been one of your most memorable gigs to date and why?
We have been lucky enough to jam in many rooms with many beautiful people. To choose one is difficult, but bringing in New Years with a bunch of talented bands at The Espy or our first Adelaide gig at Rocket Bar were very memorable. Other then that we have had beach balls and broken legs along the way, so its all good.
What have you learnt from watching other great live acts that you have incorporated into your own shows?
Honestly just heaps of little things that would make us look more professional on stage. Lately, people that have been coming to our shows for a while have mentioned to us that we look much more cohesive and confident on stage, which allows the audience to become more engaged and involved in our performance. And we always love to hear feedback like that from our long term fans.
What does music give you that nothing else does?
Music is literally music to our ears.
What does the rest of 2015 have in store for you guys?
We are frantically preparing for our Holster tour which will see us through until mid-October, by which time we will be ready to head into the studio to record our first EP, which we are hoping to have on shelves by early 2016. In the meantime we have some great gig opportunities to look forward to over Summer, and there might be a cheeky couple of weeks off to go snowboarding in Japan.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.