Every month Hybrid Magazine invites someone
from the indie scene to write a guest column for us. Rather
than giving you a typical interview about the same old thing,
we offer our guest writers an open forum to write about whatever
the hell they please. Check back next month for a new guest
columnist and find out what they aren't saying in interviews.
This month: Shawn Bann from lowsunday. (ed.
this article was received with all text in lowercase, in keeping
with our tradition of giving the artists a completely un-edited
forum, we opted not to change the case.)
When thinking about what makes an interview
'go wrong', it comes down to one of music's essential abilities.
The ability to communicate.
Since signing to Projekt Records (www.projekt.com)
and the release of our latest album, 'elesgiem', we've recently
have been exposed to the world of mediocre press. When given
the chance to write a column, without the middle man (or woman),
we immediately were interested.
Topics of interest frequently distorted,
spoken clearly by vocalist / guitarist Shane Sahene.
What motivates you to make music?
pleasure.its a magical experience. the beauty
lies in the dichotomy..on one side it is brainless and instinctive
expression..that feels good. its pretentious sounding, but
its primal in ways which paralell the early fascination of
fire. the other side of it is a tireless pursuit of what is
real....the attempt at pure communication and honesty in an
everchanging environment. sometimes, it is escapism motivated
and sometimes it is because speaking isnt always the most
precise form of communication. as a band we make music because
of the tranformation that occurs inside, when you let go of
all pretense..its the unconscious decision to let go . like
speaking in tongues...a stream of consciousness. the simple
answer, it hurts less than it does to not make music...even
though it doesnt always feel that way. beyond that, there
is nothing as influential as your bandmates. the sounds and
energy they create and inspire are the purest motivating forces.
Who comes to your shows?
mainly people....although there was a dog
at a show once, he was nice..we gave him a shirt. :p truthfully,
its like people coming for a swim. the room fills with sound
and it keeps everyone afloat. theres a connectedness that
we all need. when you find the environment in which you belong....the
circuit becomes completed. the flow begins...again , the simple
answer is beautiful boys and beautiful girls who are introspective
and smart. the band is, ultimately, a reflection of the people
who understand what its all about.
What venues does lowsunday perform at?
pretty much all of the local venues that
are not embarrassing. the places where music comes first.
we only play places where we dont feel that we are asking
too much of our fans to venture into. we're snobs like that,
we dont compete with close captioned hockey games for attention.
we have toured and will continue to. there is a loop that
we want to keep making throughout the major cities of the
mid-west/northeast...although in places like new york city
it is difficult to break even...and not end up in debt...but
we love the adventure. it sort of represents the ultimate
Can you make a living, in Pittsburgh.,
we cannot. pittsburgh, like most cities,
is a difficult place for artists to survive through their
art. however, it is completely dependent on what you are willing
to do. if you can and want to break through corporate driven
radio it would be a big step. local music is currently quarantined
into "segregated, no listening zones" on most radio.
there is a complete lack of adventure on capital fueled airplay.
college and public radio have excellent intentions and reach
out the best they know how. aside from huge entertainment
taxes which fend off most mid level national touring acts
(hence, a lack of good opening slots).art doesnt pay..we all
have to remember that the new stadiums are being built as
an effort to bring culture into pittsburgh!(via two lane highways!)
the scenario is typical... a band has to break through to
and maintain more than just the local market if they wish
to even think of making a living at it...at that, most mid-level
nationally touring musicians have a side job..bands that have
sold tens if not hundreds of thousands of albums. in this
digital age it has become possible for bands to generate some
extra cash on mp3 downloads etc, probably not enough to live
off of though...(unless you are metallica). at the end of
the day the reward is in the act itself.
Or, how do you make a living, if not
through music? (This question is meant to illustrate to illustrate
how music fits in to the daily lives of the people making
it; be as complete as you like.)
for the most part, we all do things that
best enable us to have the freedom required to play music
and to travel a little. like most musicians, music is our
livelihood....while the things we are forced to do for money
are looked at as a way we can buy equipment, eat food, have
a place to sleep thats warm and take care of the people we
love. when the day is done..when everyone is sleepy from other
responsibility...we make music.
lowsunday seems to have changed quite
a bit from the first album to the new one.Was this evolution
a conscious decision? Why? Or did it just sort of happen?
the conscious decision would have been to
pursue deeper truth /sincerity / honesty in the writing..to
reach for a higher more accurate level of communication..with
less compromise. low sunday ghost machine was synth heavy
and mechanical in its approach. as musicians we aimed at minimalism
and created one focused emotion. as any body of work, it is
simply a page out of a diary..or a snapshot of the time period.
every musician is absolutely unlike another..and continually
evolve to the extent that most musicians are unlike they were
.even the week before! passion is the only necessary constant,
formulas dont seem to hold up too well. most musicians cant
be plugged into songs without completely shedding a whole
new light on it.
The sounds on the new album are harder
to place...what kind of musical (or non-musical) influences
have shaped the band's latest music? What directions will
the next batch of songs take?
the biggest factor will be what we inspire
in one another. naturally we will gravitate towards each others
strengths in relation to our own. bobby spell brings absolutely
dense grooves and thick textures into the picture with his
bass playing. shawn bann plays synth and guitar...and his
atypical approach to making music meshes subtle atmospheres
with manic guitar unpredictability. al vish has a very unique
approach to drumming that varies from tribal to trancey...he
can be playing atmospheric to straight ahead rock n roll...completely
steady. i will continue to bounce around with various guitar
textures...vocally, its difficult to say. simply, we will
increase dynamics..let the soft get softer and let the heavy
get heavier. just keep it real...(i love saying that);>
Why did you drop the "Ghost Machine"
it was sort of like pieces from the berlin
wall....it was a mixture of reasons. we had been negotiating
a record deal with Tess Records in california, so we wanted
to inject this change before we had become too known too change
it. we also had just recorded a track for a widely distributed
Cleopatra Records compilation and felt we needed to make the
move while we could. the final original member of LSGM and
i had parted ways..and i felt it was an important step to
move forward. i was also tired of typing the long name 25
times a day in emails etc. it was a fresh, simplified..streamlined
change. our publishing company is still called low sunday
ghost machine. the change represented a new approach.
Tell me a little about Projekt Records,
and how you got involved with them.
Projekt, formed in 1983, is a label operated
by Sam Rosenthal and his wife lisa ( both known for their
band Black Tape for a Blue Girl). their longetivity was impressive
in itself, considering the fact the most independents last
fractions what they have. they distribute worldwide through
Ryko Distribution, which we found to be unbeatable. we had
been aware of Projekt for years due to their relentless promotions
of their bands, the Darkwave catalogs they had put out, and
the reputation that had surrounded them as being one of THE
labels for the whole scene. coincidently, we had also appeared
on a compilation out of rome, italy..last spring...along with
a few bands from Projekt...these bands had opened our eyes
as to what Projekt had been up to recently. the new Black
Tape and Mira. etc...
a wonderful friend of ours that is a dj
had been discussing playlists etc with the Projekt and lowsunday
was brought up in the discussion. so thanks to our beautiful
friend, we had been encouraged to send a package to the label.
Projekt immediately expressed interest in us, they offered
us a deal.. we had finally met sam and lisa while we were
performing in nyc last november..we ironed it out for too
long while the label waited patiently..and we signed.
lowsunday seems to attract the "goth"
label a lot, which seems rather curious tome. Do you think
that's a useful term to describe the band with? Why do you
think you've been saddled with it.? Is there a better way
to describe the band, shorthand?
we had discussed this with each other a
little. its possible that when you eliminate everything we
are NOT....the labels left standing are shoegaze, brit influenced
pop, dreampop, darkwave. goth is not really the same thing
now as it was ...the goth trend anymore is club friendly ,drum
machine/electro influenced and more industrialized. for the
most part, it has become a cliche and derivitive (sp?) sound.
we have been reviewed as 4ad type goth, which is more of a
timeless, classic sound. a little more honest, mixed with
pop melodies ....(in contrast to Cleopatra goth) our favorite
shows are in goth clubs...the people are incredible.
How do you define success as an indie-label
having realistic and unrealistic goals.
leaving positive influence on a world market..or at least
becoming a factor in it. ultimately, to reach a level where
playing music is the extent of what you do. we feel most successful
when our music touches people..when it moves people. success
is 100% communication. success is being given the chance to
make more music with absolute freedom.
What does the future hold for lowsunday?
Projekt Records will be re-releasing our
album "elesgiem" ..on april 3...it will be available
almost everywhere in the usa..we will be having a release
party on saturday march 31st at the beehive theater..we are
working on a release party in nyc for april..and some touring
throughout the spring and summer. the latest information and
updates about the band will be available at Projekt
Records website or at our
ideally, the future will bring lowsunday's
writing to an even higher level of communication and contact
with our fans everywhere....and from there new communities
of people will hopefully be connected with each other. and
then finally a new album next year around this time.
in the webboard
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