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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? Any touring?

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 challenge. also.

Can you make a living, in Pittsburgh., through music?

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" moniker?

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 rock band?

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 own website.

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.

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