Interview: Grayson Sanders of Snowmine

Snowmine is a five-piece band from Brooklyn, NY, that combines indie pop with classical orchestrations causing them to have a unique sound. They are fronted by new-classical composer Grayson Sanders, who took time out of his day to answer some questions that I prepared for him. Read the interview below to find out a bit more about their album as well as which member in the band Sanders would want to be for a day.

snowmine_by_emilyraw2

Melisa Baykent: Hello there! First of all how about you guys tell us a little about yourselves and what your role is in the band?

Grayson Sanders: Hey there thanks for having us. Calvin plays guitar and sings. Alex plays drums. Austin plays guitar. Jay plays bass. I’m Grayson and I play keyboards and sing.

MB: I watched your episode that was part of Weathervane Music’s series ‘Shaking Through’, and it was really interesting to see everything come together at the end. Was it stressful at times piecing a song together in just two days?

GS: You know, it wasn’t so bad. It was kind of liberating in a way. Having the chance to set a very real and strict deadline on something sometimes brings out the most decisive choices. When you have a bunch of minds in the stew sometimes too many ideas can be a bit overwhelming. Getting the chance to say, “Listen, we have 10 minutes to decide on this” is sort of an imposed authority figure on creativity. I usually like to spend more time on the mix though, because it often takes stepping away for a day or so to get your head out of it and see the big picture again.

MB: Would you say it’s similar to how you guys record normally (“no extensions. No safety net”)?

GS: We definitely don’t work that way normally. We’ll be working on a ton of songs congruently and then at a certain point some of them appear done and others are lost causes [laughs].

MB: Is there a specific message you try to convey through the songs that you guys produce?

GS: I think the overarching message is probably that things will be okay. There’s a lot of melancholy, a lot of wide-eyed wondering at the world and why it is so, but at the end of the day I’d hope we can be a pat on the back and not a punch in the gut.

MB: Your album ‘Laminate Pet Animal’ is amazingly arranged and produced, is your new album going to contain the same style or did you guys go toward a different direction this time around?

GS: Thanks! The sound of the record is a bit different, but overall the production style hasn’t changed. I think that’s just us and what we do, so that won’t go anywhere. I spend a lot of time trying to make these recordings headphone listens and not just stereo listens. There can be a big difference when you’re talking about inviting someone into an environment. When things swirl, fly, grow, and shrink, the imagination has more room to run.

MB: Who have been your biggest inspirations as a band? 

GS: We’re all big fans of classic afrobeat. We love Fela among many others. Can. Reich. The whole Bang on a Can squad. Bjork of course. I know we don’t particularly sound like any of those groups to a T, but they inform a lot of our ideas.

MB: I see that you guys will be heading out on the road quite soon for your Winter Tour, are there any specific dates that you’re looking forward to?

GS: We’re definitely excited to play Lincoln Hall with Hundred Waters and Freelance Whales. I think that bill should be very interesting across the board. We’re also looking forward to playing with Bear in Heaven in Pittsburgh at the Brillobox.

MB: Since, 2012 is coming to an end, what do you guys hope to achieve in the new year?

GS: Well priority number one is letting this album go out of our hands. It’s like you’re a kid grasping a balloon but you can’t take it with you everywhere, so you’re mom is going to force you to let it go. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, wince a bit, and see it float away. After that, our plans hinge on where we’re going from there.

Fun Questions: 

MB: If you could be anyone else in the band for a day who would you be and why?

GS: If I were to be anyone else in the band for a day, it would be Jay because his mind is an abacus. Seriously, next time you meet him, ask him any question about…anything.

MB: What’s a random fact about each one of you in the band?

GS: Austin had dread locks for 7 years.They grew all the way down to his lower back.

Alex and Calvin both met for the first time playing drums and guitar for a girl named Stefani… who now goes by the name Lady Gaga.

Jay tore his ACL stage diving at a rock show he played as a teenager. He finished the show but was then rushed to the hospital for reconstructive surgery.

I was once trapped in a dark attic with thousands of bees… which were on me. I made it out without a single sting.

MB: What would your spirit animal be? Why?

GS: Apparently I’m a squirrel. It’s just what I’ve been told and I don’t ask questions.

Check out the song “The Hill” off ‘Laminate Pet Animal’ below:

Twitter: @SNOWMINE

Facebook: Snowmine

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