We let you know about Bay Area based Sandy’s as soon as we got our first taste of their music a little over a year ago, and now the debut Sandy’s LP, Fourth Dementia, is available on vinyl from Thomas Campbell’s Um Yeah Arts. The brainchild of Alexi Glickman, former frontman of the now defunct band The Botticellis, Sandy’s will sound familiar to those who appreciated the dreamy pop of The Botticellis. Friday night, Sandy’s will celebrate the release of Fourth Dementia at The Mill on Divisadero, alongside a screening of Campbell’s skate film Cuatro Sueños Pequeños. I chatted with Glickman about Fourth Dementia below the stream.
The Bay Bridged: How did Sandy’s begin?
Alexi Glickman: While on tour with Little Wings I started opening shows as Sandy’s and got to experience the weirdness that is playing solo. Eventually Kyle and Brett (Simundson, guitarist for Little Wings) started backing me up and this new sound started happening. Since we never rehearsed and I was the only one who really knew the songs—there was a lot of winging it and I had to simplify the arrangements in the moment. I put my guitar in open tunings and played every song in the same key. It was really fun and totally new to me. I was used to making these intricate compositions with all these twists and turns and rehearsing it until we could replicate it live. The vibe in Little Wings was the opposite—flying by the seat of my pants. It helped me loosen up and have more fun.
TBB: Could the audiences tell you were “winging it”, and do you still wing it at shows?
AG: Probably not– but I bet they could tell we were all pretty engaged. When your watching your buddy’s hands and facial expressions to try and guess where the song goes next it keeps you in the moment for sure. I still like to make left turns when we play live– and am lucky I have such a talented band to be able to go with it.
TBB: How faithfully do you try to replicate the recordings when you perform them live?
AG: My favorite thing is to see an artist perform in the present moment– a very different thing from watching someone copy the sounds from an album. I hope that Sandy’s shows feel like a unique happening rather than karaoke.
TBB: How much do you use those open tunings and same key on the album?
AG: Quite a bit– maybe even half.
TBB: Did moving to West Marin affect your songwriting?
AG: I can remember my dreams better out here. There’s a song called Slow Cone on the record that came from a dream I couldn’t shake. I don’t remember that sort of thing happening when I lived in the city.
TBB: The Mill is sort of an odd music venue, and you’re pairing with the permiere of a skate film – how did that happen?
AG: Josey’s place is the best. I’d much rather hang out with my buds in a zone with great vibes and delicious food and beer. We wanted it to feel like a party rather than a typical show. Thomas’ beautiful short film Cuatro Sueños Pequeños will be playing as well but it’s actually not the premier– more like a dose of epic shred visuals to accompany the music.
TBB: How did you end up with Um Yeah Arts?
AG: Sandy’s played an art opening at Park Life in SF that featured Kyle Field’s work as well as new work from Thomas Campbell. Thomas liked our set and I sent him the stuff I had been working on. He was into it and offered to help me finish it and put it out.
TBB: Have you released anything since The Botticellis record? Why so long between releases?
AG: Making the kind of records I enjoy listening to takes time. When I’m not working on my own material I enjoy producing for other artists and bands. Check out Little Wings’ Black Grass to hear what I was up to in between my own albums.
TBB: Are you a perfectionist when it comes to making an album? Or do you write a lot of material and have to whittle it down?
AG: I think patience and perfectionism are different qualities. A song is most potent as it’s being written– but rarely can you record it while writing it. I leave the tape recorder going just in case but usually you have to tinker with songs for a while first. By the time it is complete a good portion of the magic is gone– the only way to regain it is to come back to it later. I’m not interested in recordings that are technically proficient but devoid of that je ne sais quoi.
TBB: Any fond memories of The Botticellis’ Bay Bridged podcast 7 years ago? What’s changed most about you personally and musically since then?
AG: I think we were supposed to play on the roof but the cops shut it down? I think the main difference is The Botticellis was very collaborative and Sandy’s is more of a solitary art. There’s benefits to both but I think being in your mid-twenties is the ideal time to have an all-for-one band type of endeavor. I enjoy writing my surfy tunes up on Mt. Tam and showing them to my band every once in a while before a show. It’s not as exciting I guess but it fits the pace of my life.
July 11, 2014