Interview: Sandman Viper Command

Sandman Viper Command @ The Rivoli, 10-12-10
[Note: Sandman Viper Command is sorta the first band we’ve bought shots for twice. I say “sorta” because we previously drank out of a bottle of Crown Royal in an alley… and two members of the band missed out. So technically, I count this as the first time.]

Sandman Viper Command has been playing frequently since the release of their debut album, Everybody See This. The guys actually just got back from touring, half of it out east and half around Ontario.

As for their shows and the response they’ve getting, Matt provided some insight: “They’re getting better all the time, so there’s got to be some form of progression on someone’s end. I mean, we’re playing the same venues in the same cities and the shows do get better.”

Dan also attributes their increasingly more successful shows to their “swelling internet presence.” See their YouTube channel or the numerous interviews for more on this.

Having just gotten back from tour, Dan gushed, “All of out East was incredible. Halifax is like my favourite town in the country.”

Rob agreed, but also provided this advice: “But if you go to Halifax, don’t go to the Liquor Dome,” to which Aaron added, “Or Soda Pop.”

Dan then said, “Go to the Liquor Dome for one night or a portion of a night.”

Rob explained an experience at the Liquor Dome: “We were there on Devil’s Night and the entire floor of the dance floor was covered in broken bottles. We’d be dancing and [insert sound effect for dancing on broken glass]. I don’t know what was going on. People were smashing bottles.”

Dan advised, “If you go to the Liquor Dome, make sure to wear leather-bound shoes or something.”

Helpful advice, no?

The guys revealed that their plans for the New Year include a music video, recording a 7” and lots more touring. Rob revealed, “And we’re probably going to take on the entire country, see how that goes.”

Dan then enthusiastically said, “We’re gonna take it on!”

Rob continued, “Yeah, recording, music videos and more tour.”

Matt replied that Rob went down the checklist of everything they should be doing, to which Dan said, “For the next year, we are being a band. We are going to continue being a band.”

The guys then revealed they’re going to lay low for a couple months or so. They’re going to take on a couple new jobs in the meantime. Dan revealed, “For the next few months, I’m going to be a baker, Rob’s going to be a butcher, Aaron’s going to be a blacksmith…” But Matt wanted to say blacksmith, and Aaron decided he’d be a streetsman.

Rob asked, “What is a streetsman exactly?”

Aaron responded, “A homeless person! A nice name for a homeless person. A connoisseur of the streets.”

This streetsman talk became the theme for the rest of our chat.

It’s evident these guys have amusing banter with one another (which I wish I could convey more thoroughly). Their songwriting process seems to be the same.

Rob described, “We like to throw our stuff in a cauldron that we call Big Bubs, Bubba in reality, but Big Bubs for short. Sometimes Dan will throw some socks in the cauldron. Aaron has some streetsman vomit. Then this character Eddie the Eagle comes out of the cauldron after summon with our things and he sings a song.”

I asked if they were wizards at this point. They’re adamant they’re streetsman. Dan revealed that streetsman also have special powers, by the way. Well, you learn new things everyday.

At this point, Aaron said, “It’s getting crazy now, too crazy now! Reel it in a bit, Dan.”

Dan responded, “Me reel it in? This is you guys! Uh, songwriting process… Rob is the cauldron, so to speak.” Rob’s take on songwriting was then essentially repeated.

Rob then spoke more seriously. “We all contribute to the song and then it comes out and it’s just sorta this creature of our own meandering, musical meandering.”

Aaron then said, “The word ‘meandering’ has been used a lot today.

Dan combines meandering with the theme of the conversation. “We’re meandering streetsmen, that’s just what we are. The next album is going to be called ‘The Meandering Streetsmen.’ And you can only find them in garbage cans.

The market they’d be targeting would be new, but Dan pointed out, “The ones who don’t have anything to play music.” This could potentially be a problem.

With new material on the way, Rob described what he writes about.

“It’s sorta just whatever’s going on, whatever I’m reading about or seeing on TV or if something provokes a single image, maybe I’ll run with that. The common themes of love comes into it and hate and anger and fun. I never try and sit down and write any one particular thing, just whatever’s going on, my stream of consciousness, thought processes going through my head at the time. I sorta surprise myself. Obviously, I don’t even know what I write about. It’s a bit of a mystery to me, even.”

Dan then said, “Maybe we can ask someone else. Maybe a streetsman…”

As for a drunken story, Aaron volunteered one: “I got drunk in Halifax and met my uncle for the first time because I hadn’t been out there. Audio Blood set up this party at this place called the Khyber and they had an open bar that was set up that I was bartending for some reason. By the end of the night, and the night ended early, it was like 9:30 or something. By the end, around 9:30, I was on top of the bar pouring shots in people’s mouths, as well as my own. And then I had to go back to my Aunt’s place where I had to meet my uncle for the first time. I don’t remember what happened. I just woke up in the morning and it turns out that I was like slapping his chest with like, ‘Hey, big guy!’”

Dan described the situation further: “His uncle is a very in shape individual and he had been doing chest work all day, apparently. And Aaron was constantly batting his chest with like, “Look at this guy, look at this guy!” [Dan is beating his own chest at this point] He was saying, ‘Aaron, you’re my nephew. I just met you. But it hurts so much that I’m going to need to forcefully remove you from me eventually.’ Thankfully, it didn’t ruin our experience with them.”

Matt then said, “I think it brought us closer.”

Dan continued, “Aaron’s Aunt and Uncle treated us extremely well. That’s probably one of the best parts of the tour, was how they treated us.”

Aaron ends off on this note: “Thank you Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Damien.”

And if you’re wondering what the guys said was their shot of choice, they said whiskey/scotch.

These guys were hilarious to speak with. They have an interesting dynamic with each other as friends, but at the end of the day, it’s evident they just love making music.


Categories: Interviews


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