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Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Monday 31st October, 2011 9:41AM

Motocade guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Geordie McCallum has been preparing a new solo project for the last couple of years. Under the moniker Sinsin he has written a series of ambient, noise-oriented tracks which will be compiled on an EP Layers due out next Monday. We caught up with McCallum to talk about the project, about getting these tracks ready for a live audience, and how on earth he managed to get a piano onto a paddle boat in the latest video clip.

Tell us how Sinsin came to be?

Itís been brewing over the last couple of years. I recorded some demos and then those demos turned into better and better sounding tracks which eventually thought were good enough to release. So itís kind of got to that point now, and I just got it all mastered and have put a live band together and weíre working on getting those tracks into a live situation, too.

What made you want to start writing this kind of stuff in the first place? Itís quite different from the other projects you have been involved in.

Iíve always needed an outlet Ė most musicians do need an outlet for music - and while Motocade was fun Eden was the sole songwriter and so it didnít feel quite fulfilled in that respect. Iíve always been keen to get involved and do a side project and itís taken so long to get up and running but Iím pumped now.

Was there a specific sound that you were going for?

Not really. Each song was trying to convey a certain kind of feeling I guess. I wasnít going for a certain sound. Itís all recorded myself so the drums are quite raw - kind of like old Shocking Pinks drums and how he records himself. The means of how I recorded it has created the sound rather than going in to create something. And Iím really happy with what came out.

You wrote and recorded the album yourself and now youíve put a live band together. How did you get those guys on board?

Itís quite funny. Iíve had five bands so far. Itís not because the other musicians werenít up to the task or werenít good enough, itís just commitments and maybe different ideas on direction and stuff like. Iíve worked with heaps of other artists previously to this line-up and itís really hard to get people to commit to something like this because it is my project and at the end of the day thereís no money to chuck at them. The artists Iíve recruited have always been in different acts so thatís been their thing and this is mine, and a side-project to them. Iím really happy with the two dudes Iíve got now. Iíve got Hamish Walker the drummer from Kerretta and heís got a really cool style of playing. He really likes to whack the drums but also has a sense of playing for the song which is important with this kind of sound. And Harry Champion, heís just a legendary musician. Heís really into the theory side of stuff as well and his brother Rob Champion was in the Coshercot Honeys back in the day, so he comes from a very musical family.

The full band must change the sound of these songs for the live experience?


Totally. Itís awesome to have that input Ė it feels like weíre kind of doing covers of the EP. The whole album is quite downbeat and I think live it would kind of bore people. In the set have a bit of that obviously but I would be bored if we were just to play the album exactly. Itís been awesome to hear some feedback on the songs as well, like Ďdude why donít you cut that up there and put that there?í Itís been an awesome process. Iím excited about playing live.

When are you going to be playing some shows?

We havenít got any planned yet, I donít want to put any pressure on the guys I think thatís what I did in the past, I said Ďweíve got a gig in two weeks we have to playí but I really donít want to think about playing live within the next couple of week, not until we have all decided that itís about time we started doing it. Iíve done some bad ones in the past Ė I shouldnít have done them. I started out playing solo and I had these backing tracks and it was pretty bad. Live recorded drums just sound horrible like The Kills live. It sounds great on CD but live you need a live drummer. Itís so flat and if the sound man doesnít have it right it can sound terrible.

Sin Sin seems quite visually oriented too. Tell me a little bit about the visual album artwork.

Iíve been at home making all the covers for the EP. My aunty sent over some footage of her wedding in 1965 in Dumfirmline in Scotland where my family are from and I took stills from the Super 8 footage so itís all based off that. Itís got my cousin - whoís three at the time - playing in the dirt, and sheís got dirt all over her face and sheís kind of been smiling, and then the footage goes to war. The first half of the footage is my auntís wedding and itís all happy and then the second half her husband goes to war Ė itís not war, itís peacekeeping Ė and itís all dark. Heís in Thailand or somewhere and thereís snakes around their necks and frigate boats coming into this little harbour with Tuk-tuks and little boats Ė itís really incredible, I was like thanks aunty! Just chopped it up myself and I already had a tune from the EP I thought would be good for it.


Tell me about the latest video clip, for ĎResponding to Dramaí.

One night my friend had some drinks at his place and I saw in his backyard he had a piano, and it was old and decrepit and I thought Ďwoah that would be awesome for a videoí. So I grabbed a couple of friends and we went to move it and it just disintegrated and so I just thought I may as well may as well keep on with that idea and a director friend was in town and he was keen to get involved before he went back to Berlin. We put it together over three months and it was a massive task to do because it was all just funded by myself, so I was wary of budgets and he had this massive ideas. We ended up with the idea of the paddle boat piano so we went with that. We were all set to go and I had I bought another piano.


The beginning of the video is Joel from Popstrangers and Mikey from Drab Doo Riffs. They were the only help I could find on a Sunday morning and they were still up. Theyíd text me asking if I wanted a beer, and I asked them to help with the piano. So I picked them up and it was the most embarrassing thing ever because we went to pick up the piano from this Asian lady. We grabbed the piano out of her house and put it on the trailer and they started playing it and singing at the top of their lungs and everyone came out of their houses like Ďwhatís going on?!í and the lady was like Ďwhat are you doing to my piano?!í and they wanted to stay on the trailer and play it while I drove. We got to the place where we were going to drop the piano off and they had a big wrestle and chucked wheely bins on each other. Sam (the director) just grabbed the camera out and started filming. Itís kind of a random start to the video but I think it works. I didnít like it at first because I didnít see how it fitted into the whole paddle boat thing, but I spoke to a few people and saw how it did kind of work. If it was just big epic piano guy on a boat it seemed too serious and with that in it you can tell it was just kind of taking the piss.

Ultimately, if you were to describe the EP what would you say?

Itís more about textures and itís got a kind of drone to it. Three of the songs start off with a noise at the beginning and thatís kept throughout the track as an underlying drone, but that kind of peddles through into the chords in the song as well. So itís more textures and not based on beats, more about ambience.

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