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Interview
Sinsin

Sinsin

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
date
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?

It’s 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 it’s kind of got to that point now, and I just got it all mastered and have put a live band together and we’re 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? It’s quite different from the other projects you have been involved in.

I’ve always needed an outlet – most musicians do need an outlet for music - and while Motocade was fun Eden was the sole songwriter and so it didn’t feel quite fulfilled in that respect. I’ve always been keen to get involved and do a side project and it’s taken so long to get up and running but I’m 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 wasn’t going for a certain sound. It’s 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 I’m really happy with what came out.

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

It’s quite funny. I’ve had five bands so far. It’s not because the other musicians weren’t up to the task or weren’t good enough, it’s just commitments and maybe different ideas on direction and stuff like. I’ve worked with heaps of other artists previously to this line-up and it’s really hard to get people to commit to something like this because it is my project and at the end of the day there’s no money to chuck at them. The artists I’ve recruited have always been in different acts so that’s been their thing and this is mine, and a side-project to them. I’m really happy with the two dudes I’ve got now. I’ve got Hamish Walker the drummer from Kerretta and he’s 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, he’s just a legendary musician. He’s 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. It’s awesome to have that input – it feels like we’re 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. It’s been awesome to hear some feedback on the songs as well, like ‘dude why don’t you cut that up there and put that there?’ It’s been an awesome process. I’m excited about playing live.

When are you going to be playing some shows?

We haven’t got any planned yet, I don’t want to put any pressure on the guys I think that’s what I did in the past, I said ‘we’ve got a gig in two weeks we have to play’ but I really don’t want to think about playing live within the next couple of week, not until we have all decided that it’s about time we started doing it. I’ve done some bad ones in the past – I shouldn’t 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. It’s so flat and if the sound man doesn’t have it right it can sound terrible.

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

I’ve 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 it’s all based off that. It’s got my cousin - who’s three at the time - playing in the dirt, and she’s got dirt all over her face and she’s kind of been smiling, and then the footage goes to war. The first half of the footage is my aunt’s wedding and it’s all happy and then the second half her husband goes to war – it’s not war, it’s peacekeeping – and it’s all dark. He’s in Thailand or somewhere and there’s snakes around their necks and frigate boats coming into this little harbour with Tuk-tuks and little boats – it’s 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 ‘Responding to Drama’.

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 ‘woah that would be awesome for a video’. 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. They’d 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 ‘what’s going on?!’ and the lady was like ‘what are you doing to my piano?!’ 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. It’s kind of a random start to the video but I think it works. I didn’t like it at first because I didn’t 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?

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



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