Houston Calling

Ten Questions for Sharks and Sailors, CD release party info

January 10th, 2006 · 1 Comment

If you’ve been to any local shows over the past year, you’ve probably seen Sharks and Sailors perform at one time or another. The band, which formed last February, features former members of Panic in Detroit, Sjolander, and Voltes. Their bio says that, “with dual waves of guitarmonies, male/female vocals, and a thundering rhythm section, S&S plow through the storm and deliver the goods. A wealth of odd time signatures lie underneath their soaring, and sometimes crunching, melodies.” That pretty much sums it up.

Sharks and Sailors has a new three-song EP that you (yes, you) can pick up this Saturday night (January 14, 2006) — for a mere $5, no less — at the the band’s CD release show at Rudyard’s. Local rockers God’s Temple of Family Deliverance, Golden Axe, and Oklahoma’s Traindodge are also on the bill. This should be a great show.

Sharks and Sailors’ guitarist/vocalist Mike Rollin recently answered a few questions for Houston Calling. Enjoy.

Ten Questions for Sharks and Sailors

HC: How did Sharks and Sailors get started?

MR: Phil (drums) and I have played and written together in various bands for the better part of five years. He and I met in Corpus Christi, where I was finishing college. After I graduated in 2002, I moved back here, where I’m originally from. Phil eventually relocated here later that year, and we started playing in a project called Voltes. At the time, we didn’t know anybody and just wanted to rock out.

During that time, we met Melissa and Al, whose previous respective bands, Panic in Detroit and Sjolander, we were big fans of. I guess sometime during the Fall of 2004, all three of our bands disbanded. We all stayed in touch, so we threw a few jam sessions together in early 2005, which was a really nice, creative time. We had such a good time, that it led to more jamming, and a bunch of songs popped out.

HC: I hear a lot of different things going on in your music. What do consider to be your musical influences?

MR: Wow, where do I start? It’s kind of all over the place. I’d say we’re influenced by any bands with their own signature sound. Anything with a keen sense of dynamics. You hear their records, and you immediately know who it is. Does that make sense?

If I had to pick bands off the top of my head that I thought we collectively dig, I’d probably go with: Fugazi, Mogwai, Sonic Youth, Shiner, Jawbox, Polvo, Mastodon, Isis, DJ Shadow, King Crimson, Juno, Tortoise, MBV, Kyuss, Unwound to name a few…

HC: What can you tell me about the new music? Where did you record it?

MR: We recorded the EP with Eric Faucette and Chris Ryan at Johnny Killed Rock n’ Roll Studios in downtown Houston. Totally awesome dudes to work with, and they get a killer sound. They’ve recorded a lot of the local bands that we’re fans of, so it was a no-brainer to choose them.

The three songs on the EP show some of the different sides to the sound. “Battle” was one of the first songs we wrote. It is almost a pop song of sorts, in the midst of weird time signatures. “‘Skin Like Iron” is a bit more conceptual and dynamic, and “Topple the Pillar” demonstrates our desire to crush you with volume.

HC: You guys have played with a lot of good bands over the past year — have you been surprised about how Sharks and Sailors has been received in Houston?

MR: Absolutely. We’ve played on some eclectic bills, and we’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of support from folks, which is always nice. We try to constantly have new material in the set, and keep it fresh so they don’t just hear the same five songs over and over.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry? Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? Has MySpace helped the band market itself outside of Houston and Texas much?

MR: My take? Well, obviously, listening habits have changed. You can now listen to all of your music all of the time. I think a lot of people are getting exposed to music through the use of MP3s that they otherwise wouldn’t, which is great. I mean, you look at some of the kids on Myspace, and their “Music ” section lists a million bands.

I won’t lie to you, I download all the time to check out new stuff I haven’t heard. But if I like something, I’ll buy it, period. I’m more into albums, I guess. And if given the chance, I try to buy the album at the show or the local independent record store. I’ve also seen where bands are now starting to include extra DVD material, elaborate packaging, or opting to only to release material on vinyl, which is cool. But I’m very aware and understand the opinion of others where you can justify downloading an album for the sake of saying you’ll spend ten bucks to see them live. It’s a double-edged sword. There’s really no stopping it, so it should be interesting to see in the next few years what it does to modern music.

What else can you say about MySpace? It is a bit nuts, and kind of a stalker’s paradise, dont’cha think? hah!. But no, seriously, it has indeed helped market our band outside of Texas and to communicate and set up shows with other bands. We try to keep our little space simple and as easy on the eyes. We’ve also started to post live video footage for people in other states who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see us.

HC: Loaded question: what do you think of the indepedent music scene in Houston? With venues that normally cater to underground and indie acts closing, what do you think will happen in the area? Will it be good for up-and-coming bands or worse?

MR: When I moved back here, I remember asking where The Abyss, The Urban Art Bar, or where the Blue Iguana went. I’m constantly playing catch up, and trying to learn about the bands, venues and the scene while I was gone. For Phil and I especially, after living in Corpus with a nonexistent indie-rock scene, we’re pretty thankful for the one we have here.

I think the indie scene in Houston is interesting, because for the most part, you don’t have a lot of people making music to be famous or get a record deal. There’s a lot of honest, raw stuff because people have the freedom to do whatever they want here. They just want to rock out, and make some noise, without necessarily trying to ‘make it’ career-wise. I’ve seen a lot of local bands starting to tour more and develop their material, which is great.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen far too often that it’s hard to keep a band together in this city. Houston is so spread out geographically, that if the band members don’t live in a relative close proximity to one another it can make things, like practice, very difficult.

In regards to recent closings, I think it will be fine. It’s a cycle. People still want to see live music. The national indie touring acts are less likely to skip Houston now. Super Unison, IHeartU, and Hatetank, among others, are still putting together great shows that yield great crowds. With the Internet, younger, and up-and-coming bands are more connected now, and creating their own networks, starting their own labels, and booking their own shows. If I had the money, I’d love to open a venue.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

MR: Ween covering “Battle.” Totally!

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

MR: Ah, I don’t hate anything, really. I’m just glad people are at least listening. Does “too-loud” count?

HC: What’s next for Sharks and Sailors? Will you guys tour outside the state?

MR: Yes, in May. Looking to go up through the Midwest to Chicago. More recording for sure, and we’re already eyeballing our next release. We have a boatload of video footage that we’ve compiled too. I’ve really gotten into video production in the past few years and would love to put out a DVD one of these days.

HC: What is in your CD player right now? Any recommendations

MR: Lemme see…

Mastodon – Remission / Traindodge – The Truth / Massive Attack – Mezzanine / Pink Floyd – Animals / DJ Shadow – all / Fripp & Eno – The Equatorial Stars / Autolux – Future Perfect / Big Business – Head For the Shallow / Brant Bjork – Saved by Magic / Dungen – Ta det Lugnt / Miles Davis – In a Silent Way Complete Sessions / Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy / M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts / Sunn0)) – Black One / Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin / Tomahawk – s/t / Jesu – s/t / Juno – A Future Live in Past Tense / Madvillian – Madvilliany / Polvo – Exploded Drawing / Rumah Sakit – s/t (I heard this for the first time last night, fun stuff)

Special thanks to Mike from Sharks and Sailors for taking the time to answer these questions.

Please be sure to come out to the band’s CD release show this Saturday night at Rudz — and be sure to pick up a copy of Sharks and Sailors’ new EP. Great local music.

Find more information on the band at their MySpace website or at their official website.

Now Playing in my iPod: Arthur YoriaSomething Must Be Wrong EP

Tags: Music

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Paul Rollin // Jan 10, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    Grat Interview, M-Mike. Good Luck. Get Rich, so you can pay for My Care in about 20 years.


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