Posted by: Nick | September 3, 2008

Interview with Ian Brannigan of The Shondes

The Shondes (their new album, The Red Sea, was one of my top albums of January 2008) played at The Rud back in December and now they are back for more, playing at Headliner’s on Friday, September 5th with Venus Trap (a great compliment to The Shondes), Lucky Pineapple (one of Louisville’s best) and Young Widows (new album, Old Wounds, out this month).

The ShondesWill You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Guitarist, Ian Brannigan, took some time to answer some of our questions…

BS: Your new album, The Red Sea, has been getting great reviews everywhere…what has been the most satisfying thing said about the album?

IB: There have been a number of really good reviews, so it’s hard to pinpoint but I think my favorites have been the ones that didn’t try to pigeon-hole or “identify” what we are doing in a few words – but instead really listened to the music and wrote the review after trying to sort of “interact” with it. Reviews that listened to the arrangements, the songwriting, the lyrics and then came back saying they really enjoyed it tend to be the most rewarding for me – I think it says that we had an effect on the person rather than just filling their need to hear something that sounds similar to band-x.

BS: I read somewhere that the bassist for Pere Ubu produced the album, how much of an influence did David Thomas & Co. have on your sound?

IB: I love Pere Ubu. They wrote incredible songs, were musically/stylistically talented and versatile and wrote good lyrics. Tony Mamone was the first person (after contacting quite a few people) that immediately was excited about working with us – he heard the songs from our demo (Lets Go, I Watched The Temple Fall and Your Monster) and understood what we were trying to do and how he could make that work. Being a fan of Pere Ubu, I thought this made perfect sense and it was really exciting and rewarding working with him.

So far as our actual sound is concerned, I don’t know how much of Pere Ubu you hear in the Shondes. I hear it in the way I think about certain parts or hear certain parts – so it’s definitely an influence on my writing and guitar playing – but I don’t know if it’s immediately discernible to most listeners.

BS: This is the second time (at least) that you have played in Louisville, do you have any connections in the area?

IB: We’ve played at the Rudyard Kipling twice before the upcoming show at Headliner’s and we’ve always had a great time in Louisville. The folks in the band Venus Trap have always been great to us and the community we’ve gotten to connect with there has been super nice and really supportive. Louisville shows are always fun and packed and sweaty in all the best ways!

BS: I took a look at your tour schedule and it looks grueling…any band rituals on the road?

IB: Usually, later in tour when the longer drives start to get to us we fixate on some sort of roadside food-stop, be it fresh berries or fast-food or some good snacks. This tends to be sort of fun and will sometimes result on us taking odd detours. We’ve recently discovered the gift of audiobooks/comedy cds which pass the time really quickly. And then, there is always 90210 (the original series) and we have Season 5 on DVD with us to watch when we need to wind-down.

BS: You are known not to shy from politics…any comment on McCain’s new running mate?

IB: I mean, it’s totally classic that he would choose this woman – who is quite right-wing – as his running mate when running against Obama. It’s pretty sick, actually.

BS: Back to music….what can we expect at the show on Friday?

IB: We have a lot of new material that we’re excited to be playing out this tour, so you’ll get that mixed in with songs from the album. This is the second time we’ve toured with the songs from the album so I’d say that the level at which we’re performing them is quite high since we know them so so well now. It should be really fun, I know we’ll be having fun.

I’ve seen Venus Trap before and they’re always good plus I’m excited to be playing with Young Widows and Lucky Pineapple, so the show should be a good one, definitely not worth missing.


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