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QRD #40 - Happy Father's Day! - June 2009
about this issue
interviews with:
Nicholas Slaton of slicnaton
Shaun Sandor of Promute
Jeremy M Lange, photographer
Chris Bonner of THe BAcksliders
Matthew Kendall of Rogue Motel
BevanHurdof The VeryFoundation
Michael Jarmer of Here Comes Everybody
Chris Williams of Maple Stave
Brian John Mitchell of Remora
Kyle Monday of Carta
Bill Tollner of Amadan
Sacha Galvagna of Carta
RobertBrownof Northern Valentine
Benjamin LÝzninger of LÝzninger
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Interview with Shaun Sandor of Promute & Bicameral Mind 
June 2009

Shaun Sandor does dark ambient music as Promute & Bicameral Mind & runs the Blondena Music record label.  He’s also a studio engineer & occasionally works for Silber Records.  He’s been a dad for just a few months.

Name: Shaun Sandor
Bands: Promute, Bicameral Mind
Website: www.blondenamusic.com

QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?

Shaun – I was about 9 or 10 when I realized that music was always going to be a big part of my life.  I used to make my own “mix tapes” by recording songs off the radio onto cassette.  It was a red boombox.  I only had 2 cassettes, so they got taped over every week.  I got my first guitar at 11.

QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?

Shaun – Past, playing guitar in a three piece at a battle of the bands in high school.  We put the band together on a Monday; played the contest on a Friday.  It was the most fun I ever had on stage.  With my current ambient project, having an improvised jam with Craig Hilton, Will Connor, & Steve Beresford in London.  The space was posh.  I could feel the crowd breathe when we ended.  It was a terrific experience.

QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?

Shaun – I knew I would have at least one child since I was a teenager.  It always felt right to me & I always felt that I have something to offer.  It was just a matter of finding the woman who it would feel right with together.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?

Shaun – The only negative impact that comes to mind is the scheduling issue.  I am not really in a position to afford infant daycare, so my wife & I split duties as much as possible.  Our daughter goes with at least one of us wherever we go.  This makes recording & playing shows more challenging than before.  It also makes the extra time I spend supporting my friends’ projects a little more complicated.
A positive aspect would be that I find myself playing acoustic instruments around the baby more & trying to see how she reacts to music & different instruments.  Also, I sing more, & it’s good practice even though I really suck at it.  I find that trying to look at music from a baby’s perspective can lead to some interesting creative ideas.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?

Shaun – No doubt that when I schedule a show or get invited to play music with somebody it leaves my wife in a position to have to watch our daughter without my help.  So again, the negative boils down to scheduling.  Sometimes she might really need to get something done, but I had a show planned so when I step out for the evening it becomes more of a challenge for her. 
On a positive note, I have read about music being a huge part of speech development & coordination & rhythm.  I understand that many cultures expose their children to music early on.  It makes sense to sing out words that help babies learn.  I am happy to have music as part of my life & hopefully it will help my daughter learn things in a neat way.

QRD – Has your daughter effected the music you make &/or listen to?

Shaun – Yes.  With regards to what I generally put in my stereo at home I try to find something that might be interesting to a very first time listener.  Esquivel & Frank Zappa come to mind.  I usually leave the Ministry or Godflesh type stuff for when my wife is watching the baby.  With regards to making music I am trying to use different sound sources, such as xylophone or concertina, as opposed to guitar or noise boxes.  Maybe instead of a soundtrack to a horror film, I have been thinking more of a soundtrack to a cartoon.

QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?

Shaun – Lack of steady money from music has been an issue for the last 15 years, so it really hasn’t been that much of an adjustment.

QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on being a touring musician, would you have toured more earlier in life if you’d known?

Shaun – Yes.  I should have started touring several years ago instead of just 2 years ago.  Might have made a big difference.  Although I don’t feel like I CAN’T do it now, but more that I need to be more creative & responsible about HOW I do it.

QRD – Do you think being a father and a musician has an impact on your community?

Shaun – I hope so.  I think that if my peers see first hand that I can make it work & be happy, then maybe they will truly believe that it can work for them if they choose.

QRD – Would you rather see your child eventually become a musician or parent?

Shaun – A musician OR a parent?  Let’s see.  I hope to see my child do both, as long as that is what she wants.  I have a feeling though, that music will be a part of her life long before she becomes a parent. 

QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in.  How do you end up dividing your time?

Shaun – Not easy.  Sometimes it really isn’t dividing your time, but meshing childcare & music into one thing.  I can print CDs while holding & talking with my baby.  That’s not really making music, but it’s still a part of what I do.  Working with a baby’s attention span is a big part of it.  When she’s had enough of me, I can sit her right next to me & run a mix or something without really holding her & let her play.  Using my time wisely when my wife is taking care of the baby is the best way to get anything accomplished.

QRD – What does your daughter think of your music?

Shaun – Not much right now at this point.  She’s still quite young to have preferences like that.  Although, she doesn’t cry when I have played my music, so I guess that’s a good thing.

QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your child?

Shaun – Yes, & I am looking forward to it.  In fact we did an EP.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Shaun – None of this is easy so you best be ready to work at it. 

Links:
Official Promute Website
Official Blondena Music Website
Official Shaun Sandor Website
Promute on MySpace
Bicameral Mind on MySpace
 
Other QRD interviews with Shaun Sandor:
Interview with Shaun Sandor of Promute (October 2013)
Label owner interview with Shaun Sandor of Blondena (March 2013)