with Shaun Sandor of Promute & Bicameral Mind
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
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
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.
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.