SondorBlue | The Vinyl Dish Interview

Hailing from charming Charleston, South Carolina, indie-rock band SondorBlue have developed quite the name for themselves. Made up of longtime friends- John, Connor, Andrew and Drew, SondorBlue have refined their music into a unique sound and built a growing fan-base by showcasing their music locally and through their YouTube channel. We got the chance to interview the band to learn more about them, their upcoming EP and of course, their favourite foods!

Check out our interview below:

Tell us a little bit about yourselves. How’d you get started as a band? 

We all grew up together on Hilton Head Island, SC. Although we have known each for 7+ years, the entity of SondorBlue wasn’t created until about 2 years ago, when we decided to start showcasing our original music. We made a sudden shift and started from scratch when Drew Lewis joined us on drums. Before we added drums, we were primarily an acoustic group. And in the last 2 years, our music has continually been refined. Each of us have a unique musical background, whether it’s Andrew Halley’s affinity for R&B and Soul, Connor’s young love for rock n’ roll, or John’s singer-songwriter flare, or Drew’s perfect time. Our music is very collaborative and we think that’s what makes it so interesting. We love to integrate 3-part harmonies into our songs because it finds a way to marry all of our individual influences into one cohesive brand new genre.

Describe your creative process – what headspace do you need to get into before you start?

Our songwriting process is very collaborative, and we draw our inspiration from everyday life. Music is the best way we know how to express ourselves and make sense of all the things we feel. Typically, one of us presents a song idea, or the essence of a song, to the group. Then, we toss it around and try to piece together everyone’s ideas to create something uniquely SondorBlue.

Your most recent single, “OPINIONS” is a pretty heavy and powerful song- tell us about the inspiration behind this?

Being a young and up-and-coming band, a lot of people are willing to offer their thoughts and opinions on how the band should operate, what we should sound like, and how we should dress. At first, we tried to politely listen to everyone, but we quickly realized that is an impossible task. This song was the tipping point. Andrew inspired the song and brought it to us on bass. We knew right away it was going to be a heavy hitter. The song perfectly captured the angst of feeling overwhelmed with the overload of other’s opinions. 

You’re certainly growing a fan-base as we can tell by your social media, where do you see yourselves going in the future? What are your goals and direction from a musical standpoint? 

Thank you! Just like starting any business, it’s a process. The first couple of years can come along with several fatal blows. But, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to recover from anything. And, thus far, we have… and just for that reason alone, anything is possible. We hope one day to headline large tours, sing to bigger and bigger crowds, and get the chance to see more of the world through the lens of our original music.

Musically, we see our music constantly evolving with time as we personally do too. Our second EP is coming out at the end of September and we feel that is an accurate, creative representation of our experiences over the last year or so. Our first EP was very methodical and smooth. For this second EP we live tracked the songs in the studio, so the energy and performance jumps out a bit more.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up?

Andrew: I listened to a lot of soul music growing up… Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson (on the more “pop” front). However, this was around my sophomore year of high school, when I actually started to “grow up” and cultivate my own style and taste. But, as a kid, my father would always play The Police and U2, two artists I look up to at this very moment. 

John: I didn’t start heavily listening to albums until early high school. My first big-time artist I studied was Ed Sheeran. I saw him in concert and knew from that moment on I needed to perform and make original music. Coldplay and Kodaline were fundamental to my musical growth. The first song on my iPod was “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw. I was also huge into some of the early YouTube artists like Timeflies & Tyler Ward.

Connor: Pretty much all of my early musical influences were introduced to me by my mother, bands like Supertramp, Styx, The Eagles. Growing up listening to that music has had a big influence on how I write songs today. 

As you may know, we are a music and food blog, so we’d love to know, who’s the cook amongst you? What’s the best thing you’ve ever made?

Probably John or Connor. John is the back-to-basics man who can whip up some delicious avocado, rice and beans at any hour of the day. Super cost effective and an easy clean up! Connor explores some different territory, and makes a great pasta primavera. I wouldn’t say we’re elegant cooks, we just keep it simple with a healthy, plant-based diet. 

South Carolina and Toronto are certainly different, we’d love to know what’s life like in South Carolina? What’s the music scene where you live?

Charleston is a beautiful, old city. The heat is heavy in the summers and there are big palm trees and magnolia trees all around. There are lots of young artistic people here so the scene is great— and there are some cool venues around here to play in. 

Most memorable meal or restaurant you’ve experienced?

The most memorable meal on tour was at MAFIAoZA’s in Nashville. It was 2 for 1 night and the Nashville Predators were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The pizza and beer were amazing! And, to top it all off, after an intense game, the Predators won and the whole place erupted! 

Top things to do in South Carolina? Best places to eat?

Andrew: Well, since we live in Charleston, which is, in my humble opinion, the food capital of the South, I’ll rattle off some of the superb restaurants that we frequent when we’re home. If we’re feeling Mexican food, Sean Brock’s restaurant, Minero, has the best burrito- THE Minero Burrito- I’ve ever had (not an exaggeration). My favorite sushi joint is, undoubtedly, O-Ku on King Street- their potato roll is incredible! Lastly, we try and stick to a mainly plant-based diet, so when we’re feeling strictly vegan dishes, Dellz Uptown’s jazzy pizza and Gnome Cafe’s reuben are always the go-to’s! 

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Listen to SondorBlue on Spotify:

 

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