TheBloodbeat recently caught up with the Sandwitches over a few drinks to hear what’s been going on since their record, How to Make Ambient Sad Cake, and get a little more sense of how these Bay Area suburbanites came to make their rustic jams.
If you haven’t heard their brooding Americana meets melodic 60’s doo-wop yet, do your eyes and ears a favor and check out their video for “Kiss Your Feet”:
TheBloodBeat: So tell me a little bit about what’s going with you guys now? You put a record out last year (How to Make Ambient Sad Cake), you played a bunch of shows..
Heidi: Yea, we played a bunch of shows. We went on a short tour, and then we went on a long tour. And now we’re taking a bit of an extended hiatus to fuck around and work on ourselves.
BB: Thats always important.
Grace: Yea it will probably be at least another couple of months.
BB: The record was on Turn Up Records. Tell me a little bit about how you got in with those guys?
H: Marc is a friend of ours. Last year he called us up, said he was thinking he wanted to start this label and wanted to put on a Sandwitches record as his first release because he liked our songs and was a real supportive. He thought it’d be a good way to start off so we were like yea, sure, of course! And he was kind of old fashioned about it. He was willing to put up the money and have us go into the studio and do the recordings and do it in a real cool way so it was great.
BB: And where is the studio?
H: In the East Bay.
G: This place called The Wally Sound Studio, run by this guy Wally. He’s a cool rockin’ dude and this place is in his garage.
BB: So Sonny is also on the label?
H: Yea Sonny is. Marc is doing I think 5 of his 7”s. Sonny is doing a series of 100 7”s as this conceptual masterpiece.
BB: I saw it at Gallery 16 when you guys played there, and he played as well. Really cool idea.
H: It’s so cool.
BB: So are you friendly with Sonny as well? He’s like a Bay Area staple huh?
G: We both recorded on some of those 7”s.
BB: That’s cool. And Grace, you put out a solo record recently, Grace Sings Sludge?
G: Yea, I recorded a bunch of songs on my own. It was a bunch of recordings I made last year and my friend liked them and put them out as a limited tape release.
BB: Very cool. And you also in your other time work at Amoeba Records?
G: Yea, I’ve been there about 3 years. It’s like a big dysfunctional family there. Everybody’s really nice and usually a musician.
BB: You must listen to a shit load of music from working there?
G: I’m not quite as obsessive or expert as some of my co-workers. But yea…
BB: Is there anything you’re really stoked on now that you’re listening to?
G: My friend is putting out a Michael Yonkers record so I’ve been listening to him a lot.
H: I got a bunch of music from my roommate recently. So I’ve sort of been slowly making my way through. I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz recently. John Surman, Don Cherry, and am seeking some new pop experiences.
BB: So how do you guys know each other?
G: We met through her ex-boyfriend who worked at Amoeba. So we became friends and hit it off. She gave me a bunch of songs that I really liked. Then she gave me a CD of her recordings.
H: Yea we both did a bunch of recordings, we swapped, and both liked each others stuff.
BB: What do you use for home recording equipment or software?
H: I just use my computer. Mostly GarageBand on there.
G: I have a little digital 8 track that I use sometimes. But mostly GarageBand as well.
BB: More recently you put out the video for “Kiss Your Feet,” which Joey Izzo produced, how did you guys get hooked up with him?
G: He’s my honey.
BB: Oh nice. So when you’re working on new music, it seems like you split on the vocals, do you both bring in stuff you’ve been working on and go from there?
H: Yea, pretty much. I think we both enjoy being in lead and supporting roles so that works out nice. Both vocally and instrumentally. Songwriting wise its a pretty happy union, because all the different sides of it are different and satisfying.
BB: You have really complimentary voices, it make sense.
H: Ha, yea we like singing together.
BB: So any plans for shows coming up?
G: Not for a little bit.
H: I think our next show is in August. We’re not really trying to book anything until that.
BB: The first time I saw you guys play at Cafe de Nord you had a guy drummer, and then when I saw you at Gallery 16 you had a girl drummer…
H: The girl, Roxy, was our drummer on the album. Lance is our current drummer who went on tour with us.
G: He’s in a few other bands and he had a show that night at Gallery 16. He plays with Tongue and Teeth.
H: I thought they were going by Zoo?
G: I think it might be Teeth and Tongue. Or Zoo, haha.
BB: I read somewhere that you used to play with the Fresh & Onlys?
H: Both of us. We were back-up singers. We met through my ex-boyfriend who is Tim Cohen, who is the lead songwriter.
G: He recorded our EP that’s coming with Wymond from the Fresh & Onlys.
BB: When is that coming out?
G: Pretty soon.
H: I think we just got the record sleeves for it.
BB: Is that two legged cat going to be on it again?
G: No, we did the art for it this time.
BB: Is that on Turn Up as well?
H: No, it’s going to be on Empty Cellar.
G: Our friend Greg recorded it.
H: Empty Cellar is part of Empty Nest. There are levels this collective I guess. It’s Arvel Hernandez and Greg Gardner. Arvel doesn’t work at Amoeba anymore but he once did. So it’s those two guys putting it out.
BB: And no bassist right? Is that intentional?
H: We’re always looking! We’ve had some candidates. Bunch of flakes!
G: I like the way the songs sound with the bass on the album but I’m not really in any hurry to expand the band. We’re getting better. We’ve been working on harmonies on the guitar to make it sound a little fuller.
H: There’s always a touchy social dynamic in a band too. Bringing in another person is kind of a terrifying prospect. It’s gotta be the perfect person.
BB: Where do you practice around here?
G: In the TL at Park and Taylor.
H: Francisco Studios. It’s three stories, there are tons of bands there. Francisssco.
BB: Did you both grow up around here? Your music sounds much more like a small town, country folk origin. If you told me you both grew up in Oklahoma I’d be like, yea I know…
G: I’m from the suburbs.
H: Menlo Park.
BB: Well where the hell did you come up with this sound?
G: I have no idea what comes out.
H: It just happened pretty naturally I guess. We had those songs and that’s just how they sounded when we played them together. And we played them together a bunch so we filled them in. Everybody has kind of a good ear so we just heard it out and it felt right.
- matthew hunt