He may have studied Acoustical Engineering, but it is the soulful vocals of Jon Sandman that captured my heart. Typically performing as a guitarist in other musical projects, the solo project of the English singer-songwriter is far more eclectic. Incorporating acoustic instrumentation with electronic beats, Jon produces a new breed of, well, we can’t exactly label it. Jon took time out to speak with us about his single ‘Courage Up’, future plans and much more.
What is the backstory behind your single ‘Courage Up’?
I wrote ‘Courage Up’ out of my parent’s attic quite a few years ago now while I was home from university over the summer. It was kind of inspired by meeting all these new people and about that mutual excitement when you just click with someone. It’s actually about a particular person – but I can’t say who.
What was the writing and recording process like?
This was pretty early on, before I started collecting all the music equipment I have now. We refer to this as ‘GAS’ (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I recorded most of the guitar using an weird beige computer mic from the early 00s and a cheap condenser mic that I picked up. It was all recorded in my bedroom.
If you could change one thing about ‘Courage Up’ what would it be?
‘Courage Up’ is one of my simpler songs and I think it is better for it; but, if I went around again I would beef up the last chorus somehow. I’d almost certainly get some guests on the backing vocals! More cowbell?
Why did you opt to record an alternative version of ‘Courage Up’?
I love experimenting with my sound and I’m actually a huge fan of electronica. Sometimes, when I listened back to ‘Courage Up’, it felt a bit slow to me so I decided to revisit it in a more electronic context. I actually wrote the alternative version of ‘Courage Up’ using nothing more than my laptop keyboard as a MIDI input!
What do you hope people take from the single and your music in general?
I guess I just want people to feel like they want to come back for more! I also put a lot of time into my lyrics. I hope that people find them thoughtful, interesting and, in some cases, funny.
How would you describe your music?
My taste in music is pretty eclectic which comes across in my music, I think. If you had to put me in a particular genre it’d probably be alternative rock, which is about as vague as you can get.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music, particularly in today’s climate?
I still love radio – BBC 6 Music is my favourite. You should listen to your local BBC Introducing show if you’re looking to find something new. I actually use last.fm to discover a lot of new music. Also, have a hunt around on the internet and find yourself a music discovery blogger that has a similar taste to you!
Do you believe your UK background plays any role in the development of your sound?
I listened to a lot of British indie-pop when I was younger. I suppose this might have some influence.
Do you have any future plans?
A new Jon & Abbie single is coming soon shortly followed by our debut EP. In terms of solo stuff, I have a bit of a back-catalogue that I’m gearing up to release. An acoustic album, a break-up album (yeah, yeah, I know) and a couple of others.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Sure! I’d probably say take it easy. Oh, and check out my YouTube channel. I’m trying to get into the habit of regularly posting live session videos and I’d love to hear what you think.