The Young Sinclairs

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The Young Sinclairs weren'€™t exactly what I expected them to be but that'€™s a great thing. Hearing songs on their myspace, I imagined them to be one of those indie (which they are!) and softer rock (which they aren'€™t!). When I met up with the boys back earlier this summer, I met a true rock and roll band which we aren'€™t exactly having all over the website right now. These boys were a breath of fresh air for me and are bringing it back to the classic style of music that'€™s been missed. Be it the way they go about making music with vinyl records to their pure love for what they'€™re doing, this band isn'€™t one to miss.

Coming out of Roanoke, Virginia the band had just played their first night with Brian Jamestown Massacre and we talked about everything Sinclairs. From how they got their name to how they normally go through the songwriting process to maybe not their classiest appearance. Read on for everything on this young band and be sure to keep an eye on them. If they keep on going on what they'€™re doing (they'€™re about nine full length records in), you'€™ll want to be the one who knew about them first!

Alright, scoot over here a little bit.
Daniel: Scoot over!
Scooting over! A little soft one to start. If you could collaborate with let'€™s say any other alive artist like touring band or artist, who do you think they would be and why?
Daniel: Anyone?
Sam: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I would love to play with them because I love their music. Man that'€™s a really tough question. There'€™s so many.
Daniel: I knew you were going to say Tom Petty. I mean if I was thinking of like big bands, stuff like that I would kind of want to do that too or like REM would be fun or like something like that. As far as like major like huge bands but otherwise I don'€™t know.
Sam: I don'€™t really listen to a lot of new music to tell you the truth. I listen to old music. That'€™s what I'€™m in too. There are random snatches of coolness out there but nothing really springs to mind except Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Then how did you become the line up you are today?
Sam: Well it started with myself, Daniel and John who plays drums. We actually played a show as a trio. We played a party and it was horrendous.
Daniel: It was really bad. John like puked all over a amp or something.
Sam: He fell out of his drum stool and almost knocked my amp over. Knocked a beer over that was on top of my amp and then we got Sean on guitar. We knew him from working at the Granden theatre like we worked together and I went to high school with him so then he joined and then we actually went through a couple other keyboard players before we got to Jonathan our present one. Daniel plays in another band with him so he was always around and we shared equipment a lot and eventually he just started playing with us and he'€™s been with us ever since.
Daniel: I wouldn'€™t mind playing with Wilco. They would be fun too. That'€™s true. I'€™m not going to mention any like small independent bands. They'€™re a good band, I'€™d love to play with them. They'€™d be fun.

Why The Young Sinclairs for the name?
Sam: The name?
Daniel: Well it just sounds snappy and nice. It sounds good but to tell you the truth-
Sam: There were other-
Daniel: To tell you the truth, the name came from John Sinclair who, you might know who he is, but I was reading something about how he wrote a poem to the undercover officer that put him in jail. He wrote this poem that was like what are you going to do when your children smoke weed and this and this and that. What are you going to do when all the children in the world smoke pot. What don'€™t you want us to be? What will you do then and then it popped into my head but then I just kind of forgot about it until we started playing and then we were thinking of band names and I remembered that. That'€™s really where the band'€™s name comes from. But really it just sounds good. I think it'€™s a nice little name.

And then your last album was recently put out but only released on vinyl-
Sam: Yeah.
Was there a certain reason you chose to release it just on vinyl?
Sam: Um the idea was to do vinyl and then also have it available digitally. Digital download. So the way it is now with digital technology you don'€™t really need the disc anymore because most people, a lot of people these days, listen to music on their computers and their iPods. We, the band and Kindercore Records, felt like to release a new CD would be somewhat like getting on a sinking ship more or less. Just like I said as far as listening to music in digital form, you don'€™t necessarily need to go out and purchase a compact disc with the information on it. You can just get on the internet and download the information directly to your computer so basically the disc serves as like a middle man and we decided to eliminate the middle man. So you either have total digital or total analog with the vinyl.
Daniel: Plus we'€™re fucking into fucking records.
Sam: Records are awesome.
Daniel: Records are a lot more fun then anything.
Sam: They are the most fun.
Daniel: They look good, they sound good, the size is great, the artwork looks good.

How have kids been reacting to it?
Sam: The record?
Are the kids knowing the music? I know some of it is older material..
Sam: In some places, more regionally. Not necessarily places like this but places around Virginia. We will like start a song and people are raising fists and stuff but not so much not that I'€™ve noticed like in cities like this. Daniel?
Daniel: Um I don'€™t know. I think there were some songs on that album that people responded to tonight. So yeah I think people know. I think ones that were on the computer, that are like on the internet, people are kind of familiar with so when we play them live they'€™re like '€˜oh I know that one!'€™ so I think there'€™s a few familiar tunes people respond to off that album.

How do you normally go about the writing process for your music? Is it one person, is it more collective, is it different every time?
Sam: It is different. My method I usually do everything myself because when I write a song, I'€™ll hear the finished product in my head like all of the instruments, all the harmonies and everything. So then what I'€™ll do is go in the studio and just lay it down on every instrument. Bass line, drums, guitars, vocals and so in a way going into the studio is a big part of the process. I don'€™t know how to read music so I don'€™t write it out. I don'€™t write charts or anything so to make it real, I make a demo of it or whatever you want to call it. Sometimes we end up using the original demo as a song just because they sound really cool. That'€™s what works for me but you know a lot of people do it different and not every song we play is like that but a lot of the songs we play are ones that I'€™ve written and that'€™s how I do it but we do collaborate. We all write a lot. We all record a lot and sometimes one person will do the music and another person will do the lyrics. Occasionally not a lot will we all collaborate. It will usually be individual but there'€™s not like a rule to it like '€˜we'€™re always going to do my songs'€™.
Daniel: Sam'€™s the main writer for the Young Sinclairs. Yeah everybody else like writes a little bit here and there and it'€™s definitely like we all have our similar ways of writing. I think we all are into music so much that when we do write, we do hear a lot of stuff so when we do record it ourselves there'€™s like basically a finished product there once it'€™s done being recorded. But then maybe John'€™s hanging around when I'€™m recording like, well I can'€™t really play the bass that well, John can. '€œHey John can you put a bass line on this?'€ There you go!

Then how has this tour been going so far?
Sam: Well this is our first one.
First show?
Sam: Yeah this is the first one.
How many dates
Daniel: It'€™s like five or six days.
I feel bad that you'€™re missing their first performance then.
Sam: It'€™s like four shows total. It'€™s okay! They'€™re going to play a while.
Daniel: Yeah.
Sam: And we'€™re gonna see them plenty more times! Yeah this is our first show and yeah honestly so far it'€™s been tremendous. There was a great communication between us and the crowd. We were all feeling each other and they really responded to it.
Daniel: We just fucking rocked man.
Sam: We rocked!

What made you start getting interested in doing music?
Sam: Each of us individually?
John: What'€™s the question?
Sam: For me it was just always around growing up. My mom plays piano and sings. I have uncles that were drummers. My grandmother plays piano and was in the church choir. I grew up in a church. My mom was in the choir. My dad is a huge music lover. He always had tons of CD'€™s and was always into records and was always playing tons of music. So I just grew up with it and then there was instruments laying around the house too and so I would pick them up and do what I could with them and eventually it just took over. It was like I just was obsessed with music like I was into sports, I was into comic books, trading cards and then all that just fell by the wayside and music just took over and it rules my life and I love it.
Daniel: I think I'€™ve always been subtlety into music when I was younger but I thought about it a whole lot and then as I got older I think that I realized that music is like one of the most important art forms as far as the medium and it'€™s the one that people more directly associate and respond to. It'€™s like if I look at a painting or something like that, I'€™m going to be like '€˜oh okay'€™ but people respond and like what you do through music because it'€™s so much more then visual and it is visual. I don'€™t really know what I'€™m trying to say but it'€™s just super like the most powerful art form I think that has ever existed. And even to call it a art form is to really not call it by it'€™s rightful name. It'€™s super like spirit of rock and roll kind of shit that I believe in and it has control of me. It has control of me like it has control of Sam and I have no control over it. John?
Want to share?
John: Um, I'€™m good.

What can kids look forward to when coming out to a live show? Like how do you go about them?
Sam: Well we play some what short simple and catchy songs. Generally three minutes or less with lots of hooks and if you come see us, we'€™re going to play a lot of snappy, catchy rock and roll numbers and you'€™re going to dance and smile and love every minute of it.
Daniel: Basically music has been existing for a while and we are definitely like reinterpreting things and then we'€™re basically playing that and it'€™s rock and roll. It'€™s a rock and roll show. It'€™s people'€™s music and things like that. If you come see us, there'€™s not going to be any gimmicks or smoke and mirrors. It'€™s just good fucking rock and roll. Good songs. Just great music but it'€™s not just great music. It'€™s not just rock and roll.
Sam: It'€™s not!
Daniel: It'€™s nothing fancy really.
Sam: It'€™s not a fad.
Daniel: It'€™s nothing fancy. It'€™s not a fad. We'€™re not trying to fool you. We do what we do and that'€™s what we do and if you like it, great. If you don'€™t-
Sam: Well fuck you!
Daniel: Well great. No if you don'€™t like it, that'€™s great too and you know that'€™s your choice.

Then a little goofy one. What'€™s one of the craziest things you have seen while on the road?
Daniel: Oh my lord. We'€™ve seen a lot of crazy things. Let me think for a second. I got to think of like the best one.
Sam: Man I'€™ve got one but I can'€™t say it.
Those are the best kind.
Sam: But I can'€™t say it.
John: I mean nothing really jumps to mind.
Daniel: Ugh I can'€™t think of anything good. I mean there'€™s so much. We'€™re so un rock and roll. I thought we were rock and roll.
Sam: What about some times at the Green Dolphin? Crazy things have happened there. This is gonna be a while.
They'€™re like cleaning up the beer bottles and we'€™re still going to be here
Daniel: We'€™ll just make something up. I don'€™t know.
Make up a story yeah!
Daniel: This is our story!
Your crazy story!
John: That'€™s the juiciest stuff! At our old practice space. Guys like hanging outside our space. Huffing paint.
Daniel: People doing really fucked up shit. Trying to create and do this big project and sometimes leaving the door unlocked would be a major mistake because some one could clearly just walk through.
They would just walk on through!?
Daniel: They would just be walking through. All huffed up. That'€™s not that crazy but I mean-
John: We'€™re gonna think of so many things later and we'€™re going to be like '€˜oh my god!'€™ Can we get back to you on this question?
You can!
John: Okay.

Then you boys have quite the online presence with your music, your myspace. I know Daniel you were telling me how you pretty much all do it on your own. How do you think it'€™s affected your success with kids like knowing your songs up here?
Daniel: I think right now it'€™s just kind of what we'€™ve been doing for a while. I mean we'€™ve been a band for like five years so you know we'€™ve put out like eight or nine albums and it'€™s just been all us basically doing it. Yeah I don'€™t know as far as how it affects our success. It'€™s hard to think of answers. All of this stuff is just built into us and it makes it difficult and questions like that are tough because I mean everyone says this but this is like a treat. Us being able to do this but if we weren'€™t doing this, we would be practicing or recording. These things happen and we'€™re blessed to be able to play to this many people but I mean none of this stuff really affects. I mean it'€™s weird to even talk about that outside stuff affecting you because this is just so simple. Like this is what we do. Just like a guy who works on cars. That'€™s just what he does. I mean there'€™s bigger stuff that surrounds this but this is just like every day. Me and Sam have talked. If nothing ever happens and nobody ever bought the music, none of that stuff really matters. If people hear us, that'€™s great but I'€™m going to go home and record and I'€™m going to go home and keep doing this. People want answers to this stuff that'€™s very big and I want to give people answers but at the same time, it'€™s very simplified. Like we just write pop songs and there'€™s other stuff we do but what we'€™re interviewing about is just pop music. With some energy but there'€™s simplicity to all this. Whether or not the outside world existed, we would still be doing what we do now. So I mean whatever. I think if a label really wanted to support us and came out, I think we would be like yeah great, that'€™s awesome. I think we all want to do this for our life and whether or not some one else backs us up doesn'€™t matter because we back each other up right now. Ourselves so we'€™re going to exist whether or not they exist.

And then two little goofy ones to end it. What was the first show you went to and then the first CD you bought as a kid?
Sam: I got mine. My first show was ZZ Top and George Thoroughgood and The Destroyers opened up. That was in third or fourth grade and the first CD I bought it was a cassette tape. It was Another Bad Creation '€œCoolin at the Playground You Know!'€ That was my first album.
Daniel: Okay my first show would have been Poison. It wasn'€™t. My mom wouldn'€™t let me then it would have been Smashing Pumpkins but my mom wouldn'€™t let me but she let me go to Hootie and the Blowfish. So Hootie and the Blowfish was my first show and my first CD that I ever bought was the Smashing Pumpkins but I stole my first CD from my older brother and it was a White Lions CD. Okay John, Sean? You guys want to play?
Sean: Let'€™s see. My name'€™s Sean, I play rhythm guitar. Let'€™s see my first show, my first like full on real concert, was the Doobie brothers at the Roanoke Civic center and there was an opening band that was just kind of a local band that did AC/DC covers. That part was hit or miss but the Doobie brothers were right on and my first CD that I ever bought was Nirvana'€™s '€œNevermind'€. Yeah I bought it because my brother was a big fan and he kind of turned me on to it and it just blew my mind and kind of made me want to play guitar in a sense.

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