“I don't remember a time when I wasn't making music. It’s my expressive language of choice because it really gives me an opportunity to tap into my subconscious. It’s a need to express myself, a need to create. Music is the only art form that seems to really move me emotionally…without it, I'd be lost.” - Shane Sweet, Sandbox
Welcome to Shane’s eclectic world, where music is art, art is music, and everything is creative and original.
Shane and his band Sandbox will be releasing their album Me and Him and Horse on March 27, 2012. “Each song is a stand alone story or experience, separate from the others for the most part. I really tried to get away from common threads in this album.”
The process of Sandbox is unique: “I write and play all the parts in the recordings. On the new record, I brought in a few specialists to play violins and horns, plus a tap dancer and a 16-person choir. But beyond all of that I play each part you hear, and live I am joined by my awesome band."
Shane and Sandbox also regularly do Art Installations in his warehouse in downtown LA. The newest one is called “The Speakeasy,” to coincide with the new album. “The Art Installations began with a sense of dissatisfaction at shows. I would always go to shows, especially to those big stadium shows with big, famous, hugely budgeted bands and I was always left thinking, they could be doing so much more with that audience, they could be wowing people so much more. So that led to me wanting to have the ‘Disneyland Effect.’ When you leave Disneyland as a kid for the first time and you hit the parking lot and realize, oh yeah, I am in this city near this freeway and in the real world, I am not in the magical world anymore. I wanted to create an event that would have that effect on adults. I wanted to create an environment, a world for all these people to disappear in and transmute in and be safe in that fantasy for awhile." Now a few Installations deep, 'The Speakeasy’ is the latest and the concept is doing a Prohibition Era ‘Speakeasy’ that is nuanced and Era specific, featuring all of the sights and sounds and attractions of that time combined with modern bands and tons of surprises including exotic animal shows, blind pig style drinking options, secret passwords and entrances, and much more.
Shane’s musical heroes are not much of a surprise…creative, introspective types, much like Shane himself. “John Lennon is definitely number one,” Shane reveals. “Lennon completely opened my eyes to how music could be made and what music could mean on an individual and on massive scale. And so much of what he did and said, whether it be the super subversive stuff of the ‘White Album’ or the simple demands of ‘Imagine,’ it all took courage, and that is most admirable. Kurt Cobain is also a hero of mine based on one simple fact: 5,000 years or so into the whole musical creation thing, he totally put a band together that creates an entire new music genre which from that point on, changed the course of popular music. The idea of what a hit could be and should be totally changed post-Nirvana.”
Sandbox will also tour extensively to support the album. What can one expect from a Sandbox live show? “Get ready for the wall of sound. We are a seven-piece band and we use all of it, the violins and keys blending with the guitars, lead vocals and harmonies abound. It's a lot of sound and we also like to change things up from show to show, so there's always a chance you'll be hearing a song performed in such a way that perhaps no one has heard performed in that fashion and perhaps no one will hear it that way again. For the installation shows it's the live experience on steroids. We bring in the choir, the tap dancer, horn sections, marching band, everything you hear on the recordings will be there live, in person, and it's always amazing to see that much stuff working together, and I think it also lends to a greater appreciation of everything that goes into recording a song, seeing it all laid out before you like that. And in general for the art installations, be prepared to be interactive: the environment, the crew, the cast, the bands, it's all part of the Installation which means you as a guest are as well! We may come up to you and expect you to be in on the rules of a Speakeasy just as quickly as you may think to ask us those very same rules. Don't be shy!”
“Our music and art are fun, thoughtful, diverse, insightful…and masked,” Shane concludes. “I want people to get a real human experience out of my music, the recordings in specific. I want people to see and experience environments from them and experience real humanness in the songs, people lie, they say things they don't mean, they don't say things they DO mean, people are coy, people say they're happy when they aren't, and all the characters in the songs are very much human in that regard, you don't find much shooting from the hip from the characters' perspectives and I hope that people see that and can connect to that sense of realness.”
As far as Sandbox’s pedigree, they’ve performed at the Fringe Festival and the Glasgow Green in the UK in addition to performing on BBC Radio 1. They’ve also performed at Hempfest, which draws a crowd of over 100k people. This year they are playing SXSW and also have three national tours. Their first performance of 2012 will be at the Maximum Exposure Showcase in February which has already sold 5000 tickets. And of course, there is “The Speakeasy.”
Stay tuned for news of Sandbox’s national tour, album release and Art Installations performances soon…
Daniel started out with little musical background. In fact, he hadn't played any instrument in his life until turning 17 years old, where he picked up his first pair of drum sticks. Inspired by drummers in the local punk scene of the outer LA area, Daniel was destined to take his punk drumming and turn it into something more. Learning from the ground up in his room with only a practice pad Daniel went from a terrible punk drummer with little music experience, to playing alternative rock, Indie, and other varying genres after finding and playing with Shane Sweet. Most of Daniels inspiration comes from watching other drummers play live. Brooks Wackerman, drummer of Bad Religion, is among one of his favorite performers. Recording 2 albums with Shane Sweet in 2 separate bands (Celestial Matinee and Glass Fence) taught him what it means to think outside the box which shows on songs such as Care Package and Windmill where he doesn't play traditional rock drumming, but instead a unique style developed from a mold of different drummers and styles. Daniel is looking to make a name for himself as both a studio drummer and a live drummer. He is comfortable both in playing written music and improvisation. Excited to play with Shane Sweet and the band Sandbox, there will be a lot more to be heard from him in 2012.
"Originally from Phoenix, AZ, Kevin Crimi moved to Los Angeles to attend USC's Thornton School of Music where he studied jazz performance. His ability to blend his jazz knowledge and artistic style to almost any musical situation for recording and performing in acts ranging across folk, rock, jazz, funk, and more. With a deep bag of tricks, including slide guitar, pedal steel, mandolin, and electronic wizardry from a heap full of equipment--much of which he designs and builds himself--Kevin has gained a reputation for adding small touches that support the song, no matter the genre." -Sean Connery
An arduous creator, improviser and conversationalist (also fluent in French), Morgan is making waves in the Los Angeles music scene by using her classical violin training to infuse lush orchestration and gritty edge into alternative and popular music. Although she first started studying violin at age 9, she quickly progressed and soon began complementing her private violin studies with intensive chamber music training. Morgan studied privately under esteemed violinists and teachers in the USA and in Paris, France such as Michael Davis, Devy Erlih, and Carol Ruzicka. She received her early chamber music training as a violinist and fellow under the guidance of Deborah Price in her highly successful Chamber Music Connection program. Morgan has been coached by members of the Guarneri, Vermeer, Cavani and Cleveland String Quartets. Additionally, she has participated in masters classes with Leila Josefowicz, Don Weilerstein, Christian Howes and Diane Monroe. At 18, Morgan turned down enrollment at the Berklee School of Music to further her classical training on scholarship from Case Western Reserve University at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). While studying at CIM, Morgan formally began voice lessons and participated in intense semesters of chamber music training under Annie Fullard of the Cavani String Quartet. Morgan spent her junior year of college in Paris, France studying music at the Ecole Normale de Musique and at the Sorbonne-Paris IV. That year she premiered several new music works by Japanese composers and successfully competed in the end of the year "Concours", placing with strong recommendations. She also worked as the assistant to Sabine Vatin, the Director of Music at the Théâtre de Châtelet. Upon graduation in May 2010, Morgan packed two suitcases and her violin and moved to Los Angeles, CA, where she currently resides. She is now recording and performing with artists of all genres and has been noted for her natural instincts, improvisational ability, stage presence, and "GREAT!" sound.
While most 5 year olds were singing along to silly songs, Chris was entranced by the tribal drumming in the Michael Jackson's "Will you be there". When most Junior High student were listening to, well, whatever made them "cool", Chris was thinking of what John Lennon meant in his lyrics for "Strawberry Fields Forever." Chris has always had a deep passion for music that goes beyond the surface. He connects with... the very soul of music. Writing his first song at the age of ... 7, the creative fire began to use music to express what no other form of communication could. While attending (and eventually graduating from) San Diego State University with a B.A in Music, he played hundreds of live shows, most of them coming from a residency in the heart of the historic Gaslamp District of San Diego, honing his skills as a vocalist, pianist, and guitarist. On the other side of the sound board, as an engineer, he has had the opportunity to work with such greats as Jefferson Starship, Hiromi Uehara, Dave Mason among others at one of San Diego's premier live venue "Anthology." Since starting his love for composition at 7, he continues to write and record, not only singing, but playing guitar, bass guitar, piano/keys, drums/percussion, mandolin, ukuleke, and harmonica, as well as producing and engineering, and mixing the session himself. He also does a pretty decent English accent