Band Interview: Sandman Viper Command, March 2010

Sandman Viper Command
Spreading the Love
March 3, 2010


By Aaron Binder

Strip it all down. Off come the prohibitions, the misconceptions, the misunderstandings. Take it all off and there goes the bravado, the machismo and blind glory. You are left with a completely nude person with no barriers and a starkly sober outlook on life. It often takes nudity for humans to become honest even with their own personalities. Dancing around in public often takes some liquid courage and similar movement from a group of peers; dancing around naked in your own bedroom? Hella easy by comparison, nobody is watching.


Take it off like you know you want to and we all become naked in a way that defines the reason we breathe. The reason we draw that paycheque from a morgue-like job, the reason we wake up in the morning and are able to say ‘only 8 more hours’. It is that passion that runs through those of us that listen to what we want, fucking awesome music.

Sandman Viper Command is a young, passionate and honestly inexperienced band. Inexperienced as they may be though, they love what they are doing so much that they seem like the next Little Engine that Could. They haven’t been around long, but they have managed to work their way into the hearts of music-lovers with blatant disregard for whoever held that title previously. Lykke Li was so 2009 anyway.

Speaking of 2009, they were finishing up their debut, self-titled album with producer Dave King at his barn outside of Hamilton. Yes, barn. “It’s got a really relaxed vibe and it’s kinda off the beaten path, it’s sorta out in the boons. It was nice for us to have that experience for our first recording experience.” says Aaron Harvey, bassist supreme. The barn they speak of is the stuff of legends around the burgeoning GTA music scene, Spiral Beach (coverage here – and Juno nominees Holy Fuck (show review here – were both invited to record there and they jumped at the opportunity. Owner and producer Dave King has a very well-tuned ear for the next hot act and placed his faith in SVC during the later course of 2008 and into early 2009.

Talking about how the two parties hooked up, bassist Rob Janson continues “It’s a really organic process that surrounds the barn. He just saw us play at a local bar in Burlington and said ‘these guys are weird, I’m gonna have them out for a demo’, and it turned into six months of us just building up our album.” After being put through the ringer, not just by King but by themselves, they came out with a greater understanding of how to interact with each other as band members not just writing, but live as well.

One of the most noticeable traits that SVC carries is their ability to sound quite a bit older than they actually are. For the better part of February 2010 they earned a residency at Toronto’s C’est What, a stone and mortar underground bar with a stage the size of a king bed and a vibe that feels a lot like Victorian era Toronto; albeit, a much more rocking version. About Rock “We’re a rock and roll type band, rock’s been done for the last 40 years so we just want to keep it exciting” says Jordan “And if we have to take parts from this song or that song or from a Nintendo game, take that influence and put it through our filter and put it out.”


They have a way of taking it all off and exposing themselves. While SVC has this incredible talent for writing a relatively unique style of rock music, their influences show when they allow it. “We’ll play a set and some older guy will approach us and mention we remind him of all these older bands from when he was younger. And then we’ll get young people coming up to us and tell us it’s really fresh, so that’s always a good thing to hear that you can cater to varying degrees of tastes.” says Harvey. It’s easy to see stuff like Rush and a few psychedelic influences, but their strength definitely comes from their distinctive compositions and style. They’re young, but they demonstrate the ability to write innovative music mixed lightly with classic influences in a way that they completely own the sound.

Their innovative sound is amplified when they bring it to the stage. They’ve done a nominal amount of touring thus far and are planning on taking the act on the road over the next 6 months. “It feels good to take that next step, up until recently we’ve been doing it all on our own and trying to make it happen on our own. Stuff like our infrastructure has come to the next level recently” says Janson “It’s allowed for us to effectively put music out there. It’s what we want to do, we want to spread it as far as we can and play as many shows as we can.” Playing shows is something they’ve become very good at since last summer, the C’est What residency reinforced that fact in spades, they brought out more and more people each subsequent show. The final night was so packed that while they were playing it was impossible to move.


SVC is on an upward trajectory that has the ability to breach the stratosphere, if they can hone their talents and keep pushing their skills to the limit and further. In a sea of so many musicians trying to achieve the same end result, they are starkly honest, unabashedly nude and naked in their ambitions. Their raw personality draws you in, lures your eyes toward their presence, your ears remain enticed by their licks, your toes unwittingly tap. For all their talent and ambition, they have also kept sight of what it means to be with that person sitting up front, eyes affixed as they play. They’re having a blast up there but when you strip it all away, they’re just regular guys trying to do something extraordinary. In the words of Harvey; “Don’t shy away from throwing us a party, we’re very nice guys.”


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