Monday, 8 June 2009

In Conversation with Sandra & the Memory Machine

In Conversation with

Sandra and the Memory Machine

December 2008

A little background

Frequently when interviewing bands at
‘Setting Sun’ – when I listen to acts and
decide ‘Setting Sun’ wants to interview them,
I will next look at their influences and often
Try and draw a pattern often for introductions
Like this, when I can compare them to other

The fun often starts when you look at
A band’s influences and they don’t really
Sound like what they say their influences

Often that is where the real fun of course.
Take for example ‘Sandra and the Memory
Machine’ whose central member Sandra
Who I interviewed here. She lists her influences
As wide ranging as ‘Talking Heads, Philip Glass
Karen Carpenter, David Bowie, Magnetic Fields,
Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole and Gnarls Barkley’
To name but a few which by any stretch of thought
Is wide ranging, and doesn’t really sound like any
Of them.

From a Setting Sun perspective, I would rather
refer you over to their own description of their
music which has being described as ‘folktronica’
with 70’s space synths and some kiss rhythm,
which gives it a sort of out of this world music
in places, which I think sums up Sandra and
the Memory Machine.

I discovered them by chance at Manchester’s
Own ‘In the City’ festival this year and was
Struck by this out of world-ness in the sense
It sounded just that little bit un-usual and
Just perfect for being interviewed by
‘Setting Sun’.

So I dropped them a email and Sandra
Got back to me a little back and the interview
Followed in due course.

Update - 6th June 2009

Certainly looking at the band
six months later or so, it certainly
looks like the band are still
touring hard, and I know they
have being making the press over
here so clearly are doing something

Check them out on their myspace page


Andy N

Setting Sun:

How are things and what’s happening at the moment?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

Things are tops! I've just confirmed my last week of
recording to finish the album (whoooo!).

Setting Sun:

Next can you tell us a little bit about the history of
Sandra and the memory machine etc?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

5 years ago - I came to London from Sydney,
Australia to try my luck. I had split up
a band (prol-tung) that I was in to do
so...the pressure was on. I couldn't play
anything so I bought a ukelele.

About 4 years ago I moved into a very very musical
share-house and this kicked me into action
to write songs. Everyone was so good that I
stupidly kept my songs to myself.

3 years ago I formed a three piece. We were
pretty shit hot but drugs, booze and relationship
dramas got in the way so we parted after a year and
around this time I lost my voice.

1 year ago I formed a duo with my man
Chopper and the new four piece has been kicking
about since June this year... It's synth-tastic!

Setting Sun:

Next can you tell us what are your influences
music wise and what are you listening to at
the moment?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

No-one in my family were musical; we had
a lot of traditional Croatian music blaring
in the house and a bit of Johnny Cash.

My influences aren't very outrageous -
David Bowie, Karen Carpenter, Bjork,
The Beatles, Talking Heads...

Listening to Annie Lennox, Mariah Carey,
Olivia Newton John and ABBA taught
me how to sing. I owe the magic vox box
to them.

I'm loving M.I.A - KALA should have been
nominated for a Mercury this year. Loads
of Marylin Monroe, Bob Dylan, Patsy Cline
and BOWIE!

Setting Sun:

I can see from your myspace page that
you play concerts on a regular basis –
how do these compare to your
recordings? Is their one you prefer
over the other?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

The concerts are wilder than the recordings
(at the mo). Saying that I'm proud of the
recordings and how they have captured
S&TMM. The future is darn exciting if
you ask me - I would like
to be master of both!!

Setting Sun:

I am currently really enjoying your songs on
your myspace page – I think my favourite
is ‘Hour’ – can you tell us a little bit more
about this song?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

Weeell this song is about not going
with your instincts and missing out
on the experience. There is no time
for hesitation.

The person that she loved died before
she even told them she loved them.
What's worse, her love for them,
could have saved them.

It's a mourning song... a
rain dance mourning song.

Setting Sun:

What is the inspiration behind your
name ‘Sandra and the memory

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

The name includes my name because I
joked in my yearbook that I'd have my
name in lights someday. The Memory
Machine is the best way to describe
the band. They help me present
the ideas, the emotions, the memories
that I've collected (and they're not
just my own). I want the option
to play the songs in any style
with any line-up.

Setting Sun:

A few little questions to finish off, I
know you are from London, UK.
What is the music scene like
down there nowadays? Have you
being to see any good
concerts recently?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

I suck at this kinda thing. London
bands keep to themselves
from my experience and to be
honest I avoid the scene to stay sane!

Saying that I saw David Soul at
the Boogaloo in Oct and the
support band totally rocked but I've
forgotten their name. D'oh!

Setting Sun:

What would be your dream job if you
were not doing music?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

I have no other dream sounds lame
but it's true.

Setting Sun:

What would you like to be doing
when you are 60?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

I'd like to be singing and touring with
Chopper... singing dirty gritty jazz
like music or doing a little bit of
Emmylou country style stuff or
being Grace Jones! Oh and
painting crazy shit on
massive canvases.

Setting Sun:

Lastly, what will you be doing when
you are 60?

Sandra and the Memory Machine:

I'd like the above please...realistically
I may be stuck in an office
in space somewhere, all zombie
like and counting down the days
until my baked beans on toast
retirement. There will be cats,
geese and dogs involved.
How exciting...

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