Features Interviews Sandman Viper Command: This Is (Not) A Joke

Sandman Viper Command: This Is (Not) A Joke

Snadman Viper Command

A "How To" list from a band that aren't sure they know how to.

I sat down with Sandman Viper Command for an interview and came away with a set of impeccable life lessons that I knew I had to share. So instead of writing a regular feature article, I decided to compile their words into a list of “how to’s.” But before I relay the wisdom of Matt Meyer, Rob Janson, Aaron Harvey and Dan Reardon to you, it must be said that these guys are not only friendly and modest, they are also incredibly talented. Their debut album, Everybody See This, is a breath of fresh air in the world of Canadian rock. With creative guitar melodies, catchy phrases and a crisp live show to back it up, Sandman Viper Command has a bright future.

And now without further adieu, Everybody (should) See This:

Lesson One: How to Start Out In the Biz
The guys of Sandman Viper Command, currently ranging in age from 21 to 24, started in the music business when they were fresh tots out of high school. They weigh in on what young bands starting out now should know.

“Accept that there’s zero future,” says guitar player Dan. He pauses. “There’s not zero future, there’s like 0.3.”

Drummer Matt adds some hope. “Play good shows with good bands and spend as much time as you can making calculative decisions,” he says. “Make friends.”

“Look at other bands you like,” Dan continues.

Matt nods. “Steal their songs, but not entire songs,” he says. “If they recorded the song, put that into your song in a different way so that they don’t really know you stole their song.”

“When they have a show, find out when they’re going to be crossing a certain intersection and just destroy their van, stumble into the venue and play the show as them,” Dan adds. “Things like that.”

Lead singer Rob joins in the fun. “Learn how to steal skin, that’s very important.”

“This has taken a turn I’m not really comfortable with,” adds bass player Aaron.

Dan comes through as the voice of reason. “Honestly though, it is going to feel bleak at times but you have to remind yourself that you’re doing something you hopefully enjoy and if it does work out you’re going to have one of the best jobs in the world,” he says.

Rob though, he is not so sure. “I think being a movie star would be better than being a rock star,” he says thoughtfully. “As a rock star you go on tour and you spend six months of a year going to random venues, there’s a veggie platter, venue, veggie platter. But doing a movie you go down to LA and hang out on the beach for eight hours a day and at the end you rake in like 14 million.”

“Alright, so the next piece of advice is try to be a movie star first,” Dan says.

Lesson Two: How to Book Great Shows
Sandman Viper Command’s talents have earned them stage time with some pretty awesome acts like Holy Fuck, The Arkells and The Rural Alberta Advantage. Here is how they do it.

“We’ve just been lucky, I mean, we have some friends who know some friends, and sometimes those friends like the music we play,” Dan says. “So it’s been astounding, very surprising.”

“I feel like we just make this happen with our cohesive brain power, we just will shows,” Matt adds. “We hope shows!”

Lesson Three: How to Make Use Of Your Time If Music Doesn’t Work Out
If you do not already know, Sandman Viper Command has its own van. The guys ponder over what they would do with the van if their band broke up, and what they would be doing if the band never happened in the first place.

“We were flirting with the idea of Sandman Viper Command Electrical,” Rob says.

The other guys nod. “We have the van, that’s what we figured,” says Dan.

After some talk of university degrees, carpentry and accounting, Rob admits what he would really suggest doing if he wasn’t in a band.

“I’d wanna be a gold digger, try and marry rich,” he says. “But you can do that along side of whatever you do, that’s a side job,” Dan suggests.

“So as soon as I find the girl then I quit my job?” Rob challenges.

Dan imagines the scene: “‘I’ll take care of the house, you go and work!’” he says to his pretend wife.

“That’s the ultimate goal, stay at home dad,” Matt says. “Hang out at the pool, ‘Son, get me a beer!’”

“So we would somehow be very lazy dads if we weren’t in a band,” Dan says.

Lesson Four: How to Cover Songs by Really Legendary Bands
Sandman Viper Command recently teamed up with fellow local band The Balconies for an epic Beatles vs. Stones cover night at Sneaky Dee’s. It was a difficult feat but they pulled it off.

“It was a more of a party, that’s how we attacked it,” says Matt. “We had 40-something songs to play between the two bands and we just sort of said, ‘We’re not the Beatles, we’re not the Stones,’ we’re just gonna party out.”

“We were the first ones to ever attempt [covering those songs,]” says Rob.

“That was a joke,” Dan says. “Humour drives a lot of what we are.”

Lesson Five: How to Accept that Sometimes Other Bands Sound Like Yours
With so much hubbub around music plagiarism (ex: Coldplay vs. Joe Satriani), it is easy to get caught up in the idea of another band stealing from you, or vice versa. But there are ways to combat it.

“It’s really tough to be super original and there’s probably always going to be a band somewhere in South Carolina that’s written a song that sort of sounds like yours even after yours is out,” says Matt.

Dan nods. “The only thing that makes that problem matter is the fact that music is published and put out there,” he says. “If that wasn’t the case then you could write whatever song you want.”

“Music is a very collective conscious thing anyways,” adds Rob.

Lesson Six: How to Survive the Industry
All jokes aside, it is crystal clear that Sandman Viper Command are in this business because they love music. For them it is not the best answer, it is the only answer.

“Music, music and maybe some more music,” says Aaron, when asked what he would be doing if he was not in a band.

And when asked what they love about music, Rob gets rather poetic. “I love that it is the only thing that we know as humans that can combine past, present and future in one moment,” he says.

What to Take Away from All This
If you are only going to take away one thing from this lesson, let it be this: Sandman Viper Command deserves your attention. Not only can they crack good jokes, write good tunes and perform awesome shows, but they have the passion for music and they are not afraid to show it. Class dismissed.