Photo Credit: Courtesy of Whiskey Sunday

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Olivia Sandoval of “Whiskey Sunday”

Watch out, world. A double threat is coming your way. Olivia Sandoval not only plays the bass in the folk band Whiskey Sunday, but takes on two industries at once by also playing the role of Winnie Lopez, a police officer in the FX series “Fargo”. Despite being based in LA, Whiskey Sunday offers a refreshing blast from the past with Irish Folk and Americana sounds.

CelebMix and Olivia discussed Whiskey Sunday’s beginnings, acting, and the new album in the making!

When did you first decide you wanted to pursue music as a career, and in a group?

It happened somewhat by accident.  I played mostly in symphony orchestras growing up, and had taken an extended break from playing bass while I was in acting school.  Just when I was feeling the itch to get back into it, I met Patrick Rieger (lead singer) working box office at a theatre company, and like magic I found myself in Whiskey Sunday!  If you had told me I would play bass in a folk band two years prior, I probably would not have believed you.

How different is the experience in a band in comparison to being a trained classical solo musician?

I had to learn how to loosen up, and also to trust my ear.  I was very hesitant at the beginning, not having music in front of me.  I have been so lucky as to play with some seriously talented musicians, and rising to their level made me a better and more relaxed player.

What was the story behind naming the band “Whiskey Sunday”?

It comes from an Irish Rovers song called “Whiskey on a Sunday.”  We thought it had a nice fireside feel.  Plus, we like whiskey.

Were there any other potential band names that came close to being chosen?

Patrick told me they originally considered naming it something overly Midwestern, as he is a proud Minnesotan, but ultimately it was decided that was not universal enough.

How would you describe the band’s musical sound?

I would say Irish folk rock with a hearty pour of Americana.  We have essentially a bluegrass string lineup, and we are heavily influenced by many different types of American folk music.  It’s very much a blend.

Where do you draw the most inspiration for songwriting?

Our music is very personal, specifically, we find ourselves writing about the concepts of home and family quite frequently.  We draw inspiration from our lives, the company we keep, and the experiences that change us.

Is there anything you or the band do to get into the songwriting zone?

Patrick is the main songwriter, but it is a very collaborative process.  He is usually hit with a bolt of inspiration (he jokes that he’s never been able to just sit down and write a song, it always comes out of nowhere).  We then take our time layering and building upon his framework. We try and keep a fairly relaxed, social environment while we’re working together.  We’re all great friends after all.

Whiskey Sunday’s debut album, Holy Water was released in 2014, and you’ve come a long way since then. What was the most challenging part of the process?

Holy Water was very much a grassroots experience, and we have been working our butts off ever since.  We look at the hustle element of being a scrappy LA pub band as a loyal and vigorous ally riding shotgun to the music itself.  It defines us to a certain extent.  That being said, we are looking to move onto the next phase and are entertaining the idea of seeking management.  It is fun and rewarding doing all the legwork yourself, but it’s certainly not without its challenges.  At the end of the day, however, we can’t say we didn’t give it our all, and we’re proud of that fact.

We hear there’s a second album in the works, can you tell us a bit more about it?

Yes!  We are very excited about our next album, “American Music.”  We have been through a lot as a group over the last few years, and our collective experiences have certainly influenced our tone.  It is raw, sometimes disarming, and highly personal.  We think there’s room in folk music to be angry.  We certainly do not hold back with this one.  We hope to release by the end of 2017!

What has been the band’s most memorable performance so far?

We love playing festivals and larger venues like Get Shamrocked (such a blast), but we will always have a very special place in our heart for the St. Patrick’s Day party at The Tam O’Shanter Inn in Atwater Village.  We feel the love so hard that day.  The Tam is one of our residencies (you can see us there once a month!) and feels like home away from home.  It’s the best St. Paddy’s day party in LA.  We look forward to it every year.

In addition to your musical work with the band, you’ve also appeared in the FX series, “Fargo”. What made you want to pursue acting?

I have wanted to be an actor since I was a young kid.  It is the family business, both my parents are actors, so I am sure that is where I got the idea.  I tried to think of something else to do for a long time (bass for example, which as you can see, I just decided to do as well), but I soon found out I could not walk away.  I knew it was going to be hard at times, but I came to the conclusion that I could not see myself doing anything else.  I am very lucky to be able to do what I do.

Are there any elements of Winnie Lopez, your character from “Fargo” that you identify with and see in yourself?

Absolutely!  We are certainly both talkers.  I also relate to the way she wants to connect with people, and wants to believe in the goodness.  And I must say, I do share her rather candid sense of humor.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your supporters?

Yes, THANK YOU.  The support I have received from the fans of both Fargo and Whiskey Sunday has been beautiful and overwhelming.  I feel so fortunate, and I am so grateful to each and every one of you.  It means the world.  Truly.

You can find Olivia Sandoval on Twitter , as well as Whiskey Sunday on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Are you excited for the new album? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix.

Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

(Please CC on all inquiries!)