EXCLUSIVE: Interview with SondorBlue’s John Sheehan

SondorBlue are a Charleston based alt rock quartet featuring three part harmonies that are a throwback back to the days before Pro-tools made real vocal talent optional. Originally the group hail from Hilton Head, and they relocated to attended school at the College of Charleston. Despite only being in their early twenties SondorBlue are often compared to classic rock acts such as the Beatles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The rising group recently released their new EP ‘You Will Find Love On Ashley Avenue’ and here we speak to band member John Sheehan about the groups inspirations, touring plans, new music and much. much more;

Growing up who/what inspired your love of music?

Thanks for taking the time to interview us! We grew up on Hilton Head Island and found music and songwriting to be a therapeutic outlet. Connor, our lead guitarist, has always said, “music helps to make sense of what happens during the day.” In life, things are always happening to us. We’ve found that allotting personal time, especially with music or a guitar nearby, all help in coping or even celebrating the full spectrum of colors life will throw at you.

Have you always known you were going to pursue music as career?

We’ve all had a musical tick since a pretty young age. Andrew, our lead vocalist and bassist, discovered a deeper passion for music in high school as he began to put more time towards theatre, acting, singing, and rapping—instead of sports. I grew up playing violin and began producing songs and learning to sing in high school. Connor started playing guitar and writing when he was just a little kid, and it wasn’t until this past year or two that he actually made the transition to lead electric guitar, which has really expanded and enhanced our sound. Drew, our drummer, has been playing drums for as long as we can remember. At a church somewhere, a jazz trio down the road, this and that, we’re lucky to have all crossed paths the way we did.

What inspired your new single?

Our new single, “Ashley Ave”, along with our new EP, “You Will Find Love on Ashley Avenue”, was inspired by our times living together as a band in downtown Charleston, SC. We lived on the second floor, and there were always 6-7 people up there sharing the space. It was close quarters, but inviting. Our friends would crash on our couch and we had a sunny outdoor porch for singing. This new EP captures our times spent in that house together. We learned how to become a band and start our own business. We wouldn’t trade that time away for anything now looking back. We fell deeper into our natural roles and became more of a team through finding each-other’s strengths.

If you could collab with anyone who would you choose?

Oh man, if we walked into a studio right now, we would love to run into Frank Ocean. His methodical musical arrangements, tones, and beautifully crafted lyrics speak to the collective conscience of our times. We’re always interested to see what music he is putting out. We’ve listened to his most recent album, “Blond”, more than any other in recent months.

What do you hope the fans take from your new music?

We hope this new EP more accurately reflects our live show. Our first EP was studio oriented and very focused on just getting a lot of the parts right, as we were still finding our sound and what we wanted as a band. With this new EP, we knew what we wanted before we stepped foot in the studio. We knew that when we played our songs live, things felt great, so when we went to record, the foundation of each song was recorded live to preserve the spark that only happens in a live setting. 

Do you have any touring plans lined up?

We do! We just held our release show for the new EP at the Music Farm in downtown Charleston to kick things off. With new music out on Spotify/iTunes/YouTube, we look forward to getting back on the road to showcase our new material in a handful of cities: DC, Philly, NYC, Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta, etc. We’ll be trying to hit as many of the bigger metropolitan areas as we can and spread the good word. All of our tour dates are on the home page of our website, sondorblue.com. Come hang, we’d love to see you out on the road! 

Will you be releasing an album soon?

Absolutely. We have already started writing for the album, and we intend this next body of work to be an authentic infusion of all of our favorite genres—a compilation of soul, rock n’ roll, R&B etc. We have high hopes and look forward to burrowing ourselves in the studio this winter.

What do you hope to achieve over the next ten years as a band?

Wow. It would truly be an honor and privilege to continue to travel as a band to more parts of the world because of our music. We want to be able to visit places like Europe and Australia and play music to anyone and everyone who is willing to listen. In the last 8 months, we have been able to see a good bit of the east coast. Things have been moving fast for us. And like any start- up-band or business, the first year, two years, three years are uphill. One of our business mentors, Bill Middleton Jr., has told us multiple times that “things happen slowly, and then all at once.” We are just now starting to see things click with forward momentum. But, to answer your question and given a ten year window, we see ourselves doing this on a larger scale. It sounds silly, but there is simply no better time to be alive than right now. If you want something and you take actionable steps towards it, you can make it happen, no matter who you are. As long as we push ourselves and do what we feel is right and true to us, we’ll keep setting ourselves up to win. We’ve studied dozens of bands that have “made it” and they all gain traction at different speeds for different reasons. It’s inspiring to know that it’s been done many times before. Patience is big factor in this as well. 

Make sure you follow SondorBlue on Twitter @SondorBlue to keep up to date with all their latest music and tour news!

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Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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