Despite the wearisome task of traveling by van across the massive expanse known as Canada, there is an unmistakable sparkle and glow of ambition ever so present among the boys of Sandman Viper Command. Heck, even the band name conjures an image of Power Ranger-type heroics.
Braving the east coast Canadian winter terrain and traveling west to promote their new seductively hypnotic single, “Rough Love”, whether it’s creatively setting up in an all too small stage or playing multiple gigs in a twenty-four hour period, Rob Janson, Dan Reardon, Aaron Harvey and Matt Meyer show off an unrelenting spirit that is all in the name of music.
Walk me through “Rough Love”. What was the writing process like and how did you set the pace?
Rob: It was a song idea that I worked up quite awhile ago, probably a couple years ago through a bunch of different parts of songs. It kind of came together pretty naturally, which is interesting because I feel like it’s one of our more orchestrated songs.
Dan: It was a fairly long process with that song because we weren’t forcing it. It was sitting in the back catalogue for a long time. We would pull it out at jams a lot of the times and play it. It evolved from one thing to where it is now.
What was the thought-process in releasing it as a 7-inch rather than a CD single?
Dan: We liked the idea of putting out a 7-inch as opposed to an EP or a full length. We kind of just like the idea of trickling product out to the world and I think we’re becoming interested in the idea of not just releasing full length, full length, full length, but using things like the Internet and what not to release songs in chunks. We’re trying to get into that mentality more – the modern way of releasing music.
Rob: Plus Rough Love was sort of a transition piece for us. It doesn’t really fit in with our newer stuff or necessarily our older stuff so it’s good to just release that as a stand-alone.
What inspires your lyrics?
Rob: With the 7-inch I guess they have an old school, rough love-type mentality. We’re not misogynistic or anything, but we took an under-my-thumb sort of approach with highlighting the seedier aspects of relationships and love…It’s not necessarily from personal experience, but once you get started down that path it’s good to flush out the idea and wear that hat for a song or two and just go with it.
Do you get any writing done on the road?
Rob: We haven’t been doing much writing for this tour, that’s for sure. I feel like I need to go on a huge detox period after this and get some inspiration somehow.
Dan: That’s what the tour is good for. You unknowingly gain inspiration. We don’t like to force things when it comes to writing, which can result in nothing being written for a long time [laughs].
What was the working relationship between you guys and producer Jon Drew like?
Dan: It was incredible. That guy is totally chill and he’s a total dude. There’s definitely a mild bit of nervousness going into it because he’s worked with some heavy cats and we love what he does, the way he mixes things and produces things.
The album Everybody See This was released in ’09 and it can be streamed from CBC Radio 3. Have you found a lot of camaraderie and support from other indie acts and programs like CBC Radio 3?
Rob: Yeah, definitely. In Canada you have to rely on those types of things and our friends in other bands have really helped us out. How we got to where we are now, it’s just been hopping on bills with them and just using their wealth of experience and knowledge to really get us to the next step. It feels like everywhere we’ve gone across the country we’ve made new friends and bands willing to put us up.
Dan: This tour especially, there has been a couple of times where we’ve had a few days off here and there in different towns and the people we’ve been staying with have been super accommodating. We’ve experienced a level of hospitality we didn’t even know existed.
Rob: Support is definitely extremely important when you’re a struggling band on the road. Canada is one of the best countries to [tour] because there are tonnes of government grants that come through to help you out. So we feel really grateful to be doing this in Canada, aside from the incredibly large amount of space between each city.
The band name, what is the origin?
Dan: Nothing special. We, for a long time, tried to spice up the origins of the band name. Now we’ve come to terms that we took the band name from a movie.
Rob: As I recall, the first guy who read our name out messed it up. That should have been the indicator for us not to take that name because so many people would screw it up.
What has been the experience touring across Canada? Who’s the parental unit of the band?
Rob: Matt is probably the most parental. This tour is good because we have a tour manager with us, so she’s really the real parent.
Dan: Her being there is good because it balances out Matt’s dad factor. We’ve been a good family unit.
What are your thoughts on music and social media?
Rob: It’s interesting. You sort of have to be a band that’s friends with your fans. You add your fans to Facebook and people you meet at shows. You stay in contact with fans either through status updates, Twitter updates and what not…It’s tough to keep up, but it’s a rewarding way for things to be happening because it keeps you honest and it keeps you accountable.
Dan: It’s an interesting facet to the modern music industry game. It does help put the power of exposure into the artists’ hands because you really do it yourself and you push yourself. It’s up to you to get content out there.
Aside from tour, what other goals are on the horizon?
Rob: We’re playing a show called Edgefest in Toronto, which one of the big radio stations there puts it on. Hopefully we keep on writing and keep on being in the studio.
Dan: After this tour we’ll be able to take a bit of time to focus on writing, demo’ing, and getting the next project rolling.