by Sebastian Mackay
“There’s only rule in rock and roll,” Mike Sandoz, vocalist and guitarist of Dead Day Revolution, tells me. “And that’s to say what you want and mean it.”
Fighting words. But he’s a fighting a man. The LA based rockers, drummer Skeeter Joplin and bassist Cristian Sturba complete the line-up, are putting the final touches on their debut album and they’re battling like hell to make it in music. Dead Day Revolution is the first band that Sandoz has been part of and he’s determined to do it right the first time. Sandoz confesses that he’d never pursued music before because, “if I’m honest, I was intimated. It wasn’t something I thought would happen.”
His move to LA, back in 2009, wasn’t to play music. But when he met brother and sister Zoe Taylor and Skeeter Joplin (Taylor helped found the band as bassist, but would later leave) the stage was set. Sandoz, is still taken by the relative success they’ve had playing and touring.
“It’s kind’ve weird getting interviewed for magazines and doing features. At the moment I’ve been in touch with the Chicago Music Library about licensing.”
Dead Day Revolution is starting to waterfall thanks, in no small part, to Sandoz’s work driving the hype machine. He’s promoting their music to anyone that will listen, magazines and airplay, and has vision for exactly what comes next – the record deal.
“We haven’t label shopped because I want to have the whole package ready first. I want all the posters to be done and to have the marketing and branding underway.”
The upcoming album is part of that package and Sandoz is eager to reach out to PR firms once they’re ready to begin a launch campaign. The plan is to show the record label that they’re a band with long term goals and they’re very much in charge of their direction. Recording the album has taken three years. They’re close to getting wrapping it up – a bonus track is being mixed – and it’s clear to see why. Without the pressure of release schedules the band is free to take their time. Sandoz says that what they have so far has seen innumerable changes.
“It’s been a very long process of re-recording and remixing. I’m singing better and we want it [the album] to be the best and most current expression of the songs.”
It’s truly shaping up to be quite the release. Recorded at The Lair under the vigilant, and it has to be said, kindly, eye of Larry Goetz, the album began as a few demos. The band kept building and recording and then it slowly ground to a stop.
“We didn’t have a lot of the money upfront, but he [Larry Goetz] liked what we were doing and he’s been helping us.”
It certainly hasn’t been an easy birth for the record. So is it always like that? For Sandoz the writing side comes out a lot easier. He describes it as a “stream of consciousness” and when he and Joplin get into a room together that’s exactly what it is. They play and Sandoz sings what ever comes to mind, when that doesn’t work he smokes cigarettes and comes at it again.
“My writing process is very in the moment…then I’ll go back and listen to it again…and I’ll listen to what I was trying to say and go back to what I was thinking about at the time.”
The hardest part for Sandoz is dialing back into how he felt when he was writing. Because, as he says, the process doesn’t end with rediscovering those feelings and emotions.
“Our approach to writing, lyrically, is more one of story telling and imagery. There are vampires and witches and I wouldn’t say that’s what we’re about it, it’s part of what we do.”
There are also songs about ex-girlfriends, but they’re not the usual. “Instead of just writing about my ex-girlfriend, if I write about her, then she’ll turn into a witch or a vampire.”
Being independent is a hard battle and while some might say it’s paying dues, I’ll argue that if there’s a band coming to kick in your door, it’ll be Dead Day Revolution. It’s only a matter of time.