Formed over three years ago, Dublin four piece Sweet Jane have developed from a mistaken chat up line into one of the independents scenes highest hopes for 2010 and beyond. Originally formed by well known Dublin guitarist Danda and the soulful Lydia Des Dolles, they’ve been working overtime for the last three years carving out their own unique take on sixties psychedelic rock mixed with modern indie originated traits.
Most recently the band have been readying their debut album, Sugar For My Soul and playing shows throughout Ireland and getting people ready for their next favorite band. Tickets There was fortunate enough to get a chance to ask the wonderful, soon to be style icon Lydia Des Dolles a few questions about the bands origins, progress on their debut album and their plans for the future.
Tickets There – Sweet Jane started life in early 2007, how does it feel entering your third year as a group?
Lydia - I have a hard time answering this question normally, simply because the band has had so many stages, it was Christmas 07 / 08 when I first met Danda and we started recording on a 10-track in my apartment, and it took us quiet some time to take it into our studio and develop it into a full-time band, so this last year has felt like our first in the sense that everything seem to fall into place and we got serious.
Tickets There – In the beginning you went through several line-up changes. Would it be fair to say that Ruairi and Donagh are as much a part of Sweet Jane as yourself and Danda now?
Lydia - um, well with Ruairi he’s been in Sweet Jane since the beginning, he played guitar and we had a different bass player, it was by default that he started to play bass, we were on tour and the last date was a festival in Cork, but our bassist couldn’t play it, so Ruairi had to learn play bass, and we just stuck to it, being a four piece suited us alot better than have a stage full of people playing y’know? And with Donagh, I guess its fair to say he completed us, in the sense that we always had drummers that played with us but their heart wasn’t in it, and I cant tell you how much that sucks, Donagh came from nowhere, knew none of us, just really like our band.
Tickets There – This April see’s the release of your debut album, Sugar For My Soul. You must be thrilled after all the hard work put in that it’s finally ready to go?
Lydia - It was originally scheduled for April, but we had some file problems sending the parts to our producer in LA, so instead of being rushed into an April release we chose to take our time and just put it out when its ready so, now its scheduled for June, the second week in June. But we have a single out around the end of April, to give everyone a taster of the record.
Tickets There – The albums release has been made possible by your signing to Reekus Records last November, how have they been treating you?
Lydia - Umm, I don’t think its that fair to say that it was made possible because of the record, we would have put it out independently had there have been no contract y’know, but having them on board with us has been such a blessing, its weird, because you work so hard and you fight for your place and then overnight someone else is fighting your corner for you, so its definitely a nice feeling.
Tickets There – Have you any plans for a single to coincide? And if so, what track have you picked?
Lydia - Yeah, the first single is going to be ”Close your Eyes”, it was so hard to pick a single, for us the record is all singles, but you obviously have to consider alot more when all these people are behind you now, y’know, we all had different singles, but at the end when we heard the final cut of the record, we all settled on ”Close your Eyes”.
Tickets There – Your first EP, Blackboots & Blackhearts was produced by Ryan Van Kriedt (Asteroid #4, ZAZA, Sunsplit, The Dead Skeletons), Did you rope him in again for the album or did you work with new people?
Lydia - We recorded we different people this time, but we always knew in our hearts that we’d have Ryan come back on board with us, when we done the ”Blackboots & Blackhearts EP” we could only afford to record 5 songs, had we have had the money to be in the studio for a full record we would have done it back then, but things work out for the best in the end, I guess. Ryan is hands-down a genius when it comes to mixing, he knew from the start exactly our sound, how we wanted each vocal or guitar part down, he’s a very dear friend to our band.
Tickets There – In the past you’ve mentioned there’s buzz around the band from America and Europe. Are there any plans set in stone to tour abroad?
Lydia - Nothing set in stone, its all about the record right now, we are in the UK in May for a little bit and then home for the release, then your into festivals for the summer, I think the itinerary is getting the record out in as many territories as possible, so naturally when that happens, we’ll tour around it.
Tickets There – Your lead guitarist, Danda has long been credited as the bands chief song writer. Has this changed at all for Sugar For My Soul?
Lydia - No, it hasn’t, it’s kind of text book at this stage y’know? How we write our songs is done the same way every time, Danda has the initial concept, we’ll work it out together on an acoustic guitar, and then we go into the studio and he’ll show the guys a rough bass-line or drum beat and we jam it out until it works. For this record, I was living with Danda for a little bit while I was moving house, so we really submerged ourselves into writing, and recording all our ideas onto a 10-track again, y’know, 3am in the morning ”Wake up, what do you think about this vocal”….
Tickets There – We’ve read through alot of old interviews with you and your sound’s constantly being compared to bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground. Has this started to become frustrating at all considering you’ve worked so hard to carve out your own identity?
Lydia - Yeah I know, Kind of boring right? I mean not really boring.. because I can think of alot worse bands, but it bores me personally, y’know when you go to do another interview and someone just hasn’t researched our band at all, its just ”so you all love the velvet underground?” I don’t like it because it was one or two people that put that tag on us and it stuck, sometimes it embarrasses me because I’m terrified someone will interview me about a VU record, and I wont have a clue how to answer them [laughs] But when you mention working hard to create our own identity, I don’t think its relevant for a band to carve their identity, I don’t think you get to choose that ownership, I think you just be, y’know, you be the best band that you can and your identity will naturally get carved for you.
Tickets There – If you had to pick one musical influence that made you want to become a professional singer, who would it be?
Lydia - Considering I was born in the mid-eighties, I was pretty late on the ”cool” rock bands train, so I grew up on a pure-pop music, I think the Spice Girls gave me my edge, and I mean all kids grow up on their parents music too right? My mom owned one record, Rod Stewart, not even the Faces, just Rod Stewart in his cruise-liner days, [laughs] my Dada was a little cooler, he had lots of records from bands like The Pogues, Dexy’s, The Eagles, I have a deep rooted obsession with Billy Joel, Roberta Flack, and Linda Rondstadt because of him, god bless him. Actually here’s a funny story when I was a kid he used to sing ”Lydia” by Dean Friedman to me, I posted it on twitter and THE actually Dean Friedman tweeted me back!!!! I died, I swear. But , umm, to answer your question, I don’t think a ”Professional Singer” was ever what I wanted, I just really wanted to be in a rock & roll band, if had to give you an answer on who could have influence me, I guess, y’know those really charismatic front men, who just command your attention… Phil Anselmo, Liam Gallagher..Bono.
Sugar For My Soul is coming out in June folks, pay attention and catch Sweet Jane around the UK and Ireland this summer! (and Don’t forget to check out their MySpace)
|[UK Tour Date] The Windmill Brixton, UK, UK||09-May-10|
|[IRL Tour Date] Bray Music Video Festival The Harbour Bar, Bray, IE||15-May-10|
|[IRL Tour Date] Antics! [Late Show] Crawdaddy, Dublin, IE||19-May-10|
|[IRL Tour Date] Electric Avenue Waterford, Ireland, IE||18-Jun-10|
|[IRL Tour Date] Crane Lane Crane Lane, Cork, IE||19-Jun-10|
|[UK Tour Date] Spring & Airbrake Belfast, Northern Ireland, GB||25-Jun-10|
|[IRL festival Date] Spraoi Festival [31st On The Plaza] The Quay, Waterford, IE||30-Jul-10|
|The Plaza [On The Quay] Waterford, n/a||31-Jul-10|
|[IRL Festival Tour Date] Indie-Pendance Festival Mitchelstown, Co, Cork, IE||01-Aug-10|
|[UK Tour Date] Death Disco London Notting Hill Arts Club, London, GB||15-Sep-10|
|[UK Tour Date] Death Disco London Notting Hill Arts Club, London, GB||10-Nov-10|