Sundodger: Banner Days and Bigger Waves
The auditory world of Sundodger from Seattle presents an absolutely stunning amalgamation of classic and contemporary rock. Along with thought provoking lyrics reflecting the trials and tribulations of this modern day world, Sundodger is sure to intrigue all who give a listen to their vibrant tapestries. Bigger Waves is the name of their latest magnum opus, featuring dynamic songs such as Banner Days, Keeping A Light On, and Echoes – an actual grand total of ten songs in all, destined to leave quite an impact on those who encounter these exhilarating reprieves. Highwire Daze Online caught up with Sundodger’s lead vocalist / rhythm guitarist Dan Engel to find out a whole lot more about this dynamic new band on the rise. Read on and discover the Banner Days and Bigger Waves of Sundodger…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Sundodger, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I’m Dan Engel and I’m the lead singer and play rhythm guitar. We’ve been a band for about 4 years.
Where is Sundodger based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re from Seattle. I probably don’t need to tell you about the Seattle music scene. It’s been in the movies and news. All jokes aside, Seattle has changed a lot as a scene and a music community since the ‘90s. There’s been a huge influx of newcomers to town because of a ton of tech hiring over the last 15 years. So, I suppose it’s probably a lot like what San Francisco went through when all the artists and musicians got priced out of town.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Bigger Waves?
This group of songs have common themes running throughout: relationships, isolation and escape. Technology has tried to make everyone more connected but we’re more isolated than ever. It’s all superficial connection. We want human interaction but have forgotten how to relate to one another. There are terrible consequences to that I think. For those of us lucky enough to finally find a meaningful connection with someone, you almost want to just grab that person’s hand a run away to keep it safe. Those are some of the feelings expressed in the songs.
Select two songs from Bigger Waves and what inspired the lyrics.
The obvious one for me is “Keeping a Light On.” It’s a song I wrote very quickly, and the lyrics came immediately afterward. It’s still a song that gets me emotional if I let it. The lyrics are based on a tragic experience when a friend of the band lost his teenage daughter to a heroin overdose. Having a daughter myself, it was really a gut punch for me when I heard about it. It’s written from a parent’s point of view. So, I tried to imagine what I would feel in that situation and just penned the lyrics.
The other one is probably “Echoes.” It was a song that wasn’t really meant to be a Sundodger song but was recorded very late in the process anyway. It’s kind of a spacey, lonely story about someone who has everything they need or desire at the tips of his fingers. The subject of the song is questioning whether all the technology and communication devices around him have truly made him connected or just totally isolated. You can have anything delivered to your doorstep. You can read anything you want. Watch anything you want. But at the end of the day, you’re just sitting there by yourself staring at a computer. Does that make you happy? I don’t know if it does.
Who designed the cover for Bigger Waves and how much input did you have on it?
My old college roommate Jeremy Salyer designed the cover. I had zero input but he is a fantastic graphic designer and is Creative Director at Never Summer Snowboards in Colorado. He created the image originally for our very first show, years and years ago, so I think it was a surprise to him when we adopted it for the cover.
What could one expect from a live Sundodger show?
If you like guitars, drums and rock music, you’ll like our rock show. We don’t do elaborate theatrics or costumes. We’re a bit of a throwback in that way. The people who like our shows, like live music and seeing musicians play instruments.
Has Sundodger ever played in the Los Angeles/Orange County area or plan to do so in the future?
Never. Would love to if someone would have us. I’ve got family and friends in LA and Long Beach. I love it down there, it’s one of my favorite places in the world.
If Sundodger could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
If you ask anyone in the band, you’d probably get four different answers. But for me, it would have to be one of those big stadium rock bands from the ‘70s. I wasn’t alive in their heyday, but I’d have loved to have opened for Led Zeppelin for one of those big, crazy stadium crowds. And then burn one down and watch a John Bonham drum solo.
If the music of Sundodger was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Maple bar. We smell like a donut and taste like a donut, but we’re not going to be round just because every other fucking donut is round.
What’s up next for Sundodger?
We’re going to continue to play shows and hopefully sell some more records. We’re also writing new songs, so maybe down the line sometime soon we’ll go back into the studio.
Any final words of wisdom?
Go down to the record store today and buy a record. It doesn’t have to be ours, but go buy a record, put it on the record player, look at the album cover, hold it in your hands, and listen.
Dan Engel (Vocals, guitar)
Jeff Norman (Guitar)
Don Currie (Bass)
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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