SANO HILL – interview

SANO HILL – interview

Introduce your band, and describe your latest release:
I am Sano Hill, an Irish singer-songwriter based in Galway city of melodic folk-rock compositions. My latest release is the single ‘Dancer’ – out Feb. 10 – which deals with the challenge of artistic creation, set against the background of a memory of a dance, and the first fires of romantic encounter. It is part love song, part artistic reflection.

What’s the hardest part about being a band in this day and age?
The hardest part of working as a musician right now is making ends meets given the meagre returns from streaming – it’s perhaps easier now than ever to get one’s music out there; the challenge is making enough money to continue to record and release.

When did you realise that your project had the potential to be much more than just a fun idea?
Some tracks of mine were released on a compilation album of indie artists from Galway – Origin: See the Light – and my tracks were picked out by reviewers in local and national press and that encouraged me that there might be potential in trying to get more of my music out there and hopefully connect with a following.

Tell us about your latest release, why should we check it out?
‘Dancer’ began a small song just on acoustic guitar that grew, like most of my songs, from a melody and actually in the case of ‘Dancer’ from the challenge of songwriting itself (which I address in the song) – but it grew to be something much bigger over time and through collaboration with producer Larry Hogan I brought in a lot of additional instrumentation, including keys, strings, slide guitar, bass and loads of percussion towards the end – I also had the privilege of collaborating with Braddon Williams – who has previously worked with some of the top musicians in the world including Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, Mark Ronson, Il Divo, Wyclef Jean, Billy Joel, Kelly Clarkson, P Diddy and The Script – for the final mix and master on the track and he helped me to bring everything up that bit more again to something that I believe is really special and hopefully can connect with listeners around the world.

How does a song typically come together for you?
My songs begin as melodies that I usually come up with on guitar – though I’ve begun to write recently on piano also. I could carry those melodies with me for days, weeks, or sometimes months before words eventually emerge to complement the melody – sometimes this can happen quite quickly; other times, it can take some time. I usually play through the melody repeatedly, and usually, words eventually take shape. I sometimes draw on poetry or literature for inspiration, as in my first single ‘The Climb,’ which was influenced by the poetry of William Blake and includes some lines from a later unfinished work, The Everlasting Gospel. Other times I find inspiration from events in my life or in the lives of people close to me, or from world events – in reality, inspiration can come from anywhere and sometimes the strangest places – I have one (older) song that came from sitting up through the night one time watching “The Shopping Channel” – there is more than enough material around us to draw on for inspiration for songs.

How would you describe your sound to an unfamiliar reader?
Melodic folk-rock, but with influences of soul and blues. It’s really hard for me to describe my music but I’ve been influenced by a wide range of musicians and musical styles – Van Morrison (particularly his earlier material, Astral Weeks, Moondance etc.) was a huge influence on me at one point, particularly the personal and folk/blues nature of his lyrics and expression. Other influences have included U2, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Nick Cave, and Radiohead. But I like all kinds of music, from traditional to classical, folk, jazz, blues, and rock, and I guess all these influences have informed what I do, how I sing and the music I make.

What do you want listeners to take away from listening to your band?
Hopefully a slightly new way of looking at the world – but also I hope they take a melody and some words that will stay with them and bring some joy into their lives – and if not joy, something to reflect on and encourage them to see the world around them and the people in their lives slightly differently, and hopefully appreciate them all the more.

Where would you really like to tour that you haven’t done so yet, and why?
South American – I’ve had a great response online from fans in Brazil and Mexico and I’d love to tour in that part of the world and hopefully meet in person with some of the people who have been enjoying my music.

How would you say that the sound of your band has progressed over the years?
A bit like the description of the process around Dancer above, my sound has grown a lot to incorporate a lot more instrumentation and experimentation with sounds around us – on one track ‘Sing Out Loud’ I released last year I have the sound of a plane taking off for example. And it’s that increase mix of instrumentation and sounds that I’ve tried to develop across the tracks on my forthcoming album.

How excited are you for 2023, and what can fans expect from you?
Very excited – my debut album, ‘If Not Now, When?’ will be released in late Spring so I’m excited to share that with people – I’m working on getting the tracks ready for a live tour internationally also and more info will be forthcoming on my social media channels – you’ll find all my links here:

Thank you!

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