August 17th, while I was in NYC for Convergence 7, I dropped into the Limelight for a chat with Caroline Blind, of Sunshine Blind. She had just arrived to prepare for their show with Unto Ashes and Mindless Faith, set to take place later that night. With the hustle and bustle of show preparation in the background, we briefly discussed the band's recent past and prospects for the immediate future. Here now is Legends' first interview with Sunshine Blind since editor Marcus spoke with them about the Dark Harvest III more than four years ago (Legends #70, August 1997).
Rat Bastard: Since 1997, it seemed like you guys just disappeared from the map. What have you been up to since then?
Caroline Blind: Well, at the end of 97 Energy Records, which was the label we were on then, went under. Since we had a lot of bills and debts to pay, we had to live on dayjobs for a while.
RB: Have you been working on new material since then?
CB: Yes. Actually, at the time that the label went under, we were two days away from going into a recording studio to begin recording a new album. I called Energy to check on our advance, and they were no longer there. We were supposed to release three albums under them. Since we didn't have a place to record or a label, we just decided to pay our bills for a year or so, and write some more songs. We also decided not to play out for a while. This was because we had toured so extensively in the U.S. before that time that a lot of promoters told us that they couldn't pay us as much because we had just been there a few months ago.
RB: I remember seeing you play in Richmond, VA back in, I think it was 97. It was with Switchblade Symphony and Spahn Ranch, at a club called Twisters.
CB: I remember that. That was actually the only show that we played with Spahn Ranch. We were touring with Switchblade Symphony, but Spahn Ranch joined us for that show.
RB: So, no new album, but I have seen some new songs appearing on compilations
CB: After doing nothing for a year, we met Mark (current SB keyboardist), who has a lot of studio equipment and experience with recording, so we started putting together songs for various compilations. Some of them were songs meant for the next album, but we'd get one done and then we'd get a call from someone needing a song for a compilation, and we'd be like "Here, take this one!" Soon after that, we got offers to play in the UK, so we decided to head over there for a while.
RB: So you've touring in Europe for the past couple of years?
CB: Oh yeah. Last summer we played in Germany at the Wave Gotik Treffen festival. Then we went to Holland, Scotland, then back to England. Not as many people have heard of us there, so it was nice to go there and play, since we had "oversaturated" the United States (chuckles). Playing there was a bit different because you can't really bring much with you on the plane trip over, and you have to rely on others to supply you with the equipment you don't have. It was a learning experience.
RB: Are there any noticeable differences between European and American audiences?
CB: Yes. Europeans yell and scream and throw themselves at the stage, even when they don't know who you are...
RB: ...and in the US, audiences just stand there (chuckles).
CB: Not in New York, but if you go to Los Angeles, the crowds will just stare. (laughs) If they really like a band they'll clap.
RB: So, is there a new album currently in the works?
CB: Yes. Though, for a while there it seemed like something was telling us not to record, like when Mark's house burned down. Recently, I managed to get the rights back to the first two Sunshine Blind CDs and we plan to re-release them ourselves. We'll probably release the new album the same way. The music industry in general can really get you down if you let it and we were letting it. But now I don't feel like I have to sell my soul to get my music out. We've got the music and we will put it out there.
RB: Are there any tours planned for the immediate future?
CB: Well, we've put a restriction on ourselves: no more touring until we have a new CD to support. After all, without a new CD, what's the point of touring? If we did that, then we'd be The Sisters of Mercy. (smiles)
RB: Have any new musical influences come into play when writing the new material?
CB: A lot of new influences have been brought in by Mark, who has a much more electronic background, so there will be a bit more keyboards. The sound is a bit tighter. We plan to reel in the reverb and other effects a little bit for a clearer, sharper, and heavier sound. But it'll still be our own brand of guitar driven rock.
RB: Unfortunately, it seems like the trend these days is to avoid guitars and lean more towards electronics. The whole "Guitars Bad!" attitude.
CB: Well, when we started out, everyone was all about electro and Projekt bands. So we kinda started out like that, but we found that it was putting our audiences to sleep, so we decided to crank up the amps "1234!" (laughs)
RB: Well, we're here in New York, and you're going to be playing tonight. How did this come about?
CB: Actually, about two or three months ago, I called to see what was going on with Convergence. So I got into contact with Lisa from Projekt, who was booking the bands for Convergence at that time, and asked if we could play for Convergence. She said, "You can't play because you're a local band." I said "Ooookay. I'm in a local band...this is a long distance call, ya know." Apparantly, they had set up a policy to showcase bands from out of state and still considered Sunshine Blind to be local, and they also didn't want to book us because Sunshine Blind had already played two Convergences before. But later on, Lisa, supposedly because she didn't agree with the policies of the Convergence Committee, was replaced by someone else. So I gave him a call and got the same answer. So I just kinda forgot about it. I was like "Well, we wouldn't be ready by August anyway," because we're planning to re-release our previous albums, with some bonus tracks added, but it won't be ready until October. So we just decided that we would try to do a show to promote that in October. Then, just two weeks ago, I got a call asking if we would be willing to come out to NYC to play Limelight in two weeks. I was like, "Isn't that the same weekend as Convergence? Sweet!"
RB: Well, the turnout should be good tonight, at least a lot of people who I know are going to be here tonight.
CB: Well, it's been pretty short notice, but I sent out a bunch of emails out to various gothlists to promote the show.
RB: Well, I've run out of things to say, so thanks for the interview, and I will be back later tonight for the show!