interview | Sandpit (1997) – Interview with vocalist/guitarist Brendan Webb

Sandpit hail from the thriving Brunswick Street live circuit of Fitzroy, Victoria, but their coy little lilting tunes are usually the stuff found bouncing between the Merge label in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and New Zealand’s Flying Nun roster. Theirs is the sound of sweet discordance, born of bedrooms and really cheap guitars which go out of tune half way through a three-minute ditty.

As Sandpit’s second EP Tyranny of Creeps flutters undemandingly through the speakers, a Suzuki Melodian hoots quietly in the background. “It’s one of those small wind keyboards that you probably played in primary school to the Let’s Sing songbook,” giggles Brendan Webb, vocalist, guitarist and Suzuki Melodian player for the three-piece Sandpit. “It’s a bit like a cross between a piano accordian and a harmonica, I guess.”

Brendan giggles a lot. Though it could just be his reaction to someone plunking away on a bass guitar in the background – probably Sandpit’s Stephanie Ashworth, a Perth expatriot – while he explains the records strewn about his floor. “I’ve pretty much got all of Polvo’s stuff, there are some Superchunk albums lying about somewhere, but I get into loads of stuff.” Hot August Nights by Neil Diamond perhaps? “Yeah! (giggle) I went and saw him with Steph and my parents when he was here last. He can still shake his old, ample bootie and get a clap. We were all into it.”

Maybe as an ode to Mr Diamond, the five tracks on Tyranny of Creeps are slightly softer-edged than their previous super -revved offering Lessons in Posture, a critically-acclaimed platter which only really appeared six months ago and is still being hyped as a blinder. “Back then we were pretty much into full-on guitar sounds,” Webb says of Lessons in Posture. But as songs like the poppy plucking of Drawing Straws and the Underground Lovers’ style “bah bah bah bah” of The Horns Sing wash over you from their new offering, it is really hard to figure how their hiring of Anthrax and Rage Against The Machine’s equipment ever came into play in Tyranny of Creeps.

The two EPs were recorded in Sydney’s Charing Cross Studios with Greg Wales at the helm, and the cuddly hum of the 24 track, valve-amplified desk makes Sandpit’s sound positively hum. “Yeah, we caught up with Greg a few weeks back in Melbourne, he was here doing some Drop City stuff but he’s a hard guy to get hold of now. He’s going to Chicago and joining Aminiature!” We both giggle now, gobsmacked at the bugger’s luck in teaming up with one of the best bleeping, discordant and powerhouse guitar bands in the ‘States.

And as for Sandpit, the name, it reminds me of playing in yellow sandpits in my undies on building sites. Is this the recollection required while listening to Tyranny of Creeps? “Yeah, when I think of a sandpit I think of my one at a primary school in north-eastern Victoria.”

Sandpit hit Perth with a Planet show this Friday the 28th, all ages and 18+ shows at the Grosvenor Hotel on Saturday the 29th and the Newport on the 1st of March, supporting Jebediah.