Having just opened for Suede during their three night stay in Dublin, Sweet Jane already have a growing roster of tourmates that would make any band jealous. To date they’ve opened for TDOA faves Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Glasvegas, The Kills, A Place To Bury Strangers, White Lies, and Duke Spirit. Not bad for a band that just formed a little over three years ago in Dublin, Ireland by guitarist/vocalist Danda Paxton. Vocalist Lydia Des Dolles was asked by Paxton to sing vocals and later the two were joined by Paxton’s brother Ruairi on bass and Donagh O’Brien on drums. Together Sweet Jane create a sound that could be described as dream pop at its finest and at times, its dirtiest. 2010 saw the release of the band’s debut Sugar For My Soul to much critical acclaim. Only halfway into 2011 and things are still looking up as the band are wrapping up deals for an album release in the US and Germany. Krystal interviewed one of our new faves and talked to Lydia.
TDOA: First off, lets give the readers a little introduction to the band. Who does what, how did you form, and all that jazz. A Facebook fan page has quoted you as saying that you thought Danda was “kinda insane.” Care to elaborate?
LDD: I’m the most important person in the band, and I’m the singer [Laughs] .Danda is our guitarist, and sings a little bit too. Ruairi, Danda’s brother plays bass and Donagh is our drummer. We formed pretty organically a couple years back, and Donagh joined us just over a year ago, so when we think of the band, as it is now, it feels very new. We started out just, y’know at home recording and then we got a studio. It was real laid back. The songs got real good real fast, so it made sense to do the band thing.
There’s a fan page out there? Hah, awesome! I met Danda at a house party at about 4am in the morning. He just came up to me and was like, “You were in my dreams, I’ve dreamt about you, I have these songs I want you to sing on them, you’re meant to sing on these songs”. I just thought he was crazy. I’d never met him before and he was saying all this to me. He won me over in about 10 minutes though and we ended up going to the chancery at 7am [an early house pub in Dublin] and we went on a four day bender, just the two of us, talking about making tunes, and our favorite bands.
TDOA: Is it safe to assume that the name Sweet Jane comes from the Lou Reed song? If so, why that song and what do you feel the name says about the band?
LDD: I wish I had a really cool story about our band’s name. It’s kinda stupid to name your band after anything that can be linked to another band, because it’s never left us. People just really want to know how, why, where, when? Truthfully, we were sat in my apartment; Danda had brought over this little 10-track and I was putting down the vocal, we listened back to it and just got real excited about what we could do together. I had ‘Sweet Jane’ playing in the background, started singing along and Danda was like ‘Sweet Jane; awesome name for a band’. It just stuck. But, it’s just a name, so Velvet Underground obsessives, stay away or play nice.
TDOA: To the untrained ear it might be easy to lump Sweet Jane with the “shoe gaze” revival that is going on but there’s definitely a lot of influences that set you apart from the typical “shoe gaze” band. What does each member bring to the table in regards to influences and songwriting?
LDD: ‘Shoe-gaze’ is a strange term, right? I mean, for me, ‘Shoegaze’ conjurs a real nice dreamy, wall of sound ideal. But in reality, most of the bands that were lumped into that ‘showgaze’ typecast were really fucking shit. Danda is the song writer for our band, so I mean the influences are varied. He really does listen to and love all types of music. I mean ‘Sugar For My Soul’ was wrote when I lived with Danda and Ruairi. We all lived together for a couple of months. So with Danda it was like ‘Wake up and listen to Lydia”. Y’know (it’s) 2am and I’m asleep. And then I’d go listen and we’d just stay there recording all night.
TDOA: You have mentioned being a “metal head” in previous interviews. Have any metal influences found their way into Sweet Jane?
LDD: I am. I grew up listening to metal. Good metal though. And I didn’t really do the hair-metal thing. It was alot of Black Sabbath, alot of Pantera. In some ways I guess our music is a melting pot, so I guess there might be. [Laughs]
TDOA: Tell us more about the music scene in Dublin. What do you like/hate about it? What would you like to see improved?
LDD: I dont really have an opinion on it, if im being really honest. We were never part of any of them. Scenes are primarily dominated by boys in bands. Boys in bands don’t really like the whole ‘girl having more balls then you’ [Laughs]. But you know, it’s stood to us not being associated with any group of bands or scenes, we’ve just kept our head down and worked our asses off.
TDOA: In just a span of 4 years Sweet Jane has managed to support K2 faves Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and TDOA faves A Place To Bury Strangers, just to name a few. Surely there has to be some interesting experiences to share?
LDD: We’ve been really lucky over the years, getting to tour with bands who are playing to sold out shows. That’s pretty special, y’know? I like that it’s not playing to our crowd. I like the fight, the whole ‘this bitch is gonna suck’, but then winning them over in the end. Winning a room full of people over in 30 minutes is hard work, but man does it feel good when it happens.
TDOA: Sweet Jane will be heading to Asia soon as you’ve just been signed there. What are you looking forward to most from that experience?
LDD: Yeah, that was weird for us, hearing that Warner and Synergy were going to release the record. We’re out there in June, so I think that something to look forward to, definitely. If you had told me a year ago our record would be out in all these places and we have to go tour there, I wouldn’t believe it, but I understand it too. This is what happens.
TDOA: What will new audiences be able to expect from a Sweet Jane show? What makes the “perfect” Sweet Jane gig?
LDD: Its a rock ‘n roll show, man. It’s us buzzing. I dont know if there’s ever been a perfect Sweet Jane show. There could have been but I wouldn’t have known. I’m always in a different place when we play. I think it’s the crowd that get to make it perfect and then decide if it was. Perfect for a band is seeing people get off on the tunes, I guess.
TDOA: With the release of Sugar For My Soul to much critical acclaim and several festivals in the works, what else can fans expect in the near future?
LDD: The second record. If anyone anywhere thinks this record is good, then wait until the second one. We’re in the studio demoing some tracks to show all the labels that are gonna be involved with it. Everyday we’re leaving the studio just going ‘mind blown’. We’re coming together as a band. We leave all the bullshit at the door now and just go for it. You have too.