SoCal Spotlight: Dan Sadin

Dan Sadin
Photo credit: Silvia Grav

We’re back with a new SoCal Spotlight. Dan Sadin moved from Northern California down to the SoCal scene. Check out the interview below to learn more about him.

Hometown:  San Francisco
When the solo project formed:  2018
Members: Dan Sadin – no real “official members,” it’s just me. I do have a killer live band, though.

When did you first know you wanted to be involved in music?

I don’t think there was ever a moment when my life has existed without music. My grandfather was a jazz pianist and arranger and I grew up playing piano, before guitar. I remember him singing my brother and me songs. Before I even knew how to play an instrument I would sit down at his piano and guess at notes, trying to compose my own simple songs. Then, I discovered the guitar – it was like something was calling me to it, I became obsessed with the idea of being a guitar player. I taught myself to play “Stairway To Heaven” on an old classical guitar over the summer and asked my mom if I could get guitar lessons. She said if I went and got my brother’s acoustic guitar and played the song for her she would pay for guitar lessons – she didn’t believe me, haha. I played the intro for her and from that moment on I’ve been on a guitar player.

How did the current project come to be?

I feel lucky to be involved with many great projects, whether touring, writing or producing. And while I love supporting those that I work with, I have always wanted to find a way to work on my own music. I had a hard time finishing songs and finding my own voice. Finally between breaks from tours, I started piecing together the parts of The Way That It Hurts. That song laid the groundwork for the rest of the EP and became the foundation of this project. I think there was something cathartic with it – I was finally able to get in touch with my feelings and see them come out with my own voice, something I hadn’t been able to do up until that point.

With all the little pockets of music scenes in SoCal, how do you go about checking out the local scene and finding new bands to listen to or even perform with?

Honestly, it just starts with friends. You meet one person who introduces you to another, who invites you to a show where you meet more people, who invite you to more shows, etc. I feel super lucky to have an incredible community of friends and musicians in Los Angeles. I actually love walking into a show where I don’t know anyone or know the band/performer and discovering something new. I also love to discover new venues and places to check out music. There are some great ones popping up right now, like the Lodge Room in Highland Park, where I’ll actually be doing my EP release show on 6/28!

What’s your favorite thing about the SoCal scene? What’s one thing you wish you could change about it?

I love that there’s so much going on all of the time. I also wish there wasn’t so much happening because it becomes really hard to cut through the noise. There are so many shows happening every night that inevitably you end up missing something you wanted to see, or you end up competing for tickets.

There’s no doubt that this is a crowded place. Do you ever find it difficult to build up even just a solid local following? How do you go about doing that?

Absolutely. I think it’s about persistence, consistency and strategic planning. I’m just getting going as Dan Sadin, but I’ve done it with other bands. Find the places and shows that make sense for you to play, meaning there is some sort of alignment with other bands on the bill and the type of people that come to that venue, or the event. And just keep making friends; it’s all about your community no matter where you are.

How do you handle your social media presence? Where can our readers follow you?

I’m on all major social media platforms, Facebook (/dansadinmusic), IG (@dansadin), and Twitter (@_dansadin). Or it’s easiest to keep up with my website,

Do you have a favorite SoCal spot to play? What makes it your favorite?

I just recently played the El Rey with Frenship – that was a really fun show. The venue is amazing, always fun to see a show (as an audience member) and being on the other side was really special. The sound is great, the vibe is great, and they always have solid acts coming through. I look forward to getting back there soon!

What are you working on right now?

I am getting ready for the release of my EP, out June 22nd and we are celebrating with a show at the Lodge Room in Highland Park on June 28th. I will be joined by some of my best friends who will be performing short acoustic sets, including, Frenship, Holychild, Colyer, talker and Liv Slingerland. I’m really looking forward to the night, and it’s free (with RSVP)! Aside from that, I will be playing more shows throughout the summer and working on more music.

Interview: If Walls Could Talk Discuss New Album, Detroit, and More

If Walls Could Talk

If Walls Could Talk released a deluxe edition of What Would They Say? recently. Tony Burke and Nick DiStefano took some time to chat with us about the band, the Detroit music scene, and more. Check out the full interview below.

When the band started in 2013, what were your expectations?

Tony: Well, we like to set our expectations pretty high. Not to mention, all of us are in it for the long run. So, our short term goals were simple like playing with well established local acts, creating our first professional EP, and putting together an entertaining live set. But, in the back of our minds, I’m pretty sure all of us have been just waiting to play at Soldier Field with Coldplay one day.

Have you met or exceeded them so far?

Tony: Now that I think about it, we’ve been pretty consistent with both meeting and exceeding our goals. Not only do we have our first EP out, but we have a deluxe version coming out.

How did the Detroit music scene impact your sound?

Nick: I feel that the Detroit music scene is prominently pop punk and alternative. I know for a few of us here, we started playing making pop punk music originally. I know that has seriously influenced my music personally, and you’ll see a lot of that in Static. Lots of octaves and power chords!

What is the local scene like there?

Tony: If I had one word to describe the local scene in Detroit, I would way it’s definitely a community. Everyone knows each other and is very engaged in the scene. It doesn’t really feel like bands are competing with each other. Everyone just wants to see the other band succeed at whatever they are doing.

What has been the most challenging thing about building up a local following for the band and then having it expand beyond Detroit?

Nick: At first it was just about getting in front of the right audience. In Detroit, we’ve expanded greatly and have now sold out multiple shows here. There have been a few markets that we’ve broken into well, like Grand Rapids and Chicago. However, we’re still getting our foot in the door in others more east of Detroit.

When did you know you wanted to release a deluxe edition of ‘What Would They Say?’ and what does it include?

Nick: We grew so much from the release of the initial EP, and we had so much more content we wanted to share with everyone. This includes music videos, songs, and renditions of songs. So when we started talking about our next steps, it felt so natural to end this cycle of our band with a deluxe version.

What is the band focusing on next?

Nick: Right now, it’s writing. We want to be able to improve our live show so much, but also really make our music stand out on a recorded track too.

Outside of the band, do you have any other hobbies?

Tony: I’m a lover of the arts. Outside of music, I like creative writing and even dancing. Most people probably don’t know this about me, but I’m actually a professional ballroom dancer.

Thank you for your time! Where can our readers keep up with the band?

Nick: It’s our pleasure! You can find us really anywhere. Here are a few links:
Snapchat: iwctband

Also follow us on Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play music!

SoCal Spotlight: Swerve


Swerve is the latest SoCal band to grab our attention. They’re playing The Bootleg on June 26th with support from TEST to celebrate their EP release. Check out more information about the band and how they got their start.

Hometown: Los Angeles
When the band formed: 2015
Greg Mahdesian – Vocals, guitar
Ryan Berti – Guitar, vocals
Brandon Duncan – Bass, vocals, production
Mark Garner – Drums, jokes

When did you first know you wanted to be in a band?

GM: I think I’ve always wanted to be in a band, but didn’t know how to put myself out there until a few years ago. I started off doing solo stuff with my acoustic guitar and then it kind of organically became a band once we started playing live. It’s more fun that way and the music is better, and no one ever asks “who’s your favorite solo artist?”. It’s always “what’s your favorite band?”.

RB: I’ve always thought that music sounded better when there was some synergy between the people making it, and figured that’d be the goal.

BD: Wait, I’m in a band?

MG: When Titanic came out, I saw it and thought, “man, I never want to be on a boat like that” and bought a drum set. The rest is history.

How did the current lineup come to be?

RB: Greg asked if I played guitar, and if I could show up on-time to practice, and I said yes to both.

GM: Brandon produced the first EP and since he knew the songs so well I asked if he could play bass while I put together a live outfit, and he’s been in it ever since. Ryan and I were buddies from school and he asked if he could join the band after several margaritas at Las Perlas in downtown. Mark just kind of showed up one day.

MG: Greg said he had dirt on me, and I didn’t really want to take the risk.

BD: I’m pretty sure it was all an accident.

With all the little pockets of music scenes in SoCal, how do you go about checking out the local scene and finding new bands to listen to or even perform with?

GM: Friends will invite us out to check out their band or their friends’ bands- it’s like a way less lame version of corporate networking. We get asked to support some bands and then we do the same, and hopefully you like each other and become fans of one another and make a connection.

BD: I just wait for the youngsters in the band to tell me what’s cool, and also where to show up for gigs and when.

MG: I don’t know anyone outside of the music scene so it’s basically all I do.

RB: All of the local bands seem to have some network of friend-bands, so it’s just a matter of going to shows and learning what’s going on outside of your own friend-band-network.

What’s your favorite thing about the SoCal scene? What’s one thing you wish you could change about it?

RB: The number of great local/national/international bands that play in Los Angeles on any given night of the week is crazy. I wouldn’t change a thing.

GM: I like how surprisingly welcoming it is. We kind of showed up late to the party and have still found a home, made friends and all that. It’s probably a little too dispersed to really feel like a proper scene though- there’s a lot of micro-scenes. I don’t really have anything else to compare it to, but I like it.

There’s no doubt that this is a crowded place. So do you ever find it difficult to build up even just a solid local following? How does the band go about doing that?

GM: The competition probably forces you to be better. There’s a million different things going on every night, so it’s always easier for someone not to see you than to check you out. Maybe it forces you to think too career oriented as well, and you can end up getting myopic and thinking that LA is all that there is. I mostly think that if you show up and play well, get better and be open to new ideas without sacrificing what you are, and put in the hustle, you’ll at least bring people to shows.

BD: Greg asks me that same question every other week….

How do you handle the band’s social media presence? Where can the readers follow you?

RB: It’s usually an amalgamation of our individual pictures and videos, and we have friends that help us find a common theme/color in that mess.

MG: I try to really take the reigns and approach everything with a hands-off, but controlling vibe.

GM: We know who we are, so we try to just be ourselves when we post and interact with others online…with help from people that know how to post and interact with others.

BD: Also leave that up to the youngsters. But after all, we are a band, so what we’re really interested in are listeners!

Do you have a favorite SoCal spot to play? What makes it your favorite?

GM: Playing the Troubadour was an amazing experience, and I’m stoked to be headlining the Bootleg for our EP release show. I’ve always wanted to play there and to be the main attraction feels good.

What is the band working on right now?

GM: Tons of new music. We’re expanding our sound, going heavier and also prettier. Headlining the Bootleg June 26th, and then getting out of LA to see what we’ve been missing.

BD: Mostly I’m trying to galvanize these youngsters’ livers so that when we go out on the road they can keep up with the old geezer!

MG: I’m not entirely sure… there’s a ballad in there though. And experimenting with feedback.

RB: Fuckin’ bangers.

Playlist: Kailynn of Tiny Stills Shares Favorite LA Artists

Tiny Stills
Photo credit: Joe Lemke

Tiny Stills will be releasing Laughing Into the Void on June 1st. Ahead of it’s release, Kailynn put together a playlist of her favorite fellow LA artists. You can read all about her picks and listen to the playlist below.

Modern Huge – “My Feelings for You are Complicated”
Charo Molina of Modern Huge is one of my absolute favorite humans in LA. We’ve been through hell and back together and she did me the honor of letting me produce, engineer and mix this track for her (as well as sing on some of it.) So I may be a little biased but I truly admire her songwriting and performing and have been a huge fan of hers from literal day one. Modern Huge is a gem in LA, and has more music on the way in 2018.

Blushh – “There for You
Shab is awesome and super active in music community in LA and is really supportive, kind, creative and inspiring. I also love this track so hard because I’m a huge fan of great hooks and I could listen to this song on repeat all days. This gets stuck in my head a lot, and has a great chorus you can flail around to.

Pacific Radio – “Katie”
I really enjoy songs that I can daydream to while you’re driving, and this one is the perfect one to listen to on a road trip while you’re watching the world pass you by outside.

The Gutter Daisies – “La La La, Blah Blah Blah
Ok these guys and I can for sure bond over our love of early 00’s pop/rock and def Green Day. They remind me of everything I loved about American Hi-Fi too, and I think they’re incredibly charming.

Jenn Champion – “O.M.G. (I’m All Over It”)
I love this song because I love 80’s electronic slow pop vibes and her vocal performance in this song. I’m also a big fan of a clap with a big reverb, and this gives me great new Tegan and Sara vibes. If you like a catchy electro-indie pop then look no further.

Janelane – “Killing Time”
I’m a fan of dreamy indie pop and Jane Lane nails it. Chill, dreamy, sparkly, lo fi, and great rhythms in those melodies. I love this song.

Mourners – “Masochist”
I like Mourners and this song in particular because of it’s old school Weezer vibes. Mourners should be an LA fave if you’re into solid rock jams!

Sleeplust -“Sedona”
Sleeplust makes super catchy Electro indie-pop. Its total ear candy, so if you love slick productions and groovy melodies, you should definitely check out Sleeplust.

Dresage – “Center”
This is the project of my former bandmate Keeley Bumford and is super cool electronic indie-pop but definitely has some jazz elements mixed in. This song in particular is a beautiful mix of textures and floating melodies.

Luna Shadows -“Waves”
I firmly believe Luna Shadows is the electro pop goddess that LA needs but doesn’t deserve. She’s got great choruses, and theres no hiding mediocre songwriting with cool sounds- these are actual great songs with great electronic production. She’s a producer as well as a songwriter, so I think Luna Shadows is an artist that can attack on all fronts.

Emma Cole – “High Times”
If I had to compare Emma to another artist, I’d most closely say it’s Amy Winehouse. Emma really bares her soul in her music and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

The Manx – “Blood Gold”
The Manx are a punk folk band and they’re kind of creative geniuses. These guys are almost always half naked, covered in paint, and doing something super cool to compliment their energetic, chaotic punk folk renaissance.

Yellowbirddd – “Who is Your Lover”
I’m a fan of sad emo acoustic rock and I feel like Liam of Yellowbirddd is such a great emotive songwriter. “Low Shoulder” is also another one of my favorites.

Lucy & La Mer – “Rebel Babe”
Lucy and I met playing some shows together and I’ve admired her from afar for a while, and her new single “Rebel Babe” has an edgier take on indie pop/rock.

Lauren Ruth Ward – “Make Love to Myself”
Lauren Ruth Ward is Mick Jagger. If you’ve seen Lauren Ruth Ward live, you know what I’m talking about. She’s a powerful front person and a force to be reckoned with. This song is also my favorite one I’ve seen them do.