There’s a kind of joy that’s indescribable when a music lover comes across a new band that identifies with songs on a personal mix-tape (showing my age) or downloaded playlist. That joy is amplified when the band happens to live around the corner and play in the community. I had the honor of sitting down with two members of the up-and-coming group, Sails, a band with an Americana soul and a Midwestern sound.
How did you get started in music? How did you come together as a group?
Sean Prendiville-drums and Tim Bulster-bass, are cousins and grew up two doors away from each other in Berwyn. “We probably started playing music together when we were in the 3rd and 6th grades, and living on a tightly knit block, our formative years were spent with neighborhood kids who were also getting into music, especially throughout high school. Like most teenagers, our weekends always included music, and we met other people who shared our interests.” Fast forward to 2013, Sean was in Scotland, and Tim was teaching and playing for a cover band in central Illinois in a town called Hoopston. The two decided to inspire one another through across-the-Atlantic correspondence. They made deadlines, created new songs, and gave feedback. Sean picked up guitar in order to put his writings to music. Ultimately, the cousins reunited in Berwyn and contacted a former classmate, Tom Johnson. Tom was all about roots rock Americana, and things just started to come together. When playing a gig in Lyons, Jimmie Sit heard the group. “We were in the market for a guitarist, and Jimmie fell into place.”
My personal favorite Sails song is “Brouhaha.” How did you collaborate on this one?
The lyrics came from Sean’s experience with a long distance relationship that didn’t work out. “The music starts out like a folk song—acoustic, organic—and then each band member adds a bit more to the sound until we mesh.” Both guys agree that jamming until the final version of “Brouhaha” came to fruition, was the first collaboration that showed their musical chemistry.
Who were your influences?
Steve Earle’s influence is credited to Tim’s dad, but as a group, other influences include Jackson Brown, John Prine, Wilco, The Band, Ryan Adams and Warren Zevon
What is your favorite part of performing?
Tim - “We’re still in the beginning stages of live performance, so I like seeing how we develop and progress from show to show.”
Sean - “I like hearing the honest and raw sound of our live shows.”
What is something surprising about you?
Sean lived in Uruguay and speaks fluent Spanish.
Tim is a middle school teacher, and his students would find it surprising that he’s a performing musician.
A Fan’s Two Cents: When reaching out to Sails for an interview, it was after I spent some time on their YouTube and SoundCloud sites, listening to their music and being transported to a time when I first heard the BoDeans or Son Volt. When I learned about their influences, it was no surprise that Wilco was included, because like I said in this introduction, I think they have an Americana soul and Midwestern sound. With that said, the Gin Blossoms‘ New Miserable Experience also came to mind.
So, here’s what you need to do: Press play and hear/watch Sails from their July 15 performance at Friendly, and then comment below with your own band description.