Sano Hill Talks of Music, Shows, and Touring Ahead!

Melodic folk rock act SANO HILL is a singer/songwriter whose been doing music, writing songs all his life. With this, he has released some tracks here and there, with an album out this year, with plans on a tour and much else in-store too! He talks of his creativity, music, and further plans with us.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

I’m a singer/songwriter that has been writing songs pretty much all my life. I began releasing some tracks in the early noughties on compilation albums produced by a local Galway label and then over the past 12 months I’ve been releasing singles, 5 to date, in advance of the release of my debut album. For the single tracks released to date, I’ve been collaborating with session musicians through an initiative called Dublin Studio Hub founded by Larry Hogan and Larry has produced all the singles I’ve released and is collaborating with me on the album right now. Larry has worked with some of the leading Irish and internationally known artists including Bob Geldof, Gerry Fish, Ronan Keating, and Brian Kennedy. The final mastering on the album is being done by Braddon Williams, one of the leading engineers working in the music industry at present – he has worked with some of the top artists in the world including Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Mark Ronson, Il Divo, Wyclef Jean, Billy Joel, Kelly Clarkson, P Diddy, The Script and many more and did the final mix and master on my forthcoming single “Dancer” to be released on February 10.

I have gigged in Ireland and in the US, particularly the city of Milwaukee where I lived for some time and where I performed in venues across the city, including a weekly residency in ‘The Black Shamrock,’ a popular live music venue. I also was featured at Milwaukee's famous Irish Fest, the largest Irish festival in the world attracting over 100,000 people.

I have gigged in venues across Ireland, including a monthly residency in Galway’s legendary live venue Róisín Dubh – I was also featured on the Heineken Rollercoaster, Ireland's leading student tour where I played support with my band at the time, Delphian, to top Irish bands including Revelino and Sheer. 

My first recorded releases, appeared on the compilation ‘Origin, See the Light’ from Galway based record company Origin Records. The album was well received and my contributions in particular received wide critical acclaim. 

 Another of my songs was included on the album New Horizons, a compilation of best of the in studio sessions from Galway's local station GalwayBayFM, which also includes contributions from leading Irish acts The Four of Us, Picture House (I have also played support gigs for both acts), The Devlins, Sineád Lohan, and Juliet Turner.  However my contribution “The Mirror” was described in Hot Press as one of “the real gems” on the release.

A further song I wrote and performed with my then band ‘Three-piece sweet’ was featured on the acclaimed album Inundations, which also featured music from leading international acts, including Josh Ritter, Ron Sexsmith, Lloyd Cole, Damien Rice, Mundy and The Frames.

After spending some time away from recording and performing I returned to songwriting and recording during the lockdown(s!) as a way to come to terms with and understand the extraordinary times we were living through. 

While much of the writing and initial recording was done in a small studio (i.e. shed  ) behind my house in Galway, the final songs on the album were recorded in Dublin’s legendary Windmill Studios (associated with such legendary acts as U2, The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Elvis Costello and Van Morrison. )

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

Sano Hill is a hill near where I grew up in Cavan (Ireland) – it’s somewhere that has personal and special meaning to me and somewhere I go back to when I can for headspace and inspiration

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

I’m based in Galway in the West of Ireland – There is generally a vibrant music scene in Galway, though regrettably original music has found it harder to get a venue – Róisín Dubh being an important exception. The pandemic of course shut down performance for an extended period but the music scene is very much coming back to life again.

4. How would you describe your style?

I’m always the worst person to try to describe my own music! I guess it’s a melodic rock or folk rock sound in that my songs begin on an acoustic guitar and with melodies that emerge over time before words come together. 

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

As I mentioned above I released some tracks on compilation albums some time back but over the last 12 months I’ve released 5 singles – ‘The Climb’, ‘Starting Over’, ‘CircleWalk’, ‘Sing Out Loud’, and ‘Feel Love’ with a sixth due out on Feb. 10 – ‘Dancer’. I try to put soul and integrity into my songs and music – they are all emerging from real emotions and scenarios that either I or people close to me have experienced and I try to communicate real emotions with integrity and bring deeper meaning through the lyrics. I collaborated with some extraordinary musicians – particularly Larry Hogan and engineer Braddon Williams – so you get a full band experience in all my songs, including brass, strings and effects – we tried to  bring new ideas to production as well (including a recording of a plane taking off on ‘Sing Out Loud’!) to add to the soundscape.

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

Yes – the album features 11 tracks and will be coming out later in the Spring (hopefully!) – I have a lot more music in the background that I’ll be working on for follow-up releases.

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

I’ve started gigging in the past few months and am currently putting a touring band together with the intention of hitting the road during the summer 

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

Firstly to get the album out there and then to tour and make more music!

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

So the music is on all streaming platforms and on YouTube (where you can find videos for all my songs) – you can also find me on soundcloud with additional tracks and works in progress. I have a bandcamp site too - - where you can buy my music and (soon!) other merch.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

The soul, the sound, I hope the music and songs can bring the listener somewhere else, somewhere they may want to go imaginatively and perhaps stay for a while and return. And they may want to move their bodies around a bit while there.

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