Interview with Sculpture Club’s Madison Donnelly | By Tim Anderl
Though decades late for the prom date their chosen suitor didn’t show for, Salt Lake City’s Sculpture Club wrote and released the best and most complete soundtrack for the ’80s John Hughes move that was never written or released. Borrowing from new wave and new romantic forbearers, the trio released A Place To Stand in May via Diabolical Records, which is a cathartic and anthemic record the borrows equally from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Unrest and other bands that would have been staples in the TRAX record store.
New Noise caught up with SC’s Madison Donnelly while the band was in the midst of their tour with 20xx (ex-Nervosas) to discuss their roots, sound, friendship, and decadence.
Sculpture Club has been around a lot longer than some may realize. There was a moniker switcheroo, right?
If by switcheroo you mean name change, yes. The band started as JAWWZZ, and we were a garage party punk band. Just before we released A Place To Stand, we were discussing how much our sound had changed over the past two or three years. After giving it some thought, we decided to change our band name to something that represented our growth as a band.
Is Sculpture Club veering left of center of what JAWWZZ!! did or is it the same idea?
JAWWZZ was a band that lived to party, and Sculpture Club parties to stay alive.
Then you added a bass player later in the life of the band. How has that addition changed the dynamic of what you were doing?
JAWWZZ was around for about a year featuring just Chaz and Madison before adding Chris on bass. The addition ramped up the partying and darkened the sound. Also, it jazzed up our writing style, with zero actual jazz influences.
What is it about the band dynamic or chemistry that makes Sculpture Club a soul-feeding endeavor for you?
We are best friends who got each other’s backs, musically and on a personal level as well.
Were you guys born in the ‘80s?
No, but we died then.
Do you find that younger fans who may not have been around to experience ’80s post-punk, new wave and new romantic movements first hand are still mostly cognizant of your predominant influences? Does it matter?
Everything matters. I think we are pretty transparent about our influences.
What is it about those ’80s movements that you most admire?
Lace. Hair. Attitude. Decadence.
When did you begin writing A Place To Stand?
We didn’t necessarily make concrete plans to write an album. We just wrote one song at a time and then realized at some point that we had enough for an album. The oldest songs on A Place to Stand might be close to four years old.
What kind of mood or message were you hoping to convey with it?
Chaz was the primary songwriter on A Place to Stand and the songs represent the slow and steady mental decline he had been experiencing over the past couple years. Looking back on the recordings, we recognized a loose theme reflecting this mental decline. But we didn’t set out to evoke a mood or feeling. Maybe it happened organically.
You’ve released a video for a song from the album right? How did that come together?
Blind luck. And a trip to the seediest place we know of – Wendover, Nevada.
Does the fact that you all have other active musical projects make it hard to commit your full attention to Sculpture Club?
No. This is our favorite project that any of us have ever been involved with. We are very dedicated to each other and the band.
Pick up A Place To Stand here.