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Sailors of Neptune—made up of singers Rachel Perry, 18, Sean Ryan, 16, and drummer Niko Dangond, 20—are a South County band with an earnest desire to chart their own artistic course. Perry and Ryan first met as members of local pop band the Raymies, which was featured in an episode of the now-canceled Jim Belushi sitcom According to Jim. They've since ditched the Disney-tween schtick for a more adventurous psychedelic, reverb-laden indie-surf sound. Perry and Sean belt out sweet harmonies (reminiscent of the Dance Hall Crashers), with occasional detours into wild fits of mirthful screeching.
Though young, Sailors of Neptune play with supreme confidence and sport a streak of individuality, something not always appreciated by the Hollywood moneymaking machine. We caught up with the band during a recent practice to talk about their current efforts at recording, their influences and what it was like opening for the Bangles.
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OC Weekly: I know Sailors of Neptune is the name of one of your songs. What does it mean?
Rachel Perry: It just sounded like a band name, so we used that one. And we knew no one else would have it.
Can you talk about the transition from the Raymies to this band?
Perry: Somebody else was writing our music, and we didn't like it.
Sean Ryan: We wanted to do stuff we wrote.
Was it fun playing music on a Hollywood set for a Jim Belushi show?
Perry: It was kind of boring because it was kind of contrived.
Ryan: None of our stuff was written by us. And we didn't get the gig ourselves; it was all our parents. We did a lot of great things, but I don't think we were as excited as we would be if it were our own thing. You know?
So if Sailors of Neptune were originally a duo, how did you get involved, Niko?
Niko Dangond: I knew Rachel from [Aliso Niguel High School]. . . . A year ago, I noticed [Sean and Rachel's old band] Olive Juice didn't have a drummer.
You guys are in the process of recording for Texas Jesus Records. I assume, because of your experience in the Raymies, the recording process isn't all that new to you.
Ryan: It goes pretty fast. We know all the little things we want to put in.
Perry: All the Sailors of Neptune stuff [that's been released] is stuff I do in my room. Just me and Sean doing all our instruments and layering it. I mix it, so I already know what our sound is. . . . We just put a bunch of reverb on it and make it sound kind of far away.
Since you started gigging together a year and a half ago, has your set changed much?
Perry: It definitely changes because we've got so many songs.
Dangond: We spend a lot of time doing the set list.
Tell me about playing at the Coach House with the Bangles.
Perry: We took a long time to practice; we were really excited for that show.
Ryan: We knew [Bangles guitarist] Vicki Peterson because we met her when we were in the Raymies.
Did you get to meet Susanna Hoffs?
Perry: I did. She was nice. She's really pretty. She looks exactly the same.
Dangond: She's the brunette?
Dangond: She's a fox. [Laughs.]
This column appeared in print as "Ahoy, Mates."