Sandra Vu may be better known for her skills behind the drum kit for Los Angeles' Dum Dum Girls, but she's been working on her own project, Sisu, before her opportunity with the all-girl rock outfit even came about. Now, with a self-released EP available online (and soon on vinyl) and a full-length in the works, Vu is beginning to focus more on her brainchild.
Though balancing between the two has proved difficult, the multi-instrumentalist works on Sisu whenever she has a free moment and even squeezed in a short, California tour for the now five-piece band. Ahead of their show at Burger Records in Fullerton (originally scheduled for the Constellation Room) tonight, Vu chatted with us about her two projects, as well as her love for all things DIY.
OC Weekly (Katrina Nattress): Sisu is currently on a short, California tour. Do you have plans to tour more extensively next year?
Sandra Vu: Yes. We're looking into booking for early next year. We have an EP online that we're going to press on vinyl, and then try and work out our plans for touring with the full-length that's going to come out in Spring.
You did everything for the EP by yourself. What made you decide to go the DIY route?
I just get really frustrated having to wait around for labels. I've had this full-length that we're going to release next year done for a long time, and I needed something else out. We had an opening for the Dum Dum Girls a few months ago, and it was mainly just to have something out so we could sell on the floor. My bandmate Ryan [Wood] can do the recording and engineering and stuff, so we decided to do it just to do it and get it out fast.
Will the full-length be released through a label?
Yeah, actually we are working with a brand new label through New York called Mono Prism.
You're also a member of Dum Dum Girls, so what made you decide to start a side project?
Actually, I was doing this band before I ever joined Dum Dum Girls. I'd already been working on it and writing songs–and this is around 2009–and then the Dum Dum Girls opportunity came around, and obviously that was a huge opportunity for me; I love playing drums too. Now it's more of trying to figure out how to work on Sisu in between Dum Dum Girls stuff.
So is Dum Dum Girls still your main priority right now?
It is because it's kind of my bread and butter at this point. I obviously love playing in that band too, but Sisu is my real passion.
Since you are so busy with Dum Dum Girls, do you find it difficult to balance both projects?
Yeah, it's really difficult actually. With Dum Dum Girls, we have a lot of stuff going on, but it's still hard to kind of perceive what we're going to be doing next year, for instance, and with a band you kind of have to know when you're going to be free way in advance–like six to nine months–and that's kind of why I have to do more DIY stuff, because then I can just do it when I have time and don't have to plan with a company or anything.
While listening to Sisu it sounds much different than Dum Dum Girls–sparse, dark, more synth. What would you say are the largest differences between the bands?
Probably the biggest difference is that we use a lot of synth and keyboards, where Dum Dum Girls is more straightforward rock 'n' roll. Dee Dee [Penny] and I have similar tastes in music, but it comes out different. She mainly writes songs with guitar and her voice, where Sisu could be inspired by a keyboard part or drum part, or guitar too, but I think you can tell it comes out differently. It's not a straightforward rock band.