Interview With Black Sands

Words by Josh Abraham.
Photography // Black Sands – press.

Black Sands is an artist who combines different genres into his own musical world whilst providing fans with a style of music to get the heads bobbing up and down as the beats get way too addictive.

The latest music is all about overcoming fear, so we sat down with the talented artist to discuss his music, fear, and the future of his music.

What was the inspiration behind blending R&B, Rock, and Electro Pop in your music? 

When I was younger, touring in rock bands, the music I listened to was very singular in style — alternative rock and heavy rock. The end product in the bands I was in reflected that. As I spent time away from playing music, I started to listen to different styles of music and draw inspiration from them in unexpected ways. That was what sparked Black Sands as a project for me. In all aspects of life, diversity makes the world better and more special. Bringing seemingly contrasting ideas or styles together to create something new but familiar is what I strive to do when writing. So far I’ve collaborated with artists and creatives from all over the world — Amsterdam, London, Berlin, New York, Alberta, Bogota, Nashville and Los Angeles. I believe those artists personalities, backgrounds, experiences are all unique and shine through to bring elements of what makes them each special to the music. 

The new music is all about conquering your fears, how have you been able to overcome fear? 

I think to face fear you have to be courageous, but to be courageous you need to start by being vulnerable. A few years back my sister died after a long battle with drug addiction. It crushed me. I lost one of the most beautiful, inspiring and creative people I’ve ever known in my life. It was devastating and hard to grasp. In losing that confidence I didn’t know how to move forward. Playing music again helped me channel the complex emotions I was feeling and find catharsis. Little by little I was able to put myself out there and rebuild what I lost. The fear of losing someone you love is heavy but the fear of not knowing how to adequately pay respect to that person and move on can be paralyzing. Fortunately, I’ve found my confidence again but it wasn’t until I realized I needed to be vulnerable and honest about what I was experiencing that I could move forward.

You have a mixture of American and Dutch inspirations in your career, from your time in both countries, what has been the biggest difference between living in America and Amsterdam? 

The quality of life in Amsterdam is hard to beat. You have beautiful parks, canals and a diverse city with people from all over the world to draw inspiration from. There’s a calm in Amsterdam that I didn’t have in California. The sunshine and energy of Los Angeles or San Francisco is invigorating but Amsterdam allows me to find a more balanced state of living which I think also comes through in the music. I will say though, I miss the amazing Mexican food from LA. Amsterdam cannot compete with the food from LA and San Francisco. 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your schedule? In terms of your music. 

COVID has been challenging in many respects, but in terms of music it’s actually been nothing but positive. Normally, I’m traveling all over the world — Los Angeles, Tokyo, South Africa or all of the amazing cities and countries across Europe. I miss being able to travel and experience new cities, art, food and meet new people, but being home during COVID has given me a laser-focus on writing as much new music as possible. I’ve become more disciplined in writing and force myself to try to bring new ideas and sounds to the table every week. Challenging myself creatively has really helped me during the pandemic. 

Finally, what’s next for Black Sands? 

I have a nice long pipeline of music that I’ll release over the next 6+ months. I’m always looking for new collaborators and new songs or ideas to work on. One major source of inspiration for me is films and TV series. I tend to get most of my inspiration from a really great score or cue. Capturing the energy, tension or excitement of a moment really gets me excited! I guess that means I’ll be watching a lot of new films and series in the coming winter months.