PC: Great Good Fine Ok; Interview by Caitlin Ferguson; Editted by Ramisha Sattar
On November 23rd 2016, Caitlin Ferguson of Alt Philanthropy chatted over the phone with Jon Sandler of Great Good Fine Okay, as Luke and him made their way back to New York, following the final stop on their winter tour. They talked about making music, touring different cities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and much more.
Alt Philanthropy: What songs of yours do you feel most proud of as a band?
Jon Sandler: That's a hard question because we're super proud of all the songs we’ve released. I can obviously only speak for myself, but the first song we ever released was pretty special to me, just because it started the whole band, and even three years after we released it, fans still have that special connection with it. We’re constantly getting told that it’s people’s wedding songs and it’s special. So I dont know im pretty proud of that one!
ALTP: What show has been your favorite to play this past tour?
Jon: There were so many good ones on this tour. The shows in north carolina were really huge and great, and Atlanta! I think after talking with the band for a little bit, the consensus is that the show in Austin, Texas was probably our favorite of the tour, just because it had the most people and it was an outdoor venue. It was just a really good vibe in Austin for us.
ALTP: Who do you look up to for inspiration when creating music?
Jon: Our music is very heavily influenced by Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston. I know when we’re making songs and they have that sonic vibe, those people are in the back of our heads, so those are definitely some of our inspirations.
ALTP: What is one band or artist that you dream of touring with?
Jon: That's another hard question because we're such big fans of so many bands. Some of our favorites that we would love to tour with are our friends St. Lucia; we think that would be pretty awesome. We have a song “Something To Believe In” that’s featuring them. The 1975 we would love to tour with, CHVRCHES ... a lot of these bands that are kind of still in the same musical world would be really cool.
ALTP: How do you pass time between shows?
Jon: Most of the time we’re in the van driving, on our phones, social media, sleeping, or working on new content. Luke has spent a lot of his time working on behind the scenes videos, and that kind of stuff.
ALTP: What bands would you put on your own road trip playlist?
Jon: Well just finishing tour and having traveled about 8,000 miles in the past three weeks, I think we’ve listened to just about every single band you could possibly think of. So there wouldn't be a band that wouldn't be an answer to that question. I mean, everything. We’re fans of so many different kinds of music and genres, so we end up listening to just about everything you can think of, over a course of a tour.
ALTP: Do you have any favorite fan experiences?
Jon: We have so many amazing fan moments, just because our fans are so awesome. One of the reasons we love touring so much is because we get to meet those people in different cities and to hear their stories. A bunch of people had Great Good Fine Okay tattoos on this tour! In general, meeting these amazing people that connect with our music, is just one big fan experience that is pretty awesome.
ALTP: If you could go back in time and see any band perform live, who would you choose?
Jon: Ohhh wow, I mean I never got to see Michael Jackson live, so maybe that would be my pick. But also, i would like to see Bob Marley. I never got to see the Grateful Dead with Jerry Garcia when he was alive. Wow.. my list could just go on and on.
ALTP: What was the composing process of making your album?
Jon: So how it works with most of our songs is Luke will create a track, like the beat, and I’ll write the lyrics and the melody off of it. Then, we just go back and forth and work together on the different stuff. There's been a few times where it's been a little different, and we’ve been together. But a lot of times we’re not even in the same room when we do our parts, and it kind of works for us to do it like that.
ALTP: So you selected St. Jude as your charity of choice! Is there a certain reason why you made this decision?
Jon: I wanted to give to something that had to do with cancer research, just because I have lots of personal experience with that. A lot of close family members of mine have had, or have cancer currently. It's something I take very seriously, and I hope to see get a lot better by the end of my lifetime. So anyway I can help, donate, and give to those people, I’m going to try to do so.
ALTP: In what ways do you hope to use your platform as an artist to help others?
Jon: I mean the best thing we can give back from performing is seeing music help people through tough times. We’re not a huge band, and even on a small scale we’re seeing that. So that’s what I want to keep doing: making music that I believe in, and hoping that it touches people and gives them joy.
If you would like to donate to St. Jude to help find a cure for cancer, or learn more about their cause, please visit https://shop.stjude.org/GiftCatalog/index.do.