An Interview With Actress And Singer-Songwriter OLIVIA SANDOVAL About Her Band WHISKEY SUNDAY AND Being On Fargo!!
Posted On 02 Aug 2017
Singer-Songwriter and actress Olivia Sandoval is part of the folk-Irish Rock Band, Whiskey Sunday. She also just had breakout role on FX’s widely popular series Fargo. Although Los Angeles based, the sound of Whiskey Sunday is pure Midwestern-woods at dusk and combines her band-mates shared roots of Irish folk, with a hearty pour of Americana, Prairie winds, and river-side cabin hymns.
Whiskey Sunday is made up of Olivia Sandoval and Patrick Rieger, with Adam Hall, Liam Lewis and Vito Gutilla. Olivia is the only female in the group and play’s the bass and sings, Patrick is currently on vocals, guitar and bodhran (a traditional Irish drum), Liam Lewis on Mandolin and fiddle, Adam hall on banjo and dobro, and Vito Gutilla on Fiddle. In their music, you’ll hear references of an older time. Bitter-sweet tragic stories hidden in joyful harmonies. The combination of the electric harp and fiddle bring the antique effect on your ears, into a present day mist. Whiskey Sunday will bring the lake-house out in any Irish-American, folk lover. Music that asks you to pour something single-malt, sit on the porch, and sip reverently.
Switching gears to her on screen work, in the third season of this critically-acclaimed drama, Olivia stars alongside Ewan McGregor and Carrie Coon playing the role of St. Cloud police officer Winnie Lopez. Her character is described as “blessed with the gift of gab,” and “not shy about sharing her feelings on everything from family planning to being a female on the force.” Lopez joined the all star cast this season and will continue to appear throughout season 3.
Prior to Fargo, Olivia has appeared in successful series such as The Real O’Neals, The Odd Couple, Medium, and many more. Acting was always in Olivia’s future having grown up watching her dad, Miguel Sandoval (Jurassic Park, Blow), successfully work in the industry. Olivia went on to study at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has now fully relocated to LA to follow in her father’s footsteps.
Learn more about Olivia Sandoval and her band in the following All Access interview:
So where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
I am currently performing my morning ritual of coffee, playtime with my extremely spoiled cat, and starting my day. I have got some Gillian Welch on in the background, “The Harrow and the Harvest,” to be specific. I find that most productive mornings start with Gillian.
How is 2017 treating you so far? Did you approach the start of this year any differently then you did last year? What have been some of the highlights for you this year?
2017 has been quite the year. My friends and I joke – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The current political climate in this country is alarming and disturbing. However, it pushed me to be an activist and lit a fire in me to pursue my passions because life is short and nothing is guaranteed. I am finding myself in the middle of a creative boom, which is just fantastic. And of course Fargo is the highlight and the most beautiful part of that boom.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician and an actress? Can you recall your first musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
Absolutely! I think my first musical “memory” would be dancing in my driveway to Peruvian flute music as a toddler. I would cry if my parents did not put it on. And then my first big concert was Tom Waits when I was about 12. He is my idol. I cannot say enough about the creative genius that is Tom Waits.
When I was in periods of doubt, when the acting work was nowhere to be found, I would constantly try to think of a plan B. I think every artist has experienced that mental Ping-Pong game. Thank goodness for Whiskey Sunday, which kept my performer self consistently satisfied. If it weren’t for the band I don’t know what I would have done, because honestly, no. I can’t see myself doing anything else.
I’d love to know what has been the coolest part about this whole musical and acting ride that you have been on so far?
Fargo! Haha. No, but seriously, I still pinch myself every day. I can’t believe how lucky I am that I got to be a part of such a beautiful project and work with such amazing artists.
I’ve also got to give a huge shout out to the St. Patrick’s Day party at The Tam O’Shanter Inn, one of our residencies. We’ve been the headliner for the best St. Paddy’s party in LA for 3 years now, and it really is like being the Rolling Stones for a day. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had as a musician.
First things first, I am a huge fan of the FX show, Fargo so I’ve got to ask you about being a part of that show? Were you a fan of the previous seasons?
I was a die-hard fan of the film, but to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t seen the show when I got the audition! My parents are huge fans and it was on my list but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Normally when I have an audition for an established program I try to watch as much as I can to get a sense of the tone. For Fargo, and Winnie, with whom I had an immediate soul connection to as a character, I decided to not watch any of the previous seasons because I didn’t want to feel tempted to alter my take. Since it’s a new cast and a new story each time, I thought, “Why not try one where you go in, full force, and not compromise?” It was a lesson for me in making and committing to strong choices as an actor.
Then, of course, after I booked the role I binged watched every episode in about 2 days and immediately became a fan girl. I kept bursting into tears because I couldn’t believe I got to be a part of something so good.
How did your band, Whiskey Sunday first come together? How long have you all been playing music as a group?
Whiskey Sunday was founded by Patrick Rieger and Deidre Moore back in 2012. I joined about a year later – we all met as actors in a theatre company. Deidre has since followed her bliss all the way to Argentina where she lives with her fiancé (congrats Dee!). Vito Gutilla, Adam Hall and Liam Lewis have since joined. We are so lucky to play with those powerhouse musicians. This current lineup has been playing for about 3 years – I think? It certainly feels like longer. It’s such a beautiful blur.
How did you come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
The name Whiskey Sunday is borrowed from an Irish Rovers song called “Whiskey on a Sunday.” It just had a nice, fireside ring to it, ya know? Plus we like whiskey. Patrick told me that they toyed around with the idea of a more Midwestern themed name (Patrick and Deidre are both proud Midwesterners) but ultimately decided it wouldn’t be universal enough.
When do you hope to release your next full-length album of songs with Whiskey Sunday?
We released our first full-length album, “Holy Water,” in 2014. It was a grass roots, labor of love experience and we’re quite proud of it.
Right now we’re hard at work on our sophomore album, “American Music.” We’re finding ourselves writing a lot about the concept of home, both as a physical and emotional place. We’ve been through a lot as a band over the last few years; we’ve lost friends, had life changing experiences, gotten married, etc. Having been through so much together has changed our sound, without a doubt. Our new songs are hefty, angry, and unapologetic. We’re very excited. We hope to release it by the end of 2017!
Wouldn’t that be something! Of course we would be beyond honored, but the music in Fargo is so good and so carefully chosen I would never want to get in the way of that process. That being said, yes – we would flip out (especially Patrick, who’s from Minnesota)!
What is it like balancing your acting career with your music career? How often do you get to play with Whiskey Sunday these days?
It’s intense but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The boys are super supportive and have been so amazing during these last crazy months. I play every gig that I am physically able to play. It’s like breathing for me. I have to play music. So I’m going to keep burning the midnight oil until I can’t anymore, something that I hope never happens!
What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Like I mentioned, Gillian Welch and Tom Waits are huge influences. I would walk across flaming coals to work with either of them. I especially admire the work that Mr. Waits has done in the theater, specifically his collaborations with Robert Wilson. I think I saw “The Black Rider” three times.
I would be remiss not to mention The Pogues. I’ve loved The Pogues my whole life – my dad did a movie with them called “Straight to Hell” in the 80s and because of that Shane McGowan’s voice was the unofficial soundtrack to my childhood. Our mutual love for that great band was one of the things that bonded me and Patrick. I sing a cover of “A Pair of Brown Eyes” and it’s one of my favorites.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
Being an Irish Americana band, we think of ourselves as storytellers above all else. Our songs have a strong narrative quality and we want you as a listener to connect to them on a personal level. Our fans are amazing and loyal and consistently inspire us. We want to create something for them to blast at full volume on road trips with all the dang windows down. We also want people to remember that folk music was born from poverty, injustice and a lifelong commitment to shaping the American identity through storytelling. When utilized, it can be a tool to guide people in a direction of action.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Although we are an Irish band, our music is a blend of many influences. Irish/Americana/Countr/Bluegrass/RockandRoll. We play everything from traditional gigs and reels to covers of Whitney Houston.
Oh, and we have fun above all else.
Where can we find you?
“Holy Water” is available for purchase and streaming at all the usual suspects (itunes, spotify, soundcloud).
You can see us live at either of our residencies at Ireland’s 32 or The Tam O’Shanter Inn. For a full schedule of our upcoming gigs – visit our website!