Beloved Portland folk-rock group Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside called it quits in 2013 after releasing Untamed Beast. It was an amicable split, with the band keeping in touch over the years, and Ford recruiting a new group of musicians to record under her own name. Then, in late 2018, the band announced an extremely limited set of reunion shows, including a two-night stint at Portland’s intimate Mississippi Studios. “Now is the perfect time ‘cause Ford Tennis (drums) is in school learning computer programming and may have a big fancy job in the next couple years,” Ford said in a statement about the reunion.
In anticipation of the band’s shows, I asked Ford a few questions via email about how the reunion began and whether or not the excitement for the shows made the band want to continue playing together, what she’s been working on lately, and how her less-than-shiny outlook on the music industry has influenced their plans for the future of Sound Outside.
First thing’s first: How did the Sound Outside “reunion” begin, and how long has it been in the works? Considering the limited nature of it, would you consider it a reunion?
A while back I played a show with Mike Coykendall, and Jeff Munger’s band, The Floating Easements, opened the show. I asked Jeff to play guitar with Mike and me on our set and when it came time during the show for him to come on stage, we realized Ford Tennis was also at the show so he came up and played drums. Unfortunately,Tyler Tornfelt wasn’t there, but that night sparked the idea to play a couple shows again.
Has the excitement surrounding these performances changed your outlook on trying to keep the band back together?
Well, due to the state of the music business, none of us want to tour again. We would maybe play some shows here and there and maybe go back to Europe, but the music business is rough. If it’s just for fun though, we are down!
Even if this reunion doesn’t last, will we get to see more shows by the band in the immediate future, provided these go well?
You’ve been playing with a different crew, under your own name, since the Sound Outside called it quits. How different has creating music been for each group?
It has been great to play with a variety of musicians and I feel very lucky. I have learned something different from each person I’ve played with. It’s my goal to constantly grow as an artist and musician.
Was coming back to your old band, even for a brief reunion, always something that felt possible, or was it a shock to find yourself coming back to it?
Not really, ‘cause we have all remained friends and kept in touch.
Will you be working music from your two albums into these sets, or leaving the space reserved for only the music made with that band?
I saw Plastic Cactus a few months ago when they played a show at PSU. They were great, and I bought one of their cassette tapes! Roselit Bone is also opening one of the Portland shows and I saw them play at Mississippi Studios a few months ago as well and they rocked! It’s very inspiring to continue to discover cool new bands in Portland!
Outside of this reunion, what else have you been working on? When can we expect a follow-up to Soul Sick?
I am currently working on a few lo-fi recording projects. One project is an instrumental stoner rock thing where I play drums and my old bandmate Amanda is playing tenor guitar. We hope to release the recordings on bandcamp in the next few months!
I am also recording my own stuff where I play everything (drums, guitar, bass and vocals) and I’ve been making demos on my Tascam cassette 4 track. Maybe I’ll do some recording with the Sound Outside, but I definitely don’t plan on finding a record label, as I think they will be obsolete in the near future. DIY dood!
What non-musical works have inspired you lately?
I love drawing cats, ladies and flowers. I’ve also been getting into carving block prints.
I always enjoy watching movies, reading books and eating good food!
What’s the last song that you wrote, that we may not have heard yet, that you’re the most excited about?
Been working on some goofy country songs that are inspired by John Prine. It always feels good to be silly with lyrics and not take yourself too seriously!