Hopeful angst - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
 Issue 198

Hopeful angst by Madelaine Empson

Sean James Donnelly, better known to indie and electronica fans by his now-iconic initials SJD, released his ninth album Sweetheart in October 2022.

“I feel like Sweetheart, like a lot of other albums that have been showing up lately, was born out of lockdown and speaks to (but hopefully doesn’t wallow in) the anxiety and aloneness that were part of the experience”, SJD says. “There’s a lot of angst in there but I feel like there’s a lot of hopefulness there too.”

Now that the album has been out for some time, the songwriter and producer says he still finds himself feeling quite proud of it, “which is unusual” for him.

“Maybe it’s flown a little under the radar, but there’s a lot there to absorb, and I’d hope it’s a rewarding listen for those who wade into it.”

Sonically, the two-time Aotearoa Music Awards winner and 2013 Taite Music Prize recipient describes Sweetheart as a two-headed beast: “a big, bright synthpop first half and a more organic introspective second half”.

SJD has done a few gigs here and there since October, but is about to embark on the “first proper little tour for the album”. With some choice Sweetheart cuts, obscurities, and old favourites dotting the setlist, The Sweetheart Tour will reach Meow on the 1st of July.  

“This will be the first time we’ve played in years. The band are sounding absolutely mint and I can’t wait to show them off to the punters.”

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« Issue 198, June 20, 2023