Feature: Sinkane

By Columbus Alive
From the May 24, 2012 edition

In the fall of 2007, after years of honing his skills in the Columbus DIY scene, Ahmed Gallab launched his solo project, Sinkane. Though he had drummed for hardcore darlings Sweetheart and electronic experimentalists Pompeii, This Morning, this new band aimed to synthesize the expansive sounds that surged through Gallab’s consciousness — Afrobeat, krautrock, free jazz and the like.

The promise was obvious, and the interest was instant. Seemingly every fan of underground music in Columbus fawned over the band, including the Alive staff, which named Sinkane a Band to Watch in 2008. Gallab banged out two lengthy, spaced-out LPs and made plans to hit the road indefinitely.

Then, in spring 2008, Gallab got the call to fill in as the touring drummer for electro-psychedelic Canadian combo Caribou, and his own music instantly went on the backburner. After the Caribou tour, Gallab linked up with another indie favorite, Of Montreal. He eventually ended up settling in Brooklyn as a permanent touring member of Yeasayer.

The idea was that playing with these established indie rock powers would help Gallab find an audience for his own music. Now, with a third Sinkane album in the can and a new lineup launching its first tour, that finally seems to be happening.

“I think that it worked out a little bit differently than I expected,” Gallab said over the phone from Brooklyn this week. “I learned a hell of a lot in the last three years. I guess I was a little too cocky … I had a really, really intense reality check many, many times.”

Besides adding up to a killer resume, Gallab’s stints with other people’s bands taught him what it takes to be a professional touring musician, honing everything from his songwriting to his stage show.

“Now I can approach this project going forward with that kind of knowledge,” Gallab said. “Obviously it hasn’t hurt my status at all to say that I’ve played with these other bands.”

Those lessons play out on Sinkane’s forthcoming album “Mars” (Gallab was mum about a pending label deal) and presumably in the tour that comes to Carabar this Saturday alongside The Compressions and Tin Armor. It’s Sinkane’s first Columbus show since Gallab skipped town.

“Carabar’s the first place that we ever had a Sinkane show in Ohio,” Gallab said. “Now that there’s another incarnation of the band, I’d really like to come back and play at Carabar before I play anywhere else in Columbus.”

Visit the Sensory Overload blog to read the full interview with Sinkane’s Ahmed Gallab.