Sleeplust is an indie band that have been serving their audience with electro rock songs for more than a year. A quartet in terms of set up, the group has been releasing progressive singles which thematically talks about subjects like “self” and musically mixes both traditional and the contemporary.
Last year, Sleeplust released their EP “Missing Pieces” which garnered attention amongst their fans and songs from their EP were featured in magazines like Billboard. CelebMix sat with the group to trace their journey till now and to learn what’s in store for them for 2018. Check out the interview below:
Sleeplust has been in the music scene as a band for quite sometime. Please tell our readers about your journey.
Amber: I went out to a show in Hollywood one night at a place called Boardners and saw Sleeplust with their old lineup. I loved their music and that set me on the search for a band to join with a similar sound. I posted a craigslist ad and not too long after, Joey answered my post. He sent me a video of the show I was at that night in Hollywood and he turned out to be in that exact band that prompted my post. We wrote a song the day we met and the rest is history. Woo!
Joe: This line up has been together for about a year and a half now. Mike and I, being twin brothers, grew up touring in punk rock bands eventually following our musical passion out here to LA where we weirdly met both Sarah and Amber on Craigslist of all places.
Sarah: I’m from Cleveland Ohio. Started playing in a band in High school, toured with that band for years until moving to LA in 2015.
The band’s bio on SoundCloud states,
“One day I will find the right words and they will be simple.”
Can you please elaborate a bit on it?
Mike: Sure! We’d love to. Good catch by the way. No one ever asks about that. It’s actually a Jack Kerouac quote which is also where the name of the band comes from. To me that quote speaks to a lot of ways to communicate but in general Sleeplust has a vision to communicate our message, art, etc in a universal and accessible manner and that historically has been ‘simple’. So that quote speaks to the band referencing how we hope to connect with our audience through our songs. Simple but effective.
Joe: Thats actually a Jack Kerouac quote which I love. I think some of the best art is when someone can explore a widely accepted deep emotion but in a simple way.
2017 was quite a busy year for Sleeplust. What according to you was the highlight of the past year?
Joe: One highlight was definitely signing our publishing deal with Angry Mob Music late last year. Other than that it was releasing our first EP last Summer and just watching each show keep growing and the reaction to the music were releasing has been so rewarding.
Sarah: Getting our songs premiered on Billboard and hearing our songs on TV.
Mike: that’s tough because 2017 was an exciting year for us but I’d say either releasing that debut EP ‘Missing Pieces’ because it was a body of work we had been working on for so long but also signing our worldwide publishing deal with Angry Mob Music. They’re wonderful people there and we’re so incredibly proud to be a part of their roster.
Amber: I can’t really pinpoint an exact highlight moment, but what I can say is that the entire process of writing new songs, playing shows with your friends and meeting new people are all of my favorite things about being a musician and being in a band.
Would you like to tell us about your musical influences both in terms of music and songwriting?
Amber: Recently, I’ve been in love with Julia Michaels as a songwriter and an artist. She has an incredible sense of melody. Jack Antonoff is another huge influence. I’ve been in love with Hayley Williams for a lifetime. I think it’s safe to say that she has always been the biggest influence on my music career as a whole.
Joe: I grew up listening to a lot of pop-punk but very fast after that I got very into English rock music like The Cure, then into hip hop records like Kanye West and Jay -Z. I’ve always thought of music without genres and just as great songs. I’ll listen to pretty much anything if it moves me in the right way.
Songwriting influences would definitely be Jack Antonoff, as an artist with his band Bleachers and also as a producer for huge acts. His approach to art just transcends genres and people. Another one is Butch Walker, his songwriting still just floors me. But I try to take songwriting influence from all over the map.
Mike: absolutely! I think as a musician what speaks to me the most is songwriting. While I love and respect musicians who can play ripping guitar solos to no end as a listener and writer that doesn’t connect with me like a well written song and message does. I usually say the guitar for me is my vehicle to writing and arranging a song. I personally am a huge huge The Cure fan. They’re hands down my favorite band ever. Third Eye Blind, Blink 182, U2, Butch Walker, Yeah Yeah Yeahs all come to mind as well. I have a love affair with any post punk music from the late 80’s and then any pop/rock/Emo from the 2000’s. So much of that helped form my tastes in addition to artists like Elton John, Frank Sinatra, The Who; all artists my parents would love and listen to.
Sarah: I grew up listening to punk and pop music. (90’s music.)
Continuing with our first question, we would like to know how fruitful has been your endeavour in terms of opportunities?
Joe: For a band that’s 18 months old I feel like our hard work has started to pay off. Our publishing deal was a big thing for us. We’ve had a lot of music placed on pretty popular TV shows and have headlined some great events here in Los Angeles.
Sarah: a lot of great opportunities here in LA and we’ve just touched the surface.Y
Joe: It’s true that the lines are blurred these days and it empowers artists making great music to get a lot of the same opportunities. But with that being said to play at the highest level of the music industry a label is still a necessary thing for most bands and artists. They still hold power and open doors for your career.
Amber: Coming from an indie perspective, having complete creative control without the excessive barking from a label is a wonderful privilege and freedom. However, there is so much more that goes into the success of a band than having a great presence on streaming platforms. Unfortunately, radio still reigns supreme and labels own the waves. They also have the necessary capital it takes in order for artists to be visible to the masses. It’s not impossible to be successful as an indie act, but it is much harder and it takes longer than what you would imagine. There is definitely a cap on how far an artist can go without a label relationship.
Mike: I think there’s just so much focus on this with artists lately. The real answer is that there’s no right way to get your music listened to anymore. Any and all work. The best thing that artists can do is play live often and be amazing.
Sarah: I do think labels are still the way to go if you choose wisely. It needs to be a great partnership where you can trust them and they believe in you. I’m all for trying to do it without as well, it’s just sometimes nice to have that extra push behind you.
Last year, the band released its EP “Missing Pieces”. Firstly, we would like to congratulate you on the release. How has been the audience’s response so far?
Amber: Thank you! The response has been heartwarming. Those songs came from an incredibly personal place and the fact that people are connecting with them makes me feel like we have done our jobs well.
Joe: Thank you! Reception has been great to it , we’re nearing the end of the cycle now since we’ve released two new singles from the upcoming EP. But the songs have taken our band from just an idea to a real thing out here in Los Angeles.
Mike: I feel personally the Missing Pieces EP is Sleeplust’s debut album. It’s the lineup we always wanted with the songs we always dreamed of making. A lot of that EP was the band learning one another both in a studio setting and in a live setting and I think it’s a very honest piece of art we were able to capture through learning one another and experiencing so many new things as a band. Simply being in LA was still new to all of us at the time we wrote those songs.
When compared with your first EP, we saw an evolution in terms of sound and theme in “Missing Pieces”. How did the theme for the EP come about? Please tell us about the writing and creation process.
Amber: I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve and have had music as a shoulder to cry on. There’s no better way to purge what I’m feeling than to put it in a song and hopefully connect with someone else who may be experiencing the same thing. Those songs are a reflection of coming to terms with being a human and just embracing all of it, even the not so glamorous parts. We started the writing process for each song with bare bones and built them from the ground up. If a song can make you feel something when it’s stripped down, you’re on the right track.
Joe: Our writing process usually always starts with just an acoustic guitar or piano. If it’s a great song it should be able to be played stripped down with just one of those instruments and melody. From there we will go in and really start fleshing the song out.
What’s your favourite song off the EP and why?
Sarah: Organized Mess, I just love the groovy drum beat.
Joe: I think it would have to be “Flood Gates” that song really marked a turning point in our songwriting and production.
Amber: My favorite song off the EP is “Flood Gates” because it empowers you to embrace the fact that everyone has a past, and that it’s okay to process emotion in whatever way makes you feel better. You shouldn’t ever feel ashamed for feeling down, depressed or angry. Not everything in life is going to be positive, but the more you learn to love yourself and all of your “flaws” even in the darkest of times, the stronger you become. Be one with the f*cked upness and be your truest self because no one is perfect and we are all in this together.
Mike: Tough call of course but probably Flood Gates. I think that for us was a big milestone. It was something we had been wanting to make for a while and for one reason or another on that song it all fell into place correctly. I think it was most definitely an ‘ah ha’ moment for the band.
What’s in store for Sleeplust in the year 2018? Would you like to share with us, your future plans; can we expect a new single from the band?
Joe: Well we’ve released two new singles this year from our upcoming EP. “Burning” and “Sedona” are both available on all digital platforms. We’re really excited to play these new songs out and to keep releasing new material this year. Other than that right now we are also working on growing the business side of the band with growing our team.
Sleeplust have been working to offer something new with every single they release. They are definitely a group to look out for. Have you checked them out? Share your thoughts about their singles via tweet @CelebMix.