The Sleeping is a post-hardcore band from Long Island that has been a favorite of mine for several years. The band has been able to tour with an eclectic group of artists of the years including Paramore, Bayside, A Day To Remember, and more. The Sleeping recently released their latest full length, The Big Deep, and their sound has been bigger and better than ever. Doug took some time out of his day to answer a couple of questions, thanks a ton!
1. State your name and role in the band.
My name is Douglas and I sing for The Sleeping
2. The Big Deep is your new album - care to explain any lyrical or musical themes present on the album?
Lyrically, the record has to do with the past year and a half of my life. There's a ton of references to New York City and Los Angeles, which is where I was living for a while when I was trying to get my head straight. There's a theme to this record about being very confused and trying to find your way out of it. Musically, it's a collection of what we feel are the best songs we have ever written.
3. It seems like you guys have stepped away from the straight-forward hardcore sound and experimented a lot with new sounds. How did it all come about?
It was real natural. We weren't trying to be anything specific. We pretty much wrote this record without any expectations of what we wanted. We would get to practice, record long jam sessions, send them to everyone in the band via E-Mail and the next day we would jam off of something that sounded cool the day before. Basically just kept weeding out what we thought sounded cool to us. We even wrote a few tracks in the studio. It was just very laid back which was a bit of a different approach than usual.
4. The Long Island scene has gone from a hardcore sound to more of a post-hardcore/experimental sound. Do you think that's attributed to your change in sound?
Personally, I don't think so. We respect the bands that we know and love, highly, but when it comes to influence I can honestly say that we just get ours from the music we listen to and not from any type of hometown scene change, and I mean that respectfully.
5. Doug - you call yourself "lyrically OCD." How much time did you spend on the lyrics and which lyrics mean the most to you?
I spent a lot of time on the lyrics...a lot of moments. Since most of the lyrics on this record are about my confused travels from NYC to LA and back, a lot of these lyrics were written in many different places. They were like journal entries in a sense. Then, when I got home, back to New York, I was able to take the lyrics and read them from an almost outside perspective, change things around and rewrite things I felt I had a better grasp on.
6. Is there one thing you wish you could change about the band?
Nah, I love who we are and what we do. I couldn't imagine us being any other way. We have this chaotic way of life and business and somehow it always works out. There are always ups and downs but things like that are what makes you who you are. I wouldn't change that at all.
7. Not to sound pessimistic, but it seems like a lot of Long Island based bands (Envy On The Coast, As Tall As Lions, Crime In Stereo) have all called it quits recently. Does this scare you at all for the band's future?
No, bands have their reasons for breaking up. It's not some Long Island curse or anything. We will miss bands like Envy on the Coast but we don't sit back and think of it like, "Everyone's breaking up..." It just sucks but life goes on and we will keep playing until we can't anymore...for whatever reasons.
8. Is there a song on this album that you listen to and think to yourself that really shows how the band has improved and matured over the years?
I want to say this without sounding lame...but I can honestly say that I feel every song is a huge improvement for us. We honed in on a certain sound and it came very naturally. Even though we were always credited as a "different band," I feel that we have become more different with the sound we have now than ever before. To me that is a huge improvement in itself. We weren't like "Let's get a little more straight forward" or anything like that... we just got our act together and what we came out with was, in our opinion, our best record yet. I have also been added as second guitar player for The Sleeping and to me, personally, that is a huge improvement.
9. What do you think about the success of bands who play watered-down music of certain genres while a lot of talented bands are overlooked?
I think it sucks but what are you going to do? Hopefully the world will realize that real music isn't about lollipops and candy canes for too much longer...but I don't know. It appears that most of the successful music out there clearly has no artistic expression anymore and it's really sad.
10. You have a tour with Tides of Man and PM Today. How did you choose those bands?
Sal, our bassist, knew Tides of Man pretty well from touring with our good friend, ModSun for a bit. When we were off tour he played bass for Mod on the Johnny Craig Solo tour which also featured Tides...He said they were super cool dudes and when our headliner came up we invited them to come along. As for PM, we had heard them through friends and we felt they had a really cool vibe. They kind of have a similar sound to Before Today, which are our friends in Pierce the Veil's old band. We were big Before Today fans since the minute we toured with them and when we heard some similarities in PM, we thought it would be rad to bring them out and it's great that we did. They're an unreal tight band.
11. Has your experience with recording/producing other bands helped you in the recording process with The Sleeping?
It's the other way around definitely. Learning with The Sleeping and our Producers, Mike Birnbaum and Chris Bittner (Applehead Recording) helped me even think of attempting to produce other bands. I have always wanted to produce records and while recording "The Big Deep," Mike and Chris would tell me how they thought I should try and do it. They said I had a great ear and brought up things that they wouldn't even have thought of at times. Hearing that from them is probably one of the biggest compliments I've ever received. I look up to both of those dudes immensely and I can honestly say that Mike is like a father to me. so when those two dudes tell me to go for something then I'm going to do it.
12. Band links. www.facebook.com/thesleeping
13. Who should people be listening to now?
I have been listening to Foals' Total Life Forever. It's one of the sickest records I have heard in a long time. It's got such a sick vibe. If you've never heard it, check it out in headphones first... and if you party.... party first and then check it out in headphones. ;)
14. Any last words?
Thanks so much for the interview... come check us out on The Big Deep Tour with PM Today and Tides of Man and if you're on the West Coast we have some select dates with Happy Body Slow Brain and Just Like Vinyl. See you soon!!
Love this band. Saw them without really knowing them well during Scary Kid's final tour around here in Buffalo. They absolutely killed it and gave me the best mosh of my life! They were also really awesome guys, especially Douglas when we caught him hanging around afterwords. Gonna have to look into this new album already.