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Interview: The Sleepers

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Sleeping on the job. Sleeping around. Sleeping their way to the top. Sleeping on the mid-day train. The Sleepers on what it’s like sleeping as a part-time profession, upcoming albums and bleeding their way to Hermanus. And sleeping.

The Sleepers
The Sleepers doing the acoustic thing. No, the other acoustic thing, you pervert.

How long have you been together?

Four years? Four and half.

What was the first show like?

It was great. Our first show was at Evol, very cool venue back then. Nice party. We were shitting ourselves. Our first show put pressure on us to finish all the material that had been floating around. “Wow! We play eight songs, that’s like forty minutes!” But it ended a lot sooner than we thought.

Who does what?

Simon does nothing. [Laughs]. Simon sings and plays guitar, Steve plays drums. Jody plays bass, I (Adam) play guitar with Nic. Tonight I’m playing lapsteel with electric.

Who does what?
Seldom do our bands have their own agents. Everyone overlaps. What do you feel about collaboration?

In certain ways bands do play in the same circles. In other ways, they’re a bit separate. There’s no reason why you can’t collaborate with other artists. You do need a degree of similarity between bands for it to work, for it to be a band you can consistently play with.

We’re kinda in the middle when it comes to what’s happening in South African music. Well, white, upper class metal meets electro.

“Prevent regret. And get off your computer and come to a fucking show.”

Interview with The Sleepers
(right click/save target as)

Who writes the songs?

Mostly myself [Adam], and Nic. Sometimes Simon helps. We probably work on a general structure, and then take it to the rest and work on it together.

When we look at our music, we kinda see it as lucid, and the songs are flexible. Light, dark.

What’s the wildest gig you’ve ever played?

[Nic] Cool Runnings in Obz. I ended up bleeding.
[Adam] Was that the one where you ran towards me? [laughs]
Yeah, Obzfest 2008 was a small, fucking intense show. I’ve never played a show that aggressive. It was hot, and they were sweating and it was evaporating and dripping off the ceiling.
[Adam] Nic had a Red Bull or something and just ran towards me. I was like, wtf are you doing?

I think our shows end kinda crazy and wild these days. It’s becoming more and more of a monster.

What’s the furthest you guys have played from home?

Betty’s Bay. That was the lamest show we’ve played in our life! No, wait! Gecko Bar in Hermanus is the furthest. That was a rad gig.

Overtone is setting up a route up the East Coast. You know, play a few shows, get out of town for a week, make some cash. Where it’s almost expected, and it’s not a lus to organise gigs. How would you feel about it.

Yeah, definitely.


We’re undecided on the title. We’ll let you know when it happens later on in the year.

Closing statements that sum up you guys as a band?

Prevent regret. And get off your computer and come to a fucking show.

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  • Posted in Artist Interviews | No Comments »

    The Sleepers | TonightWeDie | Havoc Vultures

    Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

    This post is more about a girl than it is about The Sleepers, Tonight We Die and whack rock newcomers Havoc Vultures, all of whom I saw last night at Mercury Live, and all of whom paled in comparison to the sight of her face again. I met her back in varsity a few years ago, and it’s been a story of unrequited love. The depths of my heart I know, but even after closing act Havoc Vultures had torn up the stage with manic, mike-stand-touting physical insanity, her heart remained as silent as it will until the day I pluck up the courage to tell her.

    Havoc Vultures
    Live a little. Die a lot. Havoc Vultures.

    As opening act The Sleepers mounted the stage for an extraordinary acoustic version of their typically high-pitched set. Earlier, in an interview I did, they’d described it as “somewhere between Cape Town’s indie and electro scenes” wisely clarifying that we’re talking about the ‘white’ market here, and not SA music as a whole.

    Songwriter Adam Hill veered between a firetruck red electric and a lapsteel guitar — you know, those ones you play flat, like a keyboard on a stand, like Gary Thomas from acoustic/folk duo Cabins in the Forest (who just released their debut). His head shining like the sun after a fierce battle, guitarist and co-songwriter Nic Roos reserved the on-stage passions you can expect from him, which was almost as weird as singer Simon Tamblyn‘s buttoned down, escapist lyrics blasting, super-compressed, through the circuitry of the desk and into the eye-locked crowd. Superb adaptation of their harder set.

    It was only towards the end of the evening, when I saw her again, that my long-lost affections were realised. I was preparing to perch atop one of the badass speakers near the front with my longtime companion (Canon IXUS40 4.1 Megapixel Digital Camera), when I felt a tug on my arm. It was her. Of course it was her. She was the reason I’d heard about the act on stage – the recently re-united TonightWeDie in the first place. Years ago, she’d convinced me to drive with her into some place in Tableview to check out her friend’s band. It was also the first night I’d seen Joshua Grierson, then called EmoKidJosh (more on this guy’s powerful live act here).

    I remember her hovering around one of the band members while I bought us drinks, and she buzzed and flitted with an adolescent gape at the proximity she held to him. I was jealous. He was a better guitarist, and better looking and just better.

    I turned around, climbed down from my half-mounted position on the speaker, and wasted no time in embracing her. God, it was good just to hold her tender body in my arms again, even if this girl had sapped too much of my mental energy in the past. She smiled and asked how I am. TonightWeDie, now no longer a threat, carried melodic acoustic rock number after number into the back tunnels of the awkwardly designed architecture of the long-time live music venue, and for a moment I didn’t care. About her, about the outcome, about anything. I’m fine. In good spirits.

    TonightWeDie recently reformed after a hiatus that began in mid-2007, and was announced in a blog post that began “How do you write this? Do you try to be brave and hopeful or just play it cool and wave it off?” It was a pretty heart-wrenching affair, but we all know that it’s not over till the fat lady sings. Or in this case, lead singer Claude Barnardo, who — get this — Has A Very Good Voice.

    Next up was Havoc Vultures, who, it turns out, aren’t newcomers at all, but have been together around a year and made the Mercury as the second last stop on their Cape tour (Kunskafee in D/Ville tonight, kids). Fronted by a Christlike ‘Bos‘, the Vultures are the epitome of energetic, asinine rock-stars with nothing to lose. A myspace page that encourages us to “Live A Little, Die A Lot” isn’t far from the truth, and with the backing of Kidofdoom’s Johan Auriacomb as a tour manager (on “holiday vibes,” as he put it earlier), these guys are chewing up the rock circuit with a sound and power that puts 80s hair metal in the shadows.

    And then the evening ended. She waved off and disappeared again. Will I do the lunch meetings and movies when the sms comes? I dunno. Is it love? I dunno. It’s a spell. I got her email. I’ll be sending her this article now. Wish me luck. And if this all falls through, see you at the next gig.

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  • Posted in Event Reviews | 1 Comment »