The Dream Shattering Reveries of Sleep Waker
Sleep Waker is a dark and heavy metalcore collective from Michigan ready to invade your dreams with their earth shattering sonic reveries. Their debut full length album Don’t Look At The Moon has recently been unleashed via Stay Sick Recordings, and they recently concluded a cross country trek with The Northern. Highwire Daze Online caught up with the Sleep Waker brigade to discover a whole lot more about their devastating adventures in sound. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Sleep Waker, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Frankie, and I play Drums
I’m Noah, I play bass guitar.
I’m Hunter, I’m our vocalist.
I’m Jason, I play guitar.
I’m Eric, I also play guitar.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the last few years, the music scene here has really taken off.
Tons of ridiculously talented metal bands are starting to blow up, and a lot of us in those bands have pretty close-knit friendships with each other.
It’s nice to see people bringing each other up rather than making everything a competition.
How did you wind up signing with Stay Sick Recordings?
So we actually were pretty wary of signing to any record label for the last year or so before getting in touch with Stay Sick.
I think it’s characteristically easier to hear the horror stories surrounding record labels and how they treat their artists, but
with Stay Sick, we were pretty blown away by not only the compassion they’ve shown us, but also just in general with how they treat their artists.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the CD title Don’t Look At The Moon?
Yes! The band has always had a focus on sleep paralysis, dreams, and insomnia, and this album really brings them all together. If you listen to the album as it’s presented online then you’ll hear the songs in the order they were written, but if you buy the physical album you’ll see another track list that tells the story behind the name about someone battling with a physical representation of sleep paralysis and the struggles they’ve been through that have lead up to that point.
Select any two songs from Don’t Look At The Moon and what inspired the lyrics.
The title track, I. Dont Look at the Moon, that’s meant to kick off the story, is heavily inspired by certain members’ sleep related issues. Several of us struggle with sleep paralysis and insomnia regularly, and we felt that writing a song about it would help us cope and express our feelings on the topic.
Breathing is another song with a strong meaning. It’s probably the most in your face about the topic it’s discussing. It’s from the view of someone that has had a loved one go through sexual abuse and the anger they feel towards the abuser. It was a very personal subject at the time when we started writing for that song, and something we felt we needed to write about. It also tied in well with the concept of the final four songs, which discuss the life events that have lead to the story in Don’t Look at the Moon.
Who produced Don’t Look At The Moon and what was it like working with them?
So we went with Lee Albrecht for the start to finish production on DLATM. He’s the same producer from our Lost in Dreams EP. Lee is, in our opinion, one of the best people in this industry to work with because of how much passion he puts into his work, how fast he is, but also just how laid back and hilarious he is in the studio. The guy eats, sleeps and breaths music and it shows in his work.
How did your recent tour with The Northern go and what were some of the highlights?
It went really well! This was our first tour on the west coast and it was incredible. Most of us hadn’t been out that way so
the sight seeing was obviously amazing, but I mean we traveled the country playing music for 20 days straight. It was a dream.
As for highlights, I’ll give two. One was trying to drive to Big Basin Red Woods national park. An 11 passenger van + trailer driving on a 12ft wide – 2 lane winding cliffside road was terrifying but awesome. The other would probably be our show on the 4th of July when our bassist Noah got on top of our van and played the Star Spangled Banner playing out of a PA plugged into the van. We filmed with from the ground and with a drone and I think that was when we realized we’re really living out a dream. The Northern infecting us with their accents was also great.
You’ve also recently completed a few dates with For The Fallen Dreams and Sworn In. How did those shows go?
They went really well! We played three shows around the midwest with them. The venues were great and the people we met were even better. We had the absolute pleasure of sharing the stage with Prison and Sworn In as well. Along with being a huge professional accomplishment, it definitely helped us grow as musicians as we got to shadow them and get a deeper look into the music scene and the amazing people in it.
What could one expect from a live Sleep Waker show?
Definitely a lot of energy. We like to move a lot, and Hunter loves to really get the crowd moving. We have a pretty baroque view of how live sets should sound, so we like to keep something in the background at all times to help you get into the music and fully feel the atmosphere of a Sleep Waker show. If you haven’t been to one yet, now is the time to come out. I think after playing these last few tours and spending a lot of time together, we’re tighter than ever.
If Sleep Waker could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I think we’re going to have to answer two for this one. That’s a hard one to all agree on haha.
Deftones and Villians (Yüth Forever). They’re some of our favorite bands for sure.
What’s up next for Sleep Waker?
Hitting the road and playing the new songs! We’ve got a whole new set list ready to go that we’ve only played at hometown show in Grand Rapids, MI so far. We’re so excited to see how people react to these songs live!
Any final words of wisdom?
Don’t mess with Randall…
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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