Hey guys! For those who don’t know, tell us briefly who you are.
Austin: We are a band.
Alex: Sleepwalkers, a band from Richmond, Virginia.
You guys are Richmond natives. What keeps you headquartered in the river city, and do you rep RVA hard while touring?
Austin: I love Richmond. It’s home.
Alex: Richmond is the perfect sized city to be based out of. We’re lucky to be able to live so close to one another and get together as much as we do. The community of musicians and artists are so supportive of each other – it’s just a fun scene to be around.
Michael: It’s such a great place to grow up. It gives you the opportunity to work with ease and head to these bigger cities since it’s centreally located. There’s an equidistant quality, it being so close to NYC, Philly, and you can jump on a southern tour route and be back in no time. I kind of feel like the work part of being in a band is always on the road, and when you get back home it’s like vacation so it’s easier to write and record. The silence is like therapy, and it leads to creativity.
With Austin and Mike being brothers and all, how does that work into the dynamic of the band?
Austin: I think it’s probably just like any other band to some degree. But we are brothers, so we have been playing music together since we were babies…that’s helpful.
Speaking of connections, your bio says you came together at a Burger King? Is that true? What did you order? Tell us everything.
Austin: Our bio is a bit of a surrealist representation of us. Haha, maybe it’s all true. Maybe not. Maybe it was written in a different dimension. But I’d order a whopper with cheese.
Alex: Ahh, my memory is a bit hazy, but yes, something like that. Whopper time.
In seriousness, you guys just released your album Ages a few days ago. How long has it been in the works?
Alex: It’s been in the works since the inception of the band, ideas and songs were thrown around while recording Greenwood Shade. The production side of the record began in late 2016.
Austin: Unlike the first album, which we recorded and mixed in about two weeks, we wanted to take our time in the studio with this one. We had a lot of demos of new songs that couldn’t all fit on one record. So choosing the songs from the demos we had was the first step. We started tracking while we were on and off tour, so the process was much different. Spread out in pieces. I’d say overall studio time was roughly 2 months spread out over a year and a half.
Were there any major inspirations and influences behind the album as a whole, or for any songs in particular?
Austin: I would say there are a lot of influences on each individual track. Some songs might be inspired by an individual artist, but throughout the process you start to hear other influences which can change your mind about what the vibe is. I wanted Wake Up to feel like a Cars song and then I wanted it to be a Bruce Springsteen song…then The Police, etc. All of those are in there in some way or another.
Michael: The whole concept of the album is to treat the listener with different time periods of music, taking them through the ages of genre bending, which we naturally are in love with. It’s not revelatory – it’s been done before, but this is how we perceive it on this LP.
What was the biggest challenge about putting this album together?
Alex: The biggest challenge was wrapping up the recording process. There are so many possibilities in the studio and with the maximalist productions we were working on, it was difficult to just say “that’s it, it’s done.”
Michael: It was a lengthy process because we were juggling the live shows and getting back into town for a week or so. We weren’t expecting other artists to offer us support tours in the beginning, and we couldn’t turn those slots down. Like anything else, you have to choose. Keeping the momentum alive through touring was a necessary component in order to expand and let people know we were finally serious about this thing.
How about the most exciting or rewarding part?
Austin: The actual recording process is the very rewarding. We love recording. Finding tones, trying effects, recording vocals. Sometimes you might accidentally turn a knob and find something you weren’t looking for. Those moments are great. The problems and challenges can be the most important element. Challenges can create new Ideas. Also having cocktails, bonfires, watching steely dan docs, playing scrabble and smoking way too many cigarettes is part of the process too.
Michael: Helping others through tough times is the goal, and it’s nice to hear when someone mentions your music in that sense.
You’re on tour right now–what’s your favorite part about being on the road?
Alex: Bringing our music to so many places and feeling the energy. It’s neat to play 3000 miles from where the music was created and know that someone’s life has been impacted by the recording, then performance of the tune.
Austin: Playing for crowds.
Do you have any pre-show rituals? How about post-show?
Austin: We may do a chant of whatever inside joke we have been laughing about that day…or listen to Whitney Houston.
Michael: We typically beg our guitarist, Jake, to do Al Pacino impressions to get us pumped before shows! He can read the ingredients from a frozen dinner and have us rolling on the floor.
Got any good stories about weird or memorable things that’ve happened at one of your shows?
Michael: Mike D being at one of of our shows was pretty remarkable. He told us it was great, and we were on top of the world for maybe 6 months after it.
Alex: We’ve had a good run on support tours of members of the headliners joining us during sets regularly. J Roddy Walston would sing “Images” with us, and Wes, Byron, and Stelth from The Lumineers would join us for “Cocaine”…those were some special times.
Where can we see you guys play next?
Alex: We just wrapped up our release run this week, but keep your eyes peeled for coming tour dates at sleepwalkersmusic.com
Alright, we have a few lightning round questions for you guys. You ready?
Here we go: first album you remember buying or owning?
Alex: Van Morrison – Moondance
Michael: Two singles waiting for the dentist in a shopping center – Beastie Boys Root Down EP and Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice remix single
Most annoying instrument?
Michael: Active bass pickups
Snow or sand?
Alex: Snow – we’re definitely some cold weather boys. While a beach trip is exciting, so is driving 400 miles through feet of snow in a Lincoln towncar towing a trailer – which we accomplished in 2014. There’s something romantic about touring in the snow.
Michael: I second that – snow for sure.
Favorite city to play?
Alex: Richmond for the hometown love and New York City for the big city excitement.
Name an artist you’ve been digging lately.
Alex: Broncho, their latest record Bad Behavior is criminally good.
Best thing you’ve eaten lately?
Alex: I’m in a Caprese mood – the tomatoes are perfect right now.
Song you can’t not dance to?
One thing you hope to accomplish by the end of 2020.
Michael: I’m dreaming big, but we’d all love to be on the newest FIFA soundtrack. Ha! Also, I’d like to meet Dolly Parton. That actually may be more attainable.
Alex: I’d love to be able to bring our live show overseas.