The Benefits of Sleep: An Interview with sleepmakeswaves
Australian instrumental group sleepmakeswaves has recently released their latest record, Love of Cartography. The album presents the band’s continued desire to extend creative directions within an instrumental rock framework. sleepmakeswaves’ heavy touring schedule the past three and a half years — along with sharing the stage with 65daysofstatic, Karnivool & Russian Circles, and Boris — has kept their powerful live energy, which is captured impressively on the album along with skull-crushing instrumentation. Prior to their show at Scout Bar on April 26, I was able to get a quick chat with guitarist Otto Wicks-Green about the touring process, shoegaze, and cellphones. Their latest video, Traced In Constellations, can be found here.
FPH: sleepmakeswaves is on the last leg of their first official North American tour, so how has it been so far?
Otto Wicks-Green: It’s been really long, and really awesome. It’s our first proper tour of the United States; we’re really stoked to be on the road with some great bands. Just the aspect of tour is cool, like the landscapes, and stuff like that. It’s been pretty tough-going like any tour, but it has been fun.
FPH: Do American fans need to put down their phones?
Wicks-Green: I think you’re starting to see that everywhere. I’ve found that people are on their phones a lot in Europe, too. Especially Western Europe, like Germany. I think a lot of people put [their phones] away during the show, unless they’re recording stuff. It’s a mix of the crowd, as far as I could tell.
FPH: You’re previously mentioned that China was a monumental country for the band to play. What was the significance of playing that country?
Wicks-Green: Yeah, that was really cool. We half expected it to be a tough time, but we had a lot of fun, the best time we’ve ever had on tour. China has such a large population that even if a small percentage of the people in the city heard of the band, that still equated to a lot of people that came to see us, so we were pleasantly surprised at every show. Don’t forget about all that incredible food we ate, holy hell.
FPH: It seems like now is a time for bands to reunite and/or release new music after a long hiatus. What is a non-reunited band that you would like to see right now?
Wicks-Green: Oh, man! I suppose My Bloody Valentine is a band I would really like to see. I guess they have kind of reunited, so I guess that doesn’t count, but I’d still love to see them. I would also really like to see the Cocteau Twins, just for their songwriting and atmosphere that they created. I’m not sure if they are on hiatus or not, but I’d love to see them.
FPH: sleepmakeswaves is an instrumental band in a time where vocals seem to be important. Is it difficult to stay instrumental?
Wicks-Green: [laughs] Yes. It’s hard being in a band, you know? You have to go on the road to make money. You also have the constant pressure to write quality stuff in a competitive field with so many good bands. I think people start to look past the instrumental factor. For most people, if it’s their first time seeing us, they quickly get used to it, and feel the energy that goes into writing a song. It can be pretty interesting without the distractions of vocals. The dynamics, texture, that kind of thing. So I think, in that sense, we hold up.