Sleep Good band photo

sleep good

A feeling of restlessness and an urge to do something enjoyable

words: Michelle Fairbanks
image: courtesy of Sleep Good

Sleep Good's, Skyclimber, is filled with upbeat melodies and lyrics with a sense of humor. Sleep Good was originally a solo project for band member, Will Patterson, who, at age fifteen, released his first solo album under the name. For his fourth album, Skyclimber, Sleep Good became a collaborative effort between Will Patterson (guitar, piano, and vocals), Willis McClung (bass and vocals), Marc Miner (synth), Michael Bain (guitar), and John Kolar (drums). Skyclimber was recorded, mixed, and mastered using tape machines, resulting in a vibrant meld of vintage and modern sound. To hear the full album, go to Sleep Good's website. Will Patterson gives his take on the band's style and recording Skyclimber.

Skyclimber is full of rich harmonious sounds. You guys decided to ditch the computer and record in your bedroom. What was a day of recording like?

Haha well thank you. A typical day of recording consisted of us drinking coffee and sitting on the porch outside of my room. I manned the tape machine and would either record several of us at once or just one person. Willis and I spent a good deal of time coming up with vocal harmonies on the spot and we did a lot of experiments with tape. Some days it was just me recording tracks and in order to do an overdub, I would have to punch-in with my foot. It was pretty uncomfortable since the tape machine is high up on a table.

Your songs marry vintage and modern sound seamlessly. What inspired this album?

Many of us are inspired by the same artists like The Beatles, Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson, and Brian Eno. All of these artists happened to be releasing their best stuff in the 60's and 70's, so that is probably why the album has that feel. I think the record was actually inspired by a feeling of restlessness and an urge to do something enjoyable. Recording is more fun than anything else.

How would you describe your music style to someone who has yet to discover Sleep Good?

It is hard to say because our sound is always changing. I mean, before Skyclimber, I put out a cassette that was half jungle pop and half tape experiments. Skyclimber varies a lot in style depending on the song, which makes it hard for me to describe in a couple words. After getting this question a lot, we all pretty much describe it as 60's inspired pop. I would definitely say there is a dream pop element to it though.

If you were stuck on an elevator and forced to listen to jazz renditions of Devo or Talking Heads tunes, which would you choose?

I would rather listen to jazz renditions of Devo because it would be a lot more interesting. What makes Devo awesome is the production and instrumentation of their songs and so I would be really curious to see how that would translate into elevator music. If it were Talking Heads, there would probably be a saxophone mimicking David Byrne's voice which would be really funny.

What makes Devo awesome is the production and instrumentation of their songs and so I would be really curious to see how that would translate into elevator music.

Are there any new bands you find influential?

George Gershwin is a really great up and coming artist that I think is going to make it big. We have recently been listening to the latest Beach House album a lot. It is hard to want to listen to a band when there is so much hype surrounding them, but I guess it was just a matter of time for me to hear Beach House. I also find the early Animal Collective albums like Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished and Sung Tongs to be really influential.

What was the last track you kept on repeat?

"Passepied" by Claude Debussy. I am not very familiar with classical music, but I love this piece. I have also been endlessly listening to "Dawn Chorus" by Boards of Canada and "Fingerbib" by Aphex Twin.

If you had a chance to play with anyone on stage, who would you choose?

The obvious answer is Willis McClung, Michael Bain, John Kolar, and Marc Miner, which are my band mates. Other than those broheims, I would say Brian Eno, Richard D. James, Panda Bear, Terry Riley, and Randy Newman. If that actually happened, it would probably sound like some crazy classical electro-pop.

What's next for Sleep Good?

Well, we are about to start recording a new album in November and will be playing a lot of shows. I am also working on a video game called Super Skyclimber RPG and it will act as a bridge to our next album. The game will be a means of releasing Skyclimber just like vinyl or CD, but will also have an analog electronic score that you can listen to when you get sick of the album. Right now, I am studying film at UT and have met a lot of awesome film makers who we will work with to put out a VHS video album, which will have songs off of Skyclimber and the new record.

What does it take to sleep good on tour?

Sleeping on tour doesn't happen. Usually we fall asleep really late and then have to wake up early and drive. Also, we almost always camp when we are on tour and so we sleep in bags. It's a lot harder to sleep in a sleeping bag than on my waterbed, but waking up underneath the trees is worth it. Once we get up, I sometimes try to fall back asleep in the van, but I fail every time.

Sleep Good band photo