Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with unsigned Newcastle band SLEEPTAPE to find out more…
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
Jonathan Lott – vox/guitar, Luke Rogers – guitar, Elliot Johnson – bass, Daniel Butterworth (Butters)– drums.
Butters and Elliot had known each other for a few years, having played in a few bands together in uni. Jonny got in touch after having a few Brown Ales; not expecting them to get back in touch – they did. Luke came along to a practice after initially questioning whether he was too young to join the band – the ad Butters and Elliot had put up said 18-24 and he was still a bairn (17, about to turn 18 – they’re not weird.) We vibed from there, writing a few songs in 2 practices. The name’s just a mashup of two “cool” words that Elliot wanted to shove together – if there’s a deeper meaning to it, I’m not sure I know it!
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Jonny: I grew up listening to the bands my dad was into – The Beatles, XTC, Thin Lizzy, Scritti Politti and Todd Rungdren. I somehow managed to progress from those to the likes of Slipknot, 36 Crazyfists and Killswitch Engage. Managed to tame that side slightly (not that I don’t still listen to them) moving to Biffy Clyro (all time heroes) and more Indie – Two Door Cinema Club, Foals, AlaskaAlaska (only just got into them, but they’re mint!).
How would you describe your sound?
We’ve always struggled with pigeonholing ourselves, we get influences from all over; so, it’s quite a hodgepodge of sounds, but I suppose ‘alt-rock’? We try and harness the energy of our live performances and put that into the songs we record, with a greater dynamic control than some old school rock. Have a listen and you tell us!
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
It’s a song that lyrically is quite far removed from the happy, summery vibes of the instrumentation. It comes from a time where toxic friendships I had were breaking down – I’d got myself into a bit of a pickle, and the weight of expectation I felt meant I didn’t think I could do a great deal about it.
What’s your local music scene like?
The scene’s got so much better in the last few years! The likes of Sam Fender, The Pale White, Callum Pitt, Llovers and FEVA all smashing it from our region means that there’s a greater spotlight overall in the North East at the minute. Having said that, there are still other less savoury elements – but guess that’s true of every scene? We’ve played a fair bit in Teesside and, if everywhere was as nice as it is there, music, especially at grass roots level would likely massively improve. There’s such a great family atmosphere down there, even if it is the wrong side of the Tyne.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
We’ve got the Lullaby EP (our first) coming out in November, to coincide with a run of dates around the North. We’ve played Stockton Calling and Heelapalooza so far this year, with Munro in the calendar for November.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Just because he’s my man-crush (and an incredibly talented musician) Simon Neill (Biffy). What a man, what a voice *sigh*. Other than that, if you could persuade Kamasi Washington and Thundercat to play on our next few recordings, that’d be nice.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Jonny’s fallen off/onto the stage at almost every headline gig we’ve played. Last year at a sold-out headline, Jonny managed to faceplant the stage; get up in one movement and still be holding his drink, all to the sweet sounds of Craig David (our walk on music for that gig.) Elliot’s utterly fearless as well and super-athletic – he somehow manages to play bass whilst clambering round stages and hanging from ceilings (yup.)
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
Butters once weed in Elliot’s printer after a night out. Elliot didn’t realise where the terrible smell was coming from until 3 weeks later.