Over the past half year, we’ve been dialed into Sleeplust — an unsigned band from Los Angeles that’s been delivering the sort of slick, streamlined electro-rock fare you’d expect to hear on festival stages and alternative stations with an ear to the ground. After premiering last year’s excellent Missing Pieces EP, we caught up with the quartet as it introduces the first sampling of a new project for 2018.
Below, check out “Burning,” the latest move from Sleeplust as the group reflects on what’s to come in the year ahead: working under a freshly-signed publishing deal, putting the finishing touches on a new EP, and trying to break out of Los Angeles onto the national scene.
How did the song first come together?
Amber Ruthe [vocals]: We started off with just basic chords and went back and forth, hopping around a concept for the song. We were talking about how burning the candle from both ends — exhausting yourself — but in an almost positive way, because you are grateful for all the things that are exhausting you.
Mike Pepe [guitar]: As far as production goes, I own a studio in North Hollywood and one of my buddies Luke Sanchez — he had some cuts on the new G-Eazy record — we were chatting about doing a Sleeplust song. He’s a really great guitarist and has really great ideas for production, so we brought him in one night. We all sat down and that session was really fun. It was really fast, in like three or four hours we had the whole song.
You mentioned the theme of burning the candle at both ends, and I definitely picked up themes of perseverance in the lyrics. What experiences inspired all this?
AR: That feeling of trying to live your day-to-day life and just follow your dreams, do what makes you happy, whatever makes you passionate… and also trying to maintain some sort of a social life. It can be sort of exhausting… If you have too much down time, that’s also like, a really scary thing. For me personally, it causes me to go into a dark place where you’re kind of overthinking your life. I know a lot of people struggle with this as well. That’s where anxiety comes from, where you’re thinking about those things you’re missing out on — your FOMO.
Were there any other artists or songs that inspired “Burning”?
MP: I can speak for my influence. Everything I offer to the band, whatever that may be, is always influenced by The Cure, Third Eye Blind… Specifically The Cure — I love adding some of that ‘80s element to modern music. Having said that, with “Burning,” this was one of those songs we didn’t really listen to any real references.
Joseph Pepe [bass]: Going in we knew we wanted a big chorus and we wanted to fuse it with more modern production — there’s a kind of hip hop beat in that chorus. We really wanted to fuse those two things.
MP: This is one of those songs that wrote itself. We didn’t have time to like, open up Spotify and reference stuff, which I think is a good thing.
Is “Burning” part of a new project that’s coming up?
JP: Yeah, so this is the lead single we have. We have a bunch of songs, like six that we’re finishing up right now. I think we’ve all agreed we’re going to release at least one more single, then the EP, and maybe the next thing. We’re definitely working towards another EP we’re going to put out in the springtime.
What are some of your most memorable moments with the band so far?
JP: At the end of last year, we started a publishing deal with Angry Mob Music — that was a really great thing for us. We came out here [to L.A., from North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin] to do it, and it was nice to get somebody’s attention, you know?
I think that all shows we get to play out here are really cool. We’re playing School Night [at Bardot-Hollywood] next week, which is a big deal around Los Angeles. And just being able to collaborate with awesome people in sessions. Like, we wrote “Burning” with our friend Angela Mukul and our friend Luke [Sanchez]. We have a bunch of [forthcoming] songs we’ve written with our friends. It’s really cool to be in a community of artists and musicians that all really, genuinely love each other.
Sarah Luffred [drums]: Meeting musicians and creatives with the same goal is refreshing and a memorable experience within itself. What we’ve been able to accomplish together the past year and a half has been so rewarding and fun for all of us.
MP: We spent the last few months since [2017’s] Missing Pieces EP came out just being embraced by the community — that stands out to me.
AR: After shows it’s really cool when people come up to you and talk to your about your music. Seeing people dancing, getting into it, or coming up and asking you about it — they want to be a part of the journey along with us.