It’s very velocity-oriented. It’s definitely a rock thing, but there’s an edge that’s not hardcore or metalcore. Point blank: Are Sleepwave a reaction to Underoath?
I haven’t done any interviews about this band; I haven’t even been able to talk about it—it’s been torture. Lets go back to Underoath, the era of Lost In The Sound Of Separation. With Define The Great Line, we were all hitting on the same page, and everyone was pumped. But by the time Lost In The Sound Of Separation came, Aaron [Gillespie, vocals/drums] wanted to sing more parts, and I wanted to sing more and not scream as much. It wasn’t a big butting of heads, but with the music we were writing, neither one lent to it. Aaron’s one of my best friends in the entire world, and we were sitting in the car working on songs. We were just like, “Whatever, we do what we do, and we do it well.” And it just got brushed under the rug. After that record, I started writing a little bit when I’d come home from tours. I play guitar, bass, piano, drums. I love being on the computer and programing shit. I do just about everything I can do; I’ve been a musician my entire life, you know? So I came home, and I had a song I had written on an acoustic guitar. It had some piano and really pretty vocals, and it kind of had more of a Radiohead/Coldplay vibe to it. I had my other friend come play drums. We went to my best friend, who has a studio in his house, and we tracked the song. About a third of the way through the vocals, it was late and I went home—we had done all this stuff in one day. I came back the next day, and I got him to highlight the entire session and I pushed “delete” on his keyboard. And he was like, “What are you doing?” I was like, “Give me a couple days, and I’m going to come back.”
I sat home and I was so mad at myself because at this point in my life, I thought I’d at least finish a solo record while Underoath were going—there wasn’t even a question of us breaking up. I was like, “This is just so dumb.” I couldn’t picture myself onstage at 40, playing with Underoath, but I also couldn’t picture myself onstage right now playing soft rock. I’m very easygoing; I’m nice; I’m not really the kind of pissed-off person who runs around with a chip on my shoulder and gets in fights. But there’s this aggressive part of me that I only get out in music that I love, and I love the way it sounds and feels. There’s this darkness that has to come out, this energy. Before I wrote the first track for Sleepwave, I was like, “I am not Underoath. That doesn’t define me. That’s part of who I am, and that’s part of my life. But I’m not that music, and I’m not this music. But what I am is this energy.” Energy has to come out of me. I’m a performer and a songwriter, but my favorite thing is when I’m onstage. I need that release. When I go really long without it, I start to act different. I sat there and thought, “Well, I don’t wanna play metal, I don’t wanna scream, I don’t wanna right anymore riffs, I don’t wanna sit here and write all of these Underoath-style riffs.” I kept wondering, “Why don’t I go drive to see Converge anymore when they play 15 minutes away, but I’ll drive six hours to see Alice In Chains?” Why do I keep going back to see these bands that I grew up on? Is it because I grew up on them? Or is it because that is part of me? Why are all these other things I got into just little phases in my life, and I always go back to the same thing?
So I came back to Stephen Bowman, who’s been my best friend forever—when I would have a problem or Underoath got in a fight or something happened on tour, that would be the guy I’d call. I just came in, and I was like, “I don’t wanna do this singer/songwriter thing. I wanna do an energetic rock band.” And we never talked about it ever again. I just wrote riffs and he recorded me and added things. The band is just Stephen and I. Everyone else who plays is hired as a live musician. All of this has been on our own money. I’ve spent every dollar I have to get this band off the ground. That’s probably why it has taken so long and why my fans don’t understand how hard the industry is. No matter what platform you’re jumping off of, it’s still hard to get things right—at least for me. Then I just thought about those songs, and Underoath were going through a point where Disambiguation was out and we were touring. And then all of a sudden, the rug kind of got pulled. At least in my mind, I was kind of shocked they decided we weren’t going to play anymore, we weren’t going to write anymore, we weren’t going to tour anymore—that was it.
When you say “they,” is that the other guys in the band?
Yeah, the other guys in Underoath. To a few of us, it was shock. To other people, it was more their call. Underoath got to a point where certain people weren’t going to be there anymore. I wasn’t going to get up there without Chris [Dudley, synth/programs] or Tim [McTague, guitarist] or someone else, again. That’s probably half the reason why I did Sleepwave on my own: Because I know what it’s like to lose a member. Whether that member wrote or is on a record or not, kids look at it and don’t think it’s the same band. I’ve made it very apparent. At that point, there were about seven to nine months [between the time] Underoath decided we were going to break up and the farewell tour. I basically lost everything I had except for the songs. >>>