Track-By-Track: The Sleeping - Features - Alternative Press




Track-By-Track: The Sleeping

September 29 2010, 8:00 AM EDT By Tim Karan


Frontman DOUGLAS ROBINSON tells the stories behind each song on THE SLEEPING’s The Big Deep.

Dark Days
This song was written about overcoming certain struggles we had faced during the writing process of this album, and how it connected with the last year-and-a-half of my life. Things were at a very serious low for me until I started to pull myself out of the mess I was in. I had moved from New York City to Hollywood for a while just to get away for a while. This song, lyrically, started coming together when I realized I needed to be back in New York making music with my best friends.

Boroughs Of The Ocean
This song was written about the feelings I had coming back to my past after I had returned from California. I was terrified to face all that I had left. I was on the subway to Brooklyn and I just felt this endless pit in my stomach. I felt the awkwardness from a loved one I left just waiting to scold me. I'm not good with a lot of confrontation and this song is all about worrying up to that specific moment.

Beautiful Gloom
Basically, I told the story of my life in this song. It's a "War Of The Roses" type of vibe between two loved ones who can never get anything right, but every time I slipped away, I saw something beautiful through the negativity and that kept me connected. It's like not knowing what you have until it's gone and how it makes you want to change and become a better person.

Retiring Spies (Change Your Life)
I was in my apartment one day and Mission: Impossible was on TV. I had taken a break from writing since nothing was really inspiring me at that moment, and I got a bit caught up in the movie. I connected with the whole “spy wants to get out of the game” thing. I was going through a time when I felt that exact same way. I was just trying to get my head straight overall. So I wrote the lyrics as if one spy was helping another get out of the game before it's too late. Basically, that was my damaged self trying to help my transformed self surface. I needed motivation to become a better person or else all would have been lost with me. This was written to keep me from losing my mind.

Deafening The UK
This was the final straw. I had realized it was time to go back to New York. I had about all I could take of Los Angeles and I needed to bail. By the end of the song, I am staring at the New York City skyline and it's probably one of my favorite moments on the record. I will never forget returning home and seeing that sight. It helped me understand not taking anything for granted.

The Phantom Of Darker Clouds
The lyrics to this song were part of a letter I had written for someone but never sent. Basically, in a "get over it" sort of fashion, I had apologized to this person/everyone for picking up and leaving so abruptly. I needed to do my own thing for a while, and I knew people wouldn't understand it. So I just picked up and left. I hurt a lot of people this way, and it still upsets me. But I know I had to do it for my own safety and health. I needed to disappear into another world before something bad happened to me.

Oh, Gloria
This one is all about my mother. We’ve had a very rough past, and I wouldn't be anything without her. I don't think I’ve ever written anything specifically about her until now, and I felt like this was the perfect time. She has always been by my side through everything,  and if I hadn't saved her life at such a young age, then I would have been an absolute disaster. This song tells the story of what happened the night she almost slipped from me. I wanted to paint a mental picture for the listener so they can understand how strong the bond is between she and I. It's a very emotionally troubling song for me, but what makes it easier is the fact that at the end, there's the realization that everything is alright and my mother is still here with me. We survived a lot of hardships back in the day, and our bond is cosmic.

Get You Back
This was written about getting someone back—it’s about growing up and owning up.

The Big Deep
This was written when I got back to the East Coast. I had gotten back from L.A. and the very next day, I walked up and down the streets of New York City. When the sun was going down, I had taken a seat at Union Square and I just wrote about how amazing it made me feel—how it’s my ship and it will never sink and how it’s my light that guides me. I felt this huge connection while writing these lyrics. I remember lifting my head up from the paper and seeing all these things I would normally see in the city but in a much different light. Everything was brighter, warmer and more colorful.

Black Waves (Vaya Con Dios)
This song is a collection of my thoughts regarding the BP oil spill. I was angry, scared and sick of being fed all these lies when it seemed like no one was doing anything to try and fix the situation. I was so upset at the way this world can operate sometimes. I also write about how I feel that, even through BP is responsible for the disaster, I wanted people to know that all of us are to blame on so many other levels. It got me thinking that no one is innocent. The last line of this song is, “The whole world's on fire, yeah we're at it again. You point your finger for nothing.” I wanted to address that there are a ton of things we’re all responsible for, even when we take the focus off of ourselves to blame someone else on a much higher scale.

Young Vibes... Don't Run Away From Me
This is the first single off of the album. It's about wishing you were young again when nothing else mattered but your friends and your innocence. It faces the fact that we are all growing older, but it also begs for us to not let go of our past. I got inspiration for these lyrics after I had seen a few of my childhood friends before leaving New York. It brought me back to my youth. I pictured being carefree and riding our bikes all over the ends of the earth together. I never want to let go of memories like that, and this song is a reminder to never lose sight of that stuff. alt