Arts and Culture

Broke-Ass Band Interview: Sleepy Sun

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In honor of the Treasure Island Music Festival happening in The Bay this weekend, we’ve decided to do some interviews with bands about how to survive as broke artists.  Stu and I got some press passes to the fest, but nobody’s PR people wanted to let us interview them (they are terrified by our awesomeness), SO we’re gonna ambush a few people and try squeeze a few words of wisdom from them.  Wish us luck.  In the meantime enjoy this great interview that Sleepy Sun was nice enough to give us.

Sleepy Sun is, in a word, transcendent. Their sound, a mix of the classic rock sound that we’ve come to love and appreciate with a new wash of sonic influence, is mesmerizing and captivating. I triumphantly slated a phone call with the Santa Cruz based rock revelers during their drive from Seattle back to the Barbary Coast.

So you guys just got your asses back from a huge tour in Europe. How is touring over there different than in the States?

Matt Hollinan: In Europe, they take exceptionally good care of bands. Here, you don’t always have a place to stay, sometimes its a wood floor and you’re always asking someone to put you up for the night. In Europe, they try to make you as comfortable as possible — they set you up in hotel rooms and stuff and that’s definitely nice.

How does it feel to be traveling during a recession when people are spending less on records and going out less to conserve fundage?

Rachel Williams: Fortunately for us, we got really really lucky. We have a lot of supportive people and we got signed to a label. As a musician, I don’t know if the rest of the world is aware of how artists live at the bottom already. So when an economic crush comes down, we don’t feel it. Our standard of living is pretty basic, and our life has been like this in the past. It’s not as hard as people think it is. It’s a little easier than people think. It could be stopping people from rocking all over. People should overcome the fear of financial ties and they’ll earn ultimate rock powers on the road.

Evan Reiss: As long as you’re not thinking about that stuff and trying to have as much fun as possible, its not that big of a problem. At a certain point, being in a touring band is recession proof. People are going to want to listen to music no matter what, no matter how broke they are or if they don’t have any money. The coolest thing about music is that people are always going to want it.

Matt Hollinan: I know that I have security in a sense — it seems weird to say, but we’re all putting in the effort and time to make this a longstanding thing, and so far, we’ve exceeding our expectations. I’m glad I didn’t jump into a job.

What’s a good broke-ass tip for someone trying to get their shit together and do this band stuff for real?

Evan Reiss: You don’t really need that much cash to start a band. One of the hard things is finding time and being willing to sacrifice certain privileges. Cash isn’t really a barrier — its more like sacrificing privacy, girlfriends, not being able to see people you love all the time. All you need is a couple of instruments and a couple of people that are silly enough to jump around and dance onstage

If you could describe your sound to a batch of new listeners, what would you describe it as?

Brian Tice: It’s like 60’s and 70’s influenced rock and roll. We’re lucky whereas we’ve had a lot of contributors to writing to this band, and everyone drops their influences where its needed. We all like Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and The Band.

Evan Reiss: I think our sound is pretty heavy, groovy and melodic.

How do you guys cut costs on the road?

Rachel Williams: We eat a lot of chips on the road. After every show, we try to crash on someone’s floor. We kind of still like it. Hotel rooms can be costly if you’re sleeping there every night. Slumber parties with new friends are always really fun.

Brian Tice: We eat a lot of Subway and any sort of local cheap food. It changes as we go around the country. We eat frugally. We rely on the kindness of others and during the show, we usually announce that we need a place to stay. We usually can end up sleeping on someone’s floor.

Some people have referred to your show as a “religious experience.” Are you looking to convert your crowds?

Brian Tice: That sounds like a personal thing, but I’ve never heard that. That’s great, and we try to entertain and have as much fun as possible.

What’s your favorite broke ass place to hit up when you’re in the city?

Jack Allen: The Gold Cane! It’s like happy hour all the time. Its seedy but its got a good jukebox. Evan and I throw our going away parties there. Its really fun. Its cheap, good music and not a lot people bother you.

Brian Tice: I like Taqueria Cancun, which is pretty cheap. I miss good burritos.

Catch them this Sunday at The Treasure Island Music Festival on the Bridge Stage at noon! And at least pick up their record. I shelled out the $13 for it at Amoeba and its ridiculously good.

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Monica Miller - The Intern

Monica Miller - The Intern

Ms. Miller was born in San Diego, CA to one lesbian mother and one
righteous, cheap father. Currently, she is enrolled at San Francisco
State University for a B.A. in Journalism and the approximate
completion date is around 2015. She has worked for many papers in the
Bay Area, including the Oakland Tribune and the San Mateo Country
Times and is currently the city editor at one of the most
underappreciated publications in SF, the Golden Gate [X]press. Though
she may find bargains aplenty, it only stems from the necessity of
never landing an actual job and working for hacks [like Stuart.] With
intelligence, style, poise, bite, and honesty, she will rip your heart
out; but not before writing some awesome, poignant shit. This year,
she is looking forward to bigger and better things such as: trying to
get paid for a gig, actually finding a date that isn't a loser or
fucking crazy, not calling her parents when hungover and bringing you
the best of the 7x7 everyday of the week. [By the way, I wasn't
kidding about the date thing; if you love food, booze and shoegaze,
get at me.]


  1. October 17, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    […] insanely good. I just picked up their record last night on our road trip and its awesome. I interviewed them recently for, so go check it out! And if you’ll be at Treasure Island this weekend, see them on the Bridge Stage at noon. […]

  2. Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler
    October 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Oh hello, I’m creepy and think I spotted you guys at Treasure Island, actually. Anyhow, if you’re like me and couldn’t get your act together to get there early enough for Sleepy Sun on Sunday, they’ll be back in the city playing the Independent on the 30th as well.

  3. Monica Miller - The Intern
    October 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

    hey andrew! yeah, we caught their set and they sound amazing. i’m probably going to be at that show!

  4. […] and in case you missed it, our friends in Broke-assitude over at Stuart’s site did an interview with Sleepy Sun the other day. And while you’re on Divis, pick up some vintage threads at CC Rider and […]