Sleeping Bag are a band from Bloomington, Indiana that I have mentioned on TWM before (when they put their album up to stream on Bandcamp). The album isn’t there any more — save for two of its best tracks — but I’m ready to talk about them again.
If you heard the album while it was up, you’d know that Sleeping Bag play hook-packed indie-rock that doubles as a unique and interesting take on an oft-overdone style. It’s a ton of fun. And if you didn’t hear it, you’ll be able to this coming August when the album officially comes out. I was lucky enough to get in contact with Dave Segedy — Sleeping Bag’s founding member — and ask him a handful of questions. Check out what he had to say about over-thinking art, the NBA finals, ’90s rock and more below:
The band started as a solo project and now performs as a three-piece, how did the history of the band fall into place? How did you meet the other two guys?
I already knew David and Lewis from playing in other bands in Bloomington. I recruited them because they were smart and seemed like guys I could stand to be around for hours on end.
What was the songwriting process for the full-length? What about the recording process?
I demoed the songs by myself, then I taught them to the band. From there David and Lew added their own ideas like vocal parts, different riffs, solos, etc. With recording, we tracked a lot of it with Mike Dixon in David Woodruff’s basement, and then did vocals in Dixon’s bedroom. We had a lot of time, which was nice.
There’s a couple of videos of Sleeping Bag playing live on what looks to be a local cable show on YouTube, they’re really hilarious and fun. How did you guys end up doing that?
Ha, yeah, that was fun. Mike Adams, who recorded our first EP and runs XRA Records, works for that local cable show, so he set us up with that. The whole time we played and shot, Addison, Lewis’s brother, was there behind the cameras laughing the whole time.
In regards to the jokey nature of said videos, what would you say are some major influences in the sense of humor in your band?
Hmm, I’m not totally sure. We all love comedy.. Lewis and David did this show called Cob Job, and have a show now called Special Guest, which they post on their Vimeo. Both of which are hilarious, they are already hilarious guys. I personally like the show Party Down, and am a big fan of the guys from The State and Stella.
And also, what have you been listening to — or watching — lately?
I’m bad about finding new music, so a lot of bands that have been around for a while: Starflyer 59, Pavement, Air.. I’ve been on a big Air kick lately. What I’ve been actually watching was the NBA finals with the Mavs and the Heat. I normally don’t care about sports, but for some reason I just got really into the Mavericks and their star, Dirk Nowitzki. I love team work, so maybe that’s why.
I read an article recently where you said: “Thinking too hard is a problem in a lot of art and music”. Can you further explain why you think that’s a problem?
Well, I think you lose sight of the big picture a little bit when you think too hard. You lose sight of what a song is actually doing. I don’t think the best riffs and melodies are based on logic. I mentioned art then because I was in a few art classes at the time, and my classmates would show the most boring pieces at critiques. They would explain all their decisions in-depth and would think it was accomplishing one thing, where in reality it wasn’t even close. You have to think about structure and arrangement to an extent, but I think the strongest songs are written on instinct and feel.
You often get the comparisons to ’90s rock and indie-rock bands — like Weezer and Built To Spill. Are those bands or genres of music a direct influence on your music?
Yeah, I’m a sucker for those two bands and a lot of bands from the 90’s. I like Weezer because their songs are so simple and straight forward, but there’s something charming about that. It’s done in a tasteful way that doesn’t sound repetitive and boring (talking about their first two albums). I’m also the biggest Pavement fan. I like a lot of bands with that “90’s sound”, but those bands don’t really rely on that sound. I think their songs would be great no matter what decade they were recorded in.
Sleeping Bag’s website is partially hosted on Tumblr, your music is on Bandcamp, and you have recently started up a Twitter. It’s fair to say that you’re pretty plugged into different forms of social media, is it important to maintain that close connection to your listeners?
Yeah, it’s an internet world. The only other way to reach out to people is to physically be there.
Your bandcamp mentions “This album desires vinyl pressing.”, do you have any plans to pursue a vinyl release in the near future?
And on that note, what can we expect to see coming soon from Sleeping Bag? Tour dates? More new music?
A full-length album out in August. A mid-west tour this July, and an east coast tour with a band called DMA in August. We’re also shooting a video for “Slime”.