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Sleepy Age

Sleepy Age

Wednesday 1st June, 2011 3:11PM

Christchurch trio Sleepy Age have their eyes on the prize. They released their debut EP late last year for free download which they followed with a nationwide tour. They have a 7" on the way, are heading over to Europe for a quick tour in the coming months and have SXSW 2012 firmly in their sights.   We caught up with Josh Burgess who filled us in on these endeavours as well as the recovering music scene in Christchurch.

What has Sleepy Age been up to these past few weeks?

We have been recording these new singles - it has been really fun. As a result of the quake it’s all been a bit here and there in regards to where we have been tracking, mixing and stuff. I actually took the plunge and decided to try produce a whole track at home with some stuff we tracked in a ‘real studio’. Other than that we have been writing a bit and playing parties really you know, getting back to community. As the Six60 boys would say, back to our ‘roots’.

Have you found many opportunities to play since the earthquake?

Short answer is no. We would have played more bar shows if mother nature had been less restless. That sort of has had a run off effect because Christchurch had great venues that paid guarantees that allowed us to head up north for shows. Parties have been where we have been playing mostly. It’s great, you kind of see how many different situations you can actually play in.

However we are coming to Auckland June 3rd to play at Cassette and do a live-to-air for bFM.

What are parties like in Christchurch, without there being anywhere else to play?

They are sometimes amazing, sometimes really really crap. A few weeks ago we played one of my favourite shows ever at a party, people were really into it. But sometimes, you just feel like this weird noisy thing in the corner. I certainly prefer ‘proper’ shows…

Have you thought about moving cities, like a lot of other bands from the area?

Not really. We have a great quality of life here and although we could ‘further our musical careers’ in Auckland that doesn’t really interest us on a New Zealand scale. Don’t get me wrong, I love Auckland but I don’t really want to move up there for purely musical reasons.

What will you be doing for the rest of the year?

I am going to be poised with the million dollar question that plagues a lot of musicians… What to do with my B.A in film studies? So my plan is to try and write an album - like seriously, write an album - putting time aside (a month or so) to try and write music everyday. Yeah, yeah, I know what you are thinking – “you mean get stoned and practice scales over Jimi Hendrix records” - but I am serious. I realise I have never had a space in my life where all I did was be creative it has always been disrupted but other things (that I enjoyed albeit). I hope that isn’t a dumb idea and doesn’t result in me getting stoned and texting my dad saying ‘do you know what’s real fucked bro? Do you think you see the same red as me? Like when I point at a traffic light on stop do you see the same colour as me?’

We might head to Australia before the end of the year too…

What’s going down on your European tour?

We are heading to Europe for around 5 weeks in June/July to play some shows and test the water. Some small festivals in France, Austria and Germany as well as club shows in England. Going to be great hopefully we make some good friends and can build on relationships we form over there. I have always really respected So So Modern and their approach to touring which was to experience landscapes and cultures that will ultimately have an effect of your creativity. Not looking to do the NME big splash hype thing… I am way too anxious to do that stuff.

How was the booking process for the tour? How did you establish these contacts?

I was really lucky, I had a few contacts from Bang Bang Eche days who were very kind to act as booking agents on our behalf, as well a few other friends-of-friends that people put me onto. It has been a pretty stressful time trying to organise where we will be and when etc but on the whole it has been relatively painless to book what is looking to be a solid 5 weeks!

Where would you like to be by this time in 2012?

I would love to have an album done and released in New Zealand and overseas. We have kind of ear marked SWSX as a good point to head for with an album. If that works out or not I guess we will see.

Tell us about your new 7” release.

So you know how recently a lot of people have been pushing this idea that singles are the future of music consumption? We took that on board and are releasing a single with a B-side both digitally through our new label Gold Sounds and also physically on a limited run of acetate 7’’s made by the legend that is Peter King. They will be for sale through Gold Sounds and on our .com! They are being pressed (or cut if you are being picky) at the moment.

We also work with one of the most talented photographers, Alice Tappenden, whose work will appear on the sleeve of the 7’’ - but also, the first 50 people to buy our singles online will get the art printed on A3 card. This is because there are people that have no interest in vinyl/acetates but would still love and appreciate an artist like Alice and it also translates to the singles we are putting out.

Who would you recommend readers listen to if they like Sleepy Age?

I am a big fan of ‘organic’ (forgive me for that word choice) dance and pop music. I have been really enjoying Toro y Moi, Twin Shadow and also the Wellington band the Eversons. Mark Turner is a genius in my opinion he produces quality after quality.

Do your local influences come across in your music?

Totally. I guess as quite an anxious person I over think things far more than your average so I am constantly thinking about friends, family and work all the time even when I am writing. I guess that’s local in the sense that I am thinking about my personal community and stuff, but definitely the city of Christchurch has had a big effect on the way I think about longevity I guess. Christchurch CBD was there one day and then just disappeared… that, definitely, had this deep effect on me. Not so much in a scared or really upset way, but it kind of made me think differently about how important places like Blue Monday (the best bar in New Zealand IMO) are and how we should cherish places we love in the physical sense.

What’s your perception of local music these days? How has it changed since Sleepy Age formed?

It’s hard to say really because often critical distance is the best way to assess a ‘scene’, which is hard to do when you are immersed within it. I am really positive with the state of the Christchurch and as an extension the New Zealand music scene. Gold Sounds, the label that is realising the new Sleepy Age single as well as T54’s EP is going to be a really positive step in Christchurch I think because Jasper (the ‘owner’ of the label) has his head screwed on and for the right reasons. It is good to see New Zealand on Air listened to public debate and ridicule over their funding but I think we should never lose sight that it is an incredible thing we have in New Zealand. Seriously, overseas people lose their shit when you tell them you can get ten grand to record and shoot a music video and get money towards touring. Sure, Annabel Fay (who?) gets a ton of it and isn’t that good, but let’s never rag on the fact that the system is in place and genuinely wants to help us.

Michael McClelland


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