Monday, April 19, 2021

INTERVIEW: The Sleepy Haunts

The Portland-hailing teen female duo, The Sleepy Haunts, have a delightful knack for producing glitzy 90's reminiscent indie melodic-pop tunes in a wholly infectious style.

Meeting as students of School Of Rock, Gillian and Elizabeth created the long-distance project 'The Sleepy Haunts' and have since released their debut album 'Queendom'. Full of lush pop cuts and glitzy guitar lines and emotion-packed vocals, the duo are hoping to touch the hearts of teens around the globe and speak to their experiences.

Heavily reminiscent of their childhood, the girls cite their influences as ranging from Alanis Morrisette and Beabadoobe and right the way back to the Cranberries. 

I caught up with The Sleepy Haunts to talk about all things new music, Sex Education and exciting line-up changes...

I love the band name – what’s the story behind it?

[Elizabeth] I don't really know if there was ever a specific meaning to it. I think more so than anything it was just something that we liked. It's kind of simple and easy to remember. There's just something fun about the idea of ghosts being tired. 


How did the band form?

[Gillian] Well, Elizabeth and I met at School of Rock which is a US afterschool program. We became friends but didn't actually form a band until later on. 

[Elizabeth] Because of the pandemic, a lot of people were eager to start new projects so we came together from that. 


We’re a UK-based publication, what’s the music scene like over in Portland?

[Elizabeth] Portland when it comes to music is pretty cool, it weaves into this larger Pacific Northwest music background which has included artists like Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Sound Garden, Nirvana, Heart, and so many more. I feel like people definitely enjoy their alternative rock and indie music here. There's just this opened minded attitude in general, which makes Portland so approachable when it comes to music. 


Are there any Portland-based bands you want to give a shoutout?

[Gillian] Allison Segura aka Nosila Music. She was my vocal teacher for a long time and inspired me to get my music out there. 


First of all, we do all want to be Maeve Wiley, but why did you chose her in particular for the subject of the track ‘I Want To Be Maeve Wiley’.

[Gillian] When I was writing the song, I was thinking about how sometimes I didn't want to be myself. I'm kind of quiet, and I don't feel very cool. Maeve Wiley was this character that really spoke to me, she embodied the persona I wanted to be so that's why I chose her for the song. 

[Elizabeth] To me, Maeve Wiley is this effortlessly cool outcast that people can relate to.


Slight sidestep, but how good is she in Sex Education!

[Gillian] She's so good. That show is incredible in general, I love that there's a show talking so openly about those topics. 

[Elizabeth] I loved her in Sex Education. She became one of my favorite characters. You just fall for her because she's so sweet so you want her to succeed. 


Leave you behind is straight out of Avril Lavigne’s playbook (amazing) – what artists do you draw influence from?

[Elizabeth] Defintiely Paramore and beabadoobee

[Gillian] I would also say Alanis Morisette because she's influenced the way I write songs. 


What was it liked recording during the pandemic – did you have to do anything differently?

[Gillian] It was definitely hard, but we managed to figure it out. We first tried recording from home with the minimal equipment we had but it became hard with the drums. Luckily, I used to work with this guy who ended up recording our whole album and mixing it. He told me the studio I used to work at was open so Elizabeth and I went there and recorded the album. 

[Elizabeth] It was hard getting together and being collaborative. Safety precautions had to be in place. Wearing masks in the studio wasn't a big deal though. We were lucky that Gillian had connections, because otherwise we would've been left stranded. 


What’s your favourite track off of ‘Queendom’?

[Gillian] Mine is Sour Lemonade, it always gets me hyped up.

[Elizabeth] It's a tie for Good Morning, San Diego and I Want to be Maeve Wiley


What does the future hold for The Sleepy Haunts?

[Gillian] We've been a two-piece for a while so we're excited that just recently we finally got a permanent guitarist. She's super badass and we're excited to have her. 

[Elizabeth] Ava is great, we're excited she decided to join us. Otherwise, we just want to play more and make more music, which I think is what any musician hopes for.

Lana Williams


Image: Provided by PR

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