Do you think indirectly that comfort went into the record‚ to prove you could do other things?
Yeah‚ I think so. Not the sole reason‚ but for sure. All I know is‚ on this album‚ we have sacrificed everything for this‚ to be here‚ to be here in Winooski. It's because we believe in this project so much‚ we're willing to put everything on the line for it.
As a traveling music journalist‚ people always question why the hell I do what I do‚ why I put myself through hell for this dream. I do this because I truly believe in it and there is truth in that.
Sometimes art with more potency takes a little longer to develop a reaction. I'm not suggesting most art has no potency‚ but the shows we're playing are getting better and better‚ the records are getting better. We do feel we are progressing‚ however slow it may be. You got to keep going. If you look too far ahead‚ get too far ahead of yourself‚ it doesn't work.
For you personally‚ why do this to yourself? It's a very rough industry.
One of the things is just being able to travel the world‚ everyday experiences that come with traveling and living this minimalist lifestyle‚ giving everything to the music. Ultimately‚ it's this belief in the players I'm with and the band we have. Whether or not we are perceived the way we intend to be perceived is beyond our control. I can't tell you how many family gatherings we've missed‚ but there is a strong sense of support from all of our families. They believe in the band and the music. My favorite records‚ the first time I hear them‚ I don't like them. It takes time. This record is a slow burner. The best ones are when‚ on the fortieth listen‚ you can still pick out new things. It's the potential for growth‚ the imperfections‚ the mistakes‚ and meeting people and interesting characters. We stayed with this woman in Boston last night -- we met her at the show. A lot of times we put up a sign at our table looking for a place to crash. She immediately came up and said we could stay at her place. She had this beautiful apartment. We stayed up and talked until four in the morning. We had this amazing time with this person who opened her doors to us and believed in what we're doing.
It's all about provoking the chaos and seeing what comes back to you.
What do you have to lose? You're never going to see these people again and it's bittersweet. I met this person on our first tour that is still to this day one of the most important people in my life and I'm still able to form these relationships‚ as long as there is a mutual belief and understanding about the sacrifices we're making. We've got several more records in us.
Why should people care about Sleepy Sun? Why am I here tonight?
I think I like that we encourage people to let go and lose themselves for a moment. That is what psychedelic means to me. It doesn't necessarily have to do with the effects or melodies we put out; it's about the energy we put out.
Where do you go in your head when you're onstage?
It can be very intense. On a good night‚ I'll be completely sober and high as a kite off the performance and the energy we're conjuring up together. Under those circumstances‚ it requires an audience and the perception and openness of those coming before us. This moment you're speaking of‚ I'm really trying to make connections with people. I'm trying to find this energy line -- this diamond line -- to try and focus my energy. Sometimes it's confrontational. Sometimes it's a little uncomfortable for people maybe‚ and I think that's a good thing. Sometimes it's smiling or a dead-pan‚ whatever the room demands and that's the exciting thing about it. It changes every night: the room‚ the people‚ adapting the energy with the same set of songs. I just want to move people. Our job ultimately is to entertain‚ whether it makes them angry or sad or smile. One of the best shows we played was in Oklahoma City at this place called The Conservatory. There were two people in the room and we had so much fun. Those are the best shows [laughs]. The next time we played there a hundred people showed up.
What's it going to take to get to that level?
Ten records‚ I think. Before we got on tour‚ I got a job as a line cook on Haight Street in San Francisco. On my resume they asked why I hadn't had a job in two years‚ well because I'm a musician‚ but everybody in San Francisco is a musician. They were like "whatever" in the kitchen and I really liked that about it. They were like‚ "Well‚ what can you do with a knife?" But‚ they got curious and for whatever reason‚ got on YouTube and saw what I did. I don't like to think about all of that stuff though‚ being online and how many "likes" or views I have.
Were you a weird kid growing up?
For sure. I grew up going to a private school until seventh grade. I didn't start thinking I was a little bit weird until I went to public school. Looking back‚ maybe my mom would think otherwise‚ but I wouldn't say I was hyper-creative back then. I didn't harness those outlets until college when I developed it. I grew up in a small‚ rural town in California.
I bring that up because your music is very embracing. There is a huge element of childlike wonder and a playful nature in the sound. A lot of people lose that when they get older.
For sure. Yeah‚ as soon as you lose the curiosity‚ life becomes a doldrums. I tend to agree with you. I feel that way too‚ those moments you realize it‚ life‚ isn't as serious as people make it out to be. I'm living it. I just turned 27 last week. We're still young. We have good friends twice our age doing it and the hope isn't lost.