‘Vibrant, curious, gloomy’ | Interview with The Sleeplings

June is the latest single by The Sleeplings. A track where the organic sound of the piano meets delicate guitars in a brilliant, and with a psychedelic touch, folk rock inspired immersive environment. Read our discussion with guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Jesper Kragh.

Describe your sound in 3 words

Vibrant, curious, gloomy.

June describes the feeling of living far away from a beloved one. Tell us a few things about it.

There are actually two stories in my life that currently circles around this theme. Firstly being divorced means my two kids are partly living away and partly living at my place. It’s a great continuous schism of missing them and being together, having a blast. Secondly my fiance and I live separate lives. She’s in the same position, which means we do not see eachother every day. At times we dont see eachother for a week. That struggle was good fuel for a song.

If you had to choose 2 songs, 1 for the schism of separation and another one for the light of reunion, which ones would they be?

Separation is found in many different levels. Often I think of death as a good metaphor being the toughest kind of separation. And I love songs about death. I would choose Sufian Stevens ‘Death with Dignity’. Heartbreaking and beautiful.
The light of reunion is a tricky one. Not many songs pinpoint the exact state of reunion, but more the longing for it. One that came to mind was Coldplays ‘The Scientist’. Not quite the light, but the struggle around it. It’s a great piece of melancholic pop.

Artists and people that have influenced you?

Guitar based rock was pretty much the thing, when I started playing music. And so this became the main language for everything I write. But since then I’ve always been looking for different vibes to blend into the rock compositions. To mention a few great inspirations: Bodil Heister, Danny Elfman, Maurice Ravel, Alejandro Ameñabar, David Shire. All classical or film score composers.
On the more folky side we have later found a great love for the American ‘animal bands’ so to speak. Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Bowerbirds, Band of Horses. They all have their own beautiful blends of traditional folk rock and something very fresh and experimenting.
And finally I have great love and respect for bands that are not tied to one genre alone but can sound like themselves through a lot of different expressions and styles. E. g. David Bowie, The Beatles and maybe The Smashing Pumpkins.

How do you relate to the music scene of Denmark?

Right now, as I see it, the biggest movements in Denmark are 80’s inspired pop, EDM/Rap and metal. Even though our music falls a bit out of scope, I think there are lots of great artists doing awesome songwriting within these genres. If you’re into alternative rock, folk rock or anything in that ballpark, you have to look for it. It’s definitely there! But the genre is not currently hyped among the young or the industry. All in all I think the Danish music scene has a lot to offer, despite the size of the country. Both in variety and in quality. I only miss having a stronger community around the indie genres. The metal scene is a lot better at that.

Do you have an artist that you would describe as a hidden gem that we should know about?

Check out Catch the Breeze. It’s lush and well produced shoegaze with a deep and beautiful male vocal in front. They just released their second album.

If the music of The Sleeplings was a book, which book would that be?

I don’t know. The Wizard of Oz. It’s old, scary, sweet and full of surprises. You are wiped out, put to sleep, taken by a storm and thrown into a psychedelic journey sorting out real life troubles. Ha ha! I don’t have any better answer to this.

What is the story behind your name?

Sleep is like a break from yourself – just like arranged sound can be. And dreams are often fragmented and abstract reflections of reality – and that is mostly how I try to form my lyrics. So the sleeplings are like little drops of sweet unconsciousness – mostly for ourselves, but maybe for the listener too. And being a graphics designer I was looking for something simple and which could look like the title of a horror movie. Ha ha! It’s a very soft name, but put into a darker context it made the contrast we liked.

Thank you!

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