Interview: Brooklyn's The Big Sleep

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The Big Sleep, "Pinkies" (MP3)
From next February's full-length Sleep Forever

The Big Sleep Wake Up

By Michael D. Ayers

There's no shortage of love for The Big Sleep around these parts; so when their second full length arrived in ye ol' postbox, I jumped on the opportunity to get some more information on the surreptitiously titled Sleep Forever, due February 19, 2008 on Frenchkiss.

Oh, you don't know much about them? They're a three piece consisting of husband/wife team Danny Barria on guitar / vocals and Sonya Balchandani on bass / vocals, and new father, longtime Redskins fan Gabe Rhodes on drums. They've garnered a favorable following over the last few years, mainly due to a blistering, ear-splitting live show that teeter-totters between fast, hard-hitting guitar heavy instrumentals and swirling psychedelic-post rock. Post-post rock, if there is such a thing.

Sleep Forever, while still delivering more of the swirling, sprawling psychedelic goodness from before, shows a bit of their softer-side. Tender, and at times delicate. But they haven't gone all James Bluntified; there's still enough hard-hitting jams to blow your socks off.

Full e-mail transcript below. . .

First, lets get down to the nitty-gritty: where was Sleep Forever recorded?

Danny: We recorded the basic tracks at this amazing studio called Shorefire in Long Branch, New Jersey. It has this great live room and the amps of my dreams all in one spot. It's not that far away, but it was just the right amount of distance from the city. It let us focus on getting things done, and this record is about nothing but taking care of business. Then we came back to Brooklyn and recorded all the overdubs and mixed at Stay Gold. The whole recording process took about a month and a half, which was lightning fast compared to Son of the Tiger.

Did you work with anyone?

Danny: We co-produced the record with Chris Coady, who's worked with TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blonde Redhead, Celebration, etc. He was the voice of reason and experience to all our amateur hour ideas, and he provided a lot of ideas of his own whenever we were trying to get somewhere and weren't quite sure how to get there.

Was there anything that the group wanted to do differently (in terms of recording) than what was done with Son of the Tiger?

Danny: We definitely wanted to do things quickly this time, to capture a sense of urgency and intensity, but not in quite the same "reckless abandon" way as the first record.

We did a lot of preparation for this record so we could make the most of our time in the studio, and knew going in that it was going to be a tighter, more focused affair.


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