From Los Angeles by way of North Carolina, synth trio, SLEEPLUST is on the rise in the indie electro-pop scene. Consisting of songstress Meghan Tartamella and twin brothers Michael and Joseph Pepe, the trio is making waves with their new music and recently caught the attention of the monthly breakthrough record Tribe, Vinylmnky. SLEEPLUST’s latest track, My Place was featured in Vinylmnky’s weekly New Music Friday blog and playlist, and the Vinylmnky team also got to engage the band for an exclusive interview!
[ Vinylmnky] How did the three of you meet and what was the decision making process like to start SLEEPLUST?
[ Joseph Pepe ] We’ve actually all known each other since high school when Mike and I played in a punk rock and band and Meghan played bass in a metal band! After that, Meghan did some solo records and Mike produced and recorded them, I was always hanging around adding in tid bits here and there. After Mike and I’s last band parted ways, Meghan was in the process of writing new songs and the band just kind of formed naturally from that.
[ Vinylmnky] Coming up with a band name can be something spectacular, intimidating, and profound. Can you tell us the story behind the name ‘SLEEPLUST’?
[ Joseph Pepe ] Naming the project was really challenging! How do you name something that means so much to you and also conveys the idea of the band and our music in a simple and clear way? It’s a big under taking. After a lot of conversation and a very long and ongoing group text message thread, we came up with the name SLEEPLUST from combining two of our favorite Jack Kerouac quotes.
[ Vinylmnky] That’s really interesting. Which were the two quotes?
[ Joseph Pepe ] They're both excerpts from his book On the Road where he mentions going "sleepless", and Meghan put “lust” at the end.
[ Vinylmnky] You guys have branded yourselves very well, so far. What’s it like defining the essence of a new band and all of the elements (name, imagery, sounds, etc…) that surround it?
[ Joseph Pepe ] Thank you for noticing. That was one of our favorite parts of starting this band, we had a very clear idea of how we wanted to brand ourselves. The term “branding” is kind of a buzz word these days but for a good reason, every new business needs strong visuals and a great story to draw people in. We wanted people to get a good idea of the music from our pictures and graphics before they even hit play on a song.
[ Vinylmnky] Well you definitely nailed it! Your imagery of nature and light sets the stage for the wandering synth and heavy beats. We love it.
What are the musical influences behind SLEEPLUST? How would y’all define your sound?
[ Joseph Pepe ] When people ask us what we sound like we usually say indie/electronic. We have a wide array of influences that all find their way into our sound. We all love acts like Broods, Purity Ring, and Ryn Weaver. Mike is a huge Cure fan, lots of 80’s English post-punk stuff. There’s always a lot of hip hop influence from me when it comes to the grooves. Together I think we listen to almost every genre and take notice of what works for us and doesn’t.
[ Vinylmnky] That makes sense and those influences come through in your music, yet are subtle enough to be unique. Ryn Weaver and Purity Ring are some of our favorites too, and are actually part of the Vinylmnky family!
We really enjoy your new song,“My Place”. It’s incredible. Can y’all elaborate on the lyrics, mood, and development of the track?
[ Joseph Pepe ] Meghan wrote the lyrics so I’ll try not to speak too much on her behalf. However, this song was one of the first songs we wrote after our move from Charlotte, NC to Los Angeles. So the lyrics have a lot to do with wiping the slate clean, starting new adventures, and forgiving the past.
[ Vinylmnky] Being in a band (and a good one) takes a lot of hard work but also must be very fun and rewarding. What has been your favorite moment so far as a band?
[ Joseph Pepe ] We’ve been fortunate to have some cool stuff happen to us, but I think the first day we all were officially in LA as residents and we sat down to write music was such a rewarding experience. Out of that session came “My Place”.
[ Vinylmnky] That must’ve been a very fulfilling experience for you all. What has been on your music radar lately?
[ Vinylmnky] That’s awesome. We love Wet and actually featured the group as our February 2016 Breakthrough Record of the Month and Låpsley as our March! To top that off, Grouplove is one of our personal favorites too! You guys have great taste!
We know you probably hear this a lot, but can you give us any insight into what’s next for SLEEPLUST?
[ Joseph Pepe ] We just signed some TV licensing deals so we’ll have some of our music featured on some pretty popular shows this Spring. We’ve been writing a lot more material, we have some remixes coming out soon that we’re all really excited about. Other than that we’ve been in rehearsals gearing up for our Spring and Summer show schedule![ Vinylmnky] Well congrats on your new success and we look forward to watching and hearing what you guys do in the near future! Thanks so much for catching up with us.