Please introduce your Band by giving you a gangname and personal attributes.
Jason- Sure thing. Tim plays drums, loves iced coffee and small talk. Michael hits the piano and keyboards, he’s also a professional debutante. And I play guitar, bark those vocals and remain the eternal optimist.
What does POLITE SLEEPER mean to you?
Jason- The name started as something an old girlfriend said once: “you’re such a polite sleeper.” I always thought that was a nice phrase, if a bit emo in hindsight. the more the sound changed, the more the name made sense. I like the irony of “polite music” (folk, for instance) contrasted with the idea that we’re clearly not three dudes playing traditional folk songs. In other words: don’t be a “polite sleeper” today, in whatever you do. It’s a mission statement, really: be proactive, creative , involved. Don’t sleep through it.
Is there any point that makes it possible for you to make music to your life. Or better to say: to use music as your main source of earnings.
Jason- It’s possible, sure, but it depends on each situation. Do you have a family to feed? Do you live in an expensive place like New York? Do you want to go out all the time, etc? It’s possible to “live” off music but making that choice isn’t easy. I’m not sure we found a good way yet, but we’re doing it on our terms and nurturing other creative outlets definitely informs the music for now. It’s all a nice balance, I think.
Your shows are full of power. Where does all the power come from and what makes you behave like this?
Jason- Ha. I have no idea! I’m sure playing in louder punk bands informs the live show, but it’s not like anything is choreographed. I just hate seeing boring music (live), whatever form that takes, and if you’re touring the performance should be essential. If not, that’s fine too, but keep it for the studio records. Love what you do, I guess, and let the chips fall where they may each night.
There is a lot of time you spend touring through different countries. What does this mean to you? And what does this mean compared to recording a studio-album?
Jason- It’s probably the only reason we’re still a band. I have no interest in being in some weekend project with friends, nor alone as some bedroom musician. Maybe that will change when I’m older. Personally, the music doesn’t exist until we play it for people and touring is a huge part of that. It’s maybe the most attractive aspect of the medium for me. The studio recordings are fun, we work well in those settings, but it’s only a small part of what we do.
You all seem to come from different styles of music. But what are your influences?
Jason- Tough question. we’re all over the map when it comes to influences. Nothing too obscure, but it helps to have different perspectives. Like I was saying, I never wanted POLITE SLEEPER to be a traditional folk project and all those influences make sure it never does!
In POLITE SLEEPER: is there one songwriter who writes all the songs or do you create the new thing by jammin? How does your songwriting look like?
Jason- It’s fairly simple, really. I come in with some a small part, tim finds a beat and Michael tends to arrange things and handle most of the textural stuff. the guitar is probably the least pronounced in the end, but that’s the nice thing. The final song is nowhere near where it started.
Tell us something about your videoclip to “West Side High”. It looks like the actors had a lot of fun. Was there anything planned for the video and what did you expect?
Jason- Thanks, it was lots of fun. They were friends (and a few film students from NYU) along with complete strangers we pulled off the street in chinatown that day. No big surprises, really. That bar is right around the corner from my apartment too. One tiny confession: I think we were all pretty tired after the sunrise on the bridge, but it was worth it.
What about your future plans? Can you imagine a life where you settle down, marry and have a family?
Jason- Ha, sure. I know quite a few musicians who balance both. It’s a choice, of course, but totally possible. Why? Do you have a cute sister?
After to all the other question. Where is in your opinion the best place to put hope and passion into? What do you feel when you think about “nothing but hope and passion”?
Jason- Good question. I think about small victories and expecting the best but preparing for the worst. It’s sounds so cliche, but it’s true. I choose to put my hope into creative fulfillments these days, my passion into whatever brings me to that point. It’s a big question, which is probably where the “small victories” come in: stay focused, stay creative and stuff tends to happens.
What is your message?
Jason- Ahh… try the nachos?
…stay focused, stay creative and stuff tends to happens.
And how should this interview end?
Jason- With a hug and a handshake! Or maybe just a shameless plug about the new record, Turf? I’m damn proud of that guy.
from New York, USA
photo by Hanna Pribitzer