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Art of Sleeping IV happy

Art of Sleeping have gone fucking crazy. And by that we mean they are raking in a crazy amount of fans and critical attention. Before playing at Sydney’s Newtown Social Club Jean Paul and Jarryd had a chat with Happy over a beer about their crazy experiences on the road, actively engaging with social media to remain relevant and recording with Tom Iansek of #1 Dads.

art of sleeping band

Photos by Liam Cameron

HAPPY: As this is the Crazy tour, what has been the craziest thing to happen so far?

JARRYD: This tour or any tour?

JEAN PAUL: There’s been a few crazy things!

JARRYD: There was this one time when we were in Ballarat and we were staying at this hotel. And we’re walking back to the hotel and we look up and there’s probably on the third story there are these two naked men that have climbed out of the window and hanging out the window sill. And we’re like “What the hell?”, and it ended up being Caleb (lead singer) and our sound guy Jayden. They’re just hanging there full frontal nude.

JEAN PAUL: That was funny because I was outside to make a phone call and I was talking and  turn around and there’s these two naked guys standing on the window ledge. It’s hilarious, as soon as you put those two together they’ll be naked for some reason. They’re all about nudity!

HAPPY: Is that a thing the whole band gets into?

JARRYD: Like I said it’s just mainly those two, they just bring it out in each other, just weird stupidity. But it’s funny as hell!

HAPPY: Is that something you guys expect on the road now? I s wackiness part of the rock and roll staple for you?

JARRYD: It’s something we’re used to. You can go a bit crazy – excuse the pun! You can go a bit mental with no sleep and travelling and you just get snappy with each other. I think the only way to overcome that is to have a laugh at each other’s expense.

JEAN PAULYeah, the silly antics.

JARRYD: It just pulls you out of it.

HAPPY: I’d imagine touring constantly would be a bit exhausting, you’d be a bit buggered and apathetic towards the end. How do you guys stay fresh and keep pumped for every show?

JEAN PAULYou have to get yourself a bit of sleep I guess (laughs)

JARRYD: You have to give yourself a bit of time before the set, letting everyone have their own space is really helpful.

JEAN PAUL: We do have a thing we do before we go on stage, but we normally huddle and then start acting like gorillas.

JARRYD: And we have this little chant and it gets louder and louder and louder where it just gets – it’s a bit psychotic.

JEAN PAUL: It just pumps you up!

JARRYD: It gets you ready!

art of sleeping

HAPPY: If you don’t do it do you feel a little lackluster when you’re performing?

JEAN PAULWell you just feel a bit flat, and it takes one or two songs for you to get into it. When we do the gorilla chant it’s better!

HAPPY: Have you ever felt a bit off on stage and just said “Everybody stop, we’re doing the gorilla chant!“.

JARRYD: (laughs) No, not on stage that hasn’t happened. Ah, maybe we will one day.

JEAN PAULMaybe we could get the crowd to do it!

HAPPY: And you guys just came off Falls Festival as well, how was that?

JEAN PAULIt was amazing! It was surprisingly cold, but it was an amazing experience. We haven’t played in a long time, and this new single it’s been about two months since we released something decent and, yeah, it was so awesome to see the amount of support we had. Especially at Byron, that was incredible. There was a big storm before we played, it was raining and we were thinking “Oh no, there’s only going to be a handful of people“, but then five minutes before we played the storm suddenly cleared and people came down to the front and that was a bit of a relief. 

HAPPY: I read that article Caleb wrote about that experience, you thought there’d only be few people but it ended up being a couple hundred. What’s that feeling like? People just braving the weather just to see you five guys do your thing on stage.

JARRYD: It’s quite a odd feeling to be honest. It’s hard to get your head around, and it’s hard to fully appreciate as well. You know, we have our busy lives and we break off to do what we have to do to survive, then we get back together to play these festivals and there these crowds of people!

JEAN PAULYeah, you kind of forget that there are people out there who listen to your music and enjoy it and want to see you live. It’s emotional!

HAPPY: You just shed a single tear on stage?

JEAN PAUL(laughing) It’s happened once or twice.

JARRYD: (laughing) A tear has been shed in the past.

HAPPY: During the gorilla chant?

JARRYD: (both laughing) No, but that would be funny!

art of sleeping interview

HAPPY: Well you were just saying how you do other things outside of the band. What’s the reality of being a professional musician where you have to do other jobs as well to survive and to make the band work?

JEAN PAULIt’s tough, to put it straight. We don’t get as much time as we’d like to invest into this.

JARRYD: Every second we can we take it, but the reality is we have to pay our bills. And music, it’s not like there’s a big pot of money. It’s not like people listen to your songs and then all of a sudden you’ve got rich. It’s not how it works at all. It’s a hard slog. Even when people know who you are it’s still a hard slog. We’re still a long way off being able to do it full time and that’s the reality.

JEAN PAULIt’s funny, if I heard a band five years ago on a radio station I’d be like “They’ve made it! They’re driving a Mercedes Benz, they’ve got a mansion“. But it’s not like that. But it’s good, it’s a humbling experience. It brings you down to earth. We’re doing it for the love of it, if we were about the money we would’ve given up ages ago.

HAPPY: And I imagine when hoards of people come out in the rain to see you it’d be worth it right?

JEAN PAULExactly. That kind of thing makes everything worth it.

JARRYD: And it keeps you pushing on those moments.

HAPPY: If you had a chance to give younger bands some advice what would that be?

JARRYD: The advice would be don’t do it for any other reason than love of music. That’s the advice really.

JEAN PAULIf you’re gonna make it it’s gonna be because of that reason.

HAPPY: You guys are really active on your social pages, in fact your recording us right now. I think part of your success comes from that engagement. Is that something you actively do or is it just a habit from being part of this younger generation?

JARRYD: Oh, it’s definitely a conscious effort. It’s not like we wake up every morning and go “Oh sweet! I’m gonna update every moment!‘, we don’t do that on our personal pages so why would we do that here? The reality is that it is a conscious effort. We have to connect with our fans, and the perception is that if you’re engaging with your fans you’re alive still. The band is alive. And if you’re not doing that it can seem like you’ve just dropped off the face of the planet, even though you’re working really hard on your music.

JEAN PAULAlthough it’s not super personal, it’s good to get to know our personal insights. They get insights into our lives and what we like doing on tour. I like seeing that shit from other bands I like, tour videos and stuff like that really get me going.

JARRYD: It’s funny sometimes though, sometimes you think it’s a bit stupid. It’s like “Oh, this is just stupid, why are we doing this?“, but you’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of someone that really likes the band. You think about a band you really like, you do want to know what they’re up to.

JEAN PAULWe’re definitely not posing. It’s not like “Let’s create a scenario and take a photo“.

JARRYD: Yeah, we’re too lazy to do that to be honest (laughs)

art of sleeping interview

HAPPY: Tom Iansek, (from Big Scary, #1 Dads and all round cool guy) worked with you and did an amazing rework of Crazy. How did your relationship with Tom come about?

JARRYD: Well we were searching for producers for our album back in the day, over a year ago. And we heard him on the radio and we hit him up to see if he wanted to produce our album and he said yes. I think he ended up producing half our album that’s about to come out. We recorded the album in two parts. There were a few cross-overs; Crazy was part of that cross-over and we did tow different versions. One with Tom and one with another producer. And so that version we absolutely loved and we were tossing up between which version we wanted to release, but we decided to go with the one that would translate live. We put out version as that more stripped back version.

JEAN PAULTom is actually a legend. He’s all about “What does this song justice?“, he’s not about “How can we make this the best single?“, he’s always like “Let’s get down to Earth and create something that is sounding really cool!“.

JARRYD: He takes is time and he plays devil’s advocate on a lot of things, and he doesn’t give much away.

JEAN PAULI think his number one saying was “That’s something…

JARRYD: Yeah if it was good he’d say “Yeah, it’s something…

JEAN PAULHe’d never give anything away! That was good because it pushed us and we kept on going.

HAPPY: How did you guys develop as a band working with Tom? Was there any changes to your process?

JARRYD: Definitely.

JEAN PAULBefore we met Tom we went on a couple of writing trips and came back with a bunch of songs, and we all work-shopped that. We went up into the mountains, we went to Mount Warning in Queensland which was awesome. And we got maybe 30 songs, culled that and sent it to Tom. And Tom was keen, and then his process was very different. We’d literally just sit in a room and just bash it out. We’d do pre-pro for days, until we got it to a place where we thought it was ready to record. And I think on a few songs it was just a matter of us letting go of stuff and leaving it with him and letting him put the puzzle together. Every song was an open book yet to be edited. It was good.

JARRYD: But there was not one specific process for the album. Every song was recorded a different way, and each started from a different place. The whole album – you’ve only heard one song off the album so far but it’s a really diverse album. Crazy is probably the rockiest track on the whole thing, then you have the more stripped back, moodier tracks that Tom had a big hand in making. If you did like the remix of Crazy you’re probably gonna love some of the more down tempo songs on the album.

art of sleeping poster

HAPPY: What’s that feeling like going into your debut album?

JARRYD: Oh man. Caleb said this last night at our show. It’s burning holes in our pockets, we’re itching to get it out. It’s been done for months.

JEAN PAULWe finished recording ages ago!

JARRYD: Over six months ago. It was finished, it’s been a long process.

HAPPY: Are you guys signed to a label?

JARRYD: Yeah Dew Process

HAPPY: Well what’s it like working with those guys building up the album, even though it’s taking up a bit of time?

JEAN PAULYeah, the thing that’s different from independent releases is that when you’re working with a label nothing’s rushed.

JARRYD: Sometimes that can be frustrating, but they know what they’re doing and we gotta trust them.

HAPPY: How does it compare working with Dew Process against doing things independently?

JEAN PAULOur first EP – Like A Thief, we whipped that out in two weeks.

JARRYD: Seven days we spent in the studio for Like A Thief.

JEAN PAULIt was mastered a couple of weeks from that, and we got it out within a month of that. But now it’s like everything’s got to be thought of, marketing has got to be thought of. And it’s brought us down to Earth and we understand.

JARRYD: But it’s a good thing because they’ve really pushed us. I think we had more than 30 demos, it was more like 40 to 50. We did a lot of songwriting, we spent a good year on just the songwriting, and then we recorded 19 songs. Then we finished 19 songs and then had to cull that back to album length. So they’re constantly going “Is this the best you can do? What else can you do here“. And it just makes you work on your craft that much harder.

JEAN PAUL: It stretches and grows you, but it’s for a good cause. And you’ve just got to trust your label man.

JARRYD: We really trust our team.

JEAN PAULThe Dew Process team are all legends.

HAPPY: Well turning to our final question. At Happy we write about things that, – shockingly – make us happy. What makes you guys happy?

JEAN PAULA big bowl of nachos! (laughs) With a bit of jalapeños!

JARRYD: You’re a bit of an entrepreneur on the side, you like to be creative.

JEAN PAULWell if you want to be serious about it, yeah starting new things, trying to grow them, progress them. I guess that makes me happy.

HAPPY: Does that include making new nachos?

JEAN PAULYeah! Making little nacho houses and then eating them! I’m an engineer.

JARRYD: I’m an engineer as well! Yeah people don’t expect it, being in a band an that kind of stuff.

JEAN PAULBut I think these are the best years of our lives so you just got to give everything in life a go.

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January 29, 2015

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