Sleepcomesdown is getting health-y…

Sleepcomesdown is technically from Kenosha, not Milwaukee, but consider themselves to be official Milwaukee musical residents. Kristofer Taylor, bassist/vocalist explains it as this: “Since I live in Milwaukee…[the rest of the band resides in Kenosha]…I consider it to be a Milwaukee band. There’s nothing going on in Kenosha. If we play shows in Chicago, Madison or Minnesota, we always say we’re from Milwaukee.”

Lucky for them, they have scored the opportunity to represent Milwaukee along with fellow local-ers Terrior Bute, Freight and We’rewolves, as they open up for the eccentric and excellent experimental band from Los Angeles, Health at The Borg Ward.

While the band from/not really from Milwaukee has had their own flirtations with experimental in terms of their line-up and sound, its original core members starting out as something quite different, under a different name, entirely, they seem to have gotten themselves together, releasing not only a full-length last fall, but also an EP in April of 2008.

Their first releases didn’t come quite so easy, but they changed the face of the band for good. When a label pushed them to put out music, they decided to do a permanent name-change. “[‘Sleepcomesdown’] is a Psychedelic Furs song…I was listening to a lot of Psychedelic Furs at the time,” Taylor says. The band then went on to not only finding a more realized name, but also a full-fledged line-up, solidifying in late 2004 (Tim Feret, Steve Ruppa, Danny Strash and Kristofer Taylor…Dylan Zocchi was an even later addition). “Tim and Steve played for years together in a band called notaword (who Danny and I…mostly I…)were totally, totally into. We always joked to each other if the four of us could get together that it would be our dream line-up. Then, it happened. Last year, we decided we should incorporate all the weird ‘found’ sounds, tape loops, effects pedals and various electronics that Dylan had been working with on his own, and we made the line-up even better.”Seeing Sleepcomesdown circa 2004 to present certainly renders totally different vantage points, both audio and visual “[now] we collect effects pedals like some people collect baseball cards”, says Taylor.

The original band was quite without all the proverbial bells and whistles, but the major musical influences still remain intact. Their noticeable change in visual set-up, went from traditional to eclectic, incorporating lights and added effects and loops, making their shows go from straight up indie pop/rock to something much more experimental. Taylor says, “I saw a hardcore band called Botch…also, Autolux [these were inspiring]…you always play the same shows in the same places, so it’s cool to try something different,” he says, explaining the various lighting accouterments his band has been fond of during their recent live shows, which, when paired with the sonic tinges of everything from Shiner to Animal Collective, is mesmerizing. The lights may be dimmed a bit, though, in the near future. Taylor explains, “We don’t really buy the stuff we use for the shows; we just kinda accumulate it. At one point, we had twelve strobe lights! Steve mans the rigs (he’s also an electrician) — he hooks up the lights to the footboards that Tim hits with his feet when he’s drumming…most people thought it was cool. We had emails that said most people remember the visuals. That’s probably a bad thing, I guess.”

“While we used to involve a lot of visuals in the shows…TV’s, projectors, strobes, lights, those 60s colored oil wheels…what are they called…we have had to tone it down a bit, because it’s just too hard to maintain all your gear and 30 lightbulbs from show to show…nobody wants to worry if we picked up that last strobe or not.”

With the focus coming more so into the music, Sleepcomesdown is back in the middle, now, truly coming into their own and being unique without overshadowing the basic elements of their sound. “We argue about music constantly, but I think we can all agree that bands like Unwound, Deerhunter, Liars, Animal Collective, Autolux, Milemarker or Blonde Redhead, all work its way into our sound. We rarely come into practice with any formed song ideas. We usually come up with half a song or so each week, and each new song we write keeps moving further becoming simpler and catchier. I guess the idea is to write noisy pop songs that people wouldn’t necessarily consider pop because we play them too loud and we never use power chords. We are really excited to be playing with Health. Probably the most excited we have been to play with another band since Milemarker. I guess I was wrong to say we could be considered a Milwaukee band…no one here pays attention to us. We do tons better in places like Madison or Chicago.”

Sleepcomesdown doesn’t plan to give up on Milwaukee by any means, but hopes for continued adds to shows like tonight’s…”We really have no aspirations to ‘make it’. We pretty much play together because it’s what we would all be doing in our basement, anyways. We are a completely d.i.y. band, from recording [with our friend Matt Miller] in our own studio space, to artwork, to booking shows, to releasing recordings. We were completely turned off by our experience with our previous record label. We have released a full-length (Secret Handshake) and an EP (Vapor Kicks) already this year, and plan to have another recording out before 2008 is over.” Catch Sleepcomes down before all their upcoming EP release chaos, tonight. “It’s definitely a show we’d all be at, anyway, even if we weren’t playing.”

Sleepcomesdown opens for Health along with Terrior Bute, We’rewolves and Freight at The Borg Ward, 823 W. National. Show starts at 7 p.m.


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