Sleeping In Traffic talks about the development of their sound, the current state of Metal and much more.
From: Edmonton, Canada
Sounds like: Progressive Metal
1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Sleeping In Traffic” and is there any meaning behind it?
Ryan Berehulke (bass) and Greg Turner (guitar) had previously been in a band together, and had continued to write music afterwards. At some point, this coalesced into a desire to start something new, and they miraculously found a fitting vocalist--Cory Bosse--on their first tryout, and the perfect drummer--Andrew Bateman--on only the second. We all instantaneously clicked.
The sound has a foundational element of metal from all the bands we'd previously been in, but the structure of it was built on the same premise as improv theatre: "Yes, and..." What this means is that each time a member brought a new element to a song, it was not the other members' jobs to approve or deny it, but to accept it and build on top of whatever it was. This has led to some rather eclectic results, with some members happily experimenting to see what they can get away with, from inclusion of electronic sounds to compositional and instrumental aspects of jazz.
The name of the band actually references a Beardfish album of the same name, and it was Greg's idea. This was already agreed upon by the time the last two members arrived, and each of us has our own interpretation of it. I, Cory, believe it to be a comment on the state of unawareness many of us travel through life in. I purposely fill the lyrics with ideas of science, skepticism, and social issues as a sort of treatment for that state, And for some of the members it's just a great Beardfish album.
2. What do you want listeners to take away from your recent "Just An Echo" single?
First and foremost, I hope they enjoy the song, of course. It's one of the really fun and bombastic ones off the album, and starts the whole album off with a bang. Lyrically, it is an introduction to the concepts of the rest of the album, and the context they should be viewed in. Almost as a sort of disclaimer, but an exciting disclaimer with a horn section and runaway delay pedals.
3. What can people expect from your live show?
We put a lot of time and energy into our live shows, and our goal is to make them utterly unique, both from other bands' shows and from our own last shows. The one thing we want people to take away from both our music and our performances is that each one is intended to be different, and therefore there is always a reason to come to the next one. We own our own lights which I re-program for each set of shows. We will occasionally bring on guest performers, such as backing vocalists and horn sections. The instruments with which each song is played even changes from time to time, and often parts of the songs are totally improvised, meaning no two shows are completely alike.
4. What's your favorite track to play live?
It's hard to choose just one, but I think one of our favourites would have to be "Not Your Fault". We get to take the audience on a strange and eerie journey, and it's a great gauge for whether or not we've captured our audience that night. Our intent is to get a very visceral reaction as the song meanders into this dark and creepy realm; a stark contrast from some of the very upbeat, uplifting songs on the rest of the record.
5. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?
Number one would have to be Devin Townsend Project. And I think it's safe to say Between The Buried And Me would come up second. The third band would probably be different depending on which member you ask, but guaranteed we'd agree that it wouldn't be a metal band. We want to open ourselves up to playing with many other genres, whether that be ska punk, electronic, or jazz.
6. Any crazy show stories?
We haven't had anything totally nutty happen to us just yet, but it's always entertaining to watch the crowd's reaction to some of our weirder material. I've seen people make a beeline for the exit when they hear scat singing and saxophone. We get some very passionate and excited people come up to us after every show, saying they've never seen anything like it. But we also get these hilariously baffled people. "Saxophone!? Why saxophone?"
7. What’s your take on the current state of Metal?
I think it's way too challenging to make an overall generalization of the massive entity that is global metal. However in terms of Progressive Metal, we are seeing a huge explosion in popularity, and we are all really excited about that. Strange bands like Devin Townsend Project, Animals As Leaders, Between The Buried And Me, and Tesseract are selling out shows here in Canada, bringing wacky prog metal to a surprising number of ears. It is a delightful coincidence that we started make similarly strange music at the same time that these bands are getting worldwide attention, and we hope to ride that wave as far as it will take us (and probably even after it dies down).
8. What’s the current music scene like there in Canada both locally and country wide?
The music scene across Canada tends to strongly favour more palatable genres of music, such as folk, country, and indie rock that local Canadian radio stations are more open to playing. The extremely low population density, huge distance between major cities, and difficulty to get into the USA means that most bands struggle very hard to get off the ground and spread their music. However small, though, the communities that support more unusual genres tend to be very strong and close-knit. As a prog band, there seems to be a relatively limited number of artists in our home of Edmonton and across the country that match with us on a bill, and for this reason we try to keep an open mind to avoid being pigeonholed as entirely just a Metal band.
9. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?
I think that illegal music downloading is something that is foolish to fight in favour of the traditional business model. This is a tool that exists for people, and an overwhelming number of them will use it whether you try to stop them or not. So instead, we need to adapt how we approach selling our music. If they demand it for free, give it to them for free, but do so on your own website. That way, they're in the right place to buy merchandise and see tour schedules and the like. You can even have people sign up for a mailing list to get the record, and then this gives you a direct line to your fans to let them know when things are happening (don't spam them, of course!). You can give people the option to pay for it what they can. This leads to people feeling comfortable to pay what they're able, and sometimes leads to overly generous fans.
The bottom line is, don't make it hard for people to hear your music. If you build solid relationships with your fans that are not antagonistic, they will find ways to pay you back in the long run.
10. What’s next for Sleeping In Traffic?
We intend to continue doing what we do best, experimenting. We're already writing music for two new EPs, one of which will be quite upbeat and pop-y, while the other will be dark and highly technical. And after that, we're going to record a full length album entirely live-off-the-floor in studio, and it's probably going to be the strangest thing you've heard from us yet. But all in good time! We've still got a brand new album to promote and tour with!
11. Any shoutouts?
Shoutout to all bands and businesses that have helped create this album! Shoutout to our listeners and fans and those who will listen to our message!