A Conversation With Sleepmakeswaves

Ambient Australian post-rockers Sleepmakeswaves have just announced a return to the UK in a 5 date co-headline tour alongside Skyharbor and Tides From Nebula. With that on the horizon, we caught up with guitarist Jonathan “Kid” Khor to preview a very busy few months ahead for the band…

TCOV – Hey Kid, thanks for having me. First up, can you describe your sound for those who aren’t familiar with you?

KK – It’s loud – very loud – so bring your earplugs if you are going to come to our live show. Think of it in two parts; take Mogwai’s big wall of sound, put in some heavier guitars, more intricate electronic sounds and some ferocious drumming and you have one half of sleepmakeswaves. For the other half, picture trying to be as delicate and precise as possible whilst crossing a frozen lake on extremely thin ice.

As you’re an instrumental band, how do you go about engaging with people through your music? Without lyrics is that difficult?

Without a lead vocalist, the musical moments that play out in our songs essentially become the frontman so we try and make our “frontman” as sexy and inspiring as possible. I think our strength is to keep the audience’s full attention for 90 minutes. It hasn’t always been this way and we have worked on crafting music which is melodically interesting, moody and captivating.

Did you form purposely to play instrumental jams, or did it just happen?

A bit of both. All the original members of sleepmakeswaves had been in bands with vocalists before, I think we were trying to do something different this time, but still just making music for ourselves.  It just so happened that other people outside the band started to really enjoy what we were doing. We never thought we would even make it to a stage at our local pub to play a show but here we are 8 years later doing the same thing on stages all over the world!

This is a pretty extensive European tour! Where’s your favourite place to visit?

We all love Europe, it’s just so different to Australia and that makes it exciting and unique every time. I think this tour will take us to some new places we have never been before, so it’s always a privilege to be in a band which enables you to see so many countries that you otherwise may never visit.

What’s next after this EU tour? You’re missing festival season!

We really want to do a festival run in the UK and Europe soon, we have played a few festivals back home and in the UK and we love the vibe. After this EU tour we will be venturing to Russia, China, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.  The next few months are going to be super busy for us!

Where is the focus with Australian bands in regards to “cracking” overseas? UK bands seem to focus on the US, and it seems vice versa…

I guess for Australian bands, the general pipe-dream is to become successful in the US and UK as they are perhaps the biggest music markets for rock bands. Although I think now the focus is shifting for Australian bands to test emerging markets in China, India and South-East Asia.  For us Europe has always been good, it’s a nice accommodating place to promote your music where people are very passionate about art. 

What do you miss most about Oz when you’re overseas?

The weather. Being able to sit outside at midnight at a comfortable 24 degrees celsius in shorts and a t-shirt sinking a few beers with mates.

What’s the current favourite on your playlists?

I’ve been revisiting Lupe Fiasco’s second album “The Cool” released back in 2007. It’s such a smart album that went over people’s heads when it was first released. Check it out.

What’s your favourite show you’ve ever played? And what about attended?

We each have different favourite shows we have played. For me it is the first time we ever played in Spain. It was at a club in Madrid on the 65daysofstatic tour. We were the support band and all the punters came out early to see us, the place was packed and it was the first time ever that the crowd clapped along to every single song we played from start to end. The totally unexpected crowd reactions always make the most memorable shows for me.  My most favourite show I’ve attended would have to be in Sydney several years ago, Mogwai were headlining supported by …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. It totally opened my eyes to post-rock music.

And finally, can you give us a tip for a band to watch this year?

Keep your eyes out for an Australian band called The Preatures.

Thanks for Kid for being lovely!

UK Dates
16.03.15 UK – London @ Underworld
17.03.15 UK – Manchester @ Roadhouse
18.03.15 UK – Glasgow @ Cathouse
19.03.15 UK – Bristol @ The Exchange
20.03.15 UK – Southampton @ Joiners
Release in 2014, Love Of Cartography was the second album from Sydney ambient/melodic post-rockers sleepmakeswaves.
Following their ARIA-nominated debut …and so we destroyed everything, the band created their most epic, intricate and powerful record to date. Love Of Cartography showcases their dynamic and energetic approach to modern post-rock, whilst retaining their signature melodic hooks.
With a series of memorable and thundering sequences, the album presents the band’s continued desire to map new creative directions within an instrumental rock framework.
Rock N Rolla: “Where so many post-rock bands submit their compositions to the organic chaos of reverb saturation and energy excess Love of Cartography is the product of precise mechanics and painstakingly dialled in FX.”
Big Cheese Mag: “The delicate interludes are all nothing new by stretch, yet this is a record that I will return to again and again.” 

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