Touring in support of their latest album, Love Of Cartography, sleepmakeswaves play at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, May 30, with Gay Paris and Sparkspitter. MATTHEW TOMICH reports.
sleepmakeswaves are the hardest-working post-rock band in Australia. The Sydney four-piece are at the tail end of a three-month world tour that’s seen them trek across Europe for the fourth time, but more exciting was their maiden voyage to Asia, where they played Singapore, Hong Kong and China for the first time.
“A big surprise for us and the really humbling experience was that China is possibly one of the most awesome and exciting places to play music on the planet, as far as the parts of the planet we’ve been to,” says bassist Alex Wilson.
“I think because it really is a new scene and there’s a lot to fight for, there’s a sense that those DIY values and doing things in an honest and straight-forward way are really valuable and they matter a lot.”
While the Chinese tour was a huge coup, sleepmakeswaves are at an interesting point in their existence as a band. Despite the success of their second record – last year’s crowdfunded Love of Cartography – and their busy traveling schedule – which included multiple national tours both as headliners and as support for the likes of Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus and 65daysofstatic – sleepmakeswaves is not sustainable enough to become a full-time pursuit for its four members. Wilson was let go from his day job for taking too much time off to tour, and though the success of the band is enough to put a roof over his head and food on the table, he remains uncertain if he wants the band as his main source of income.
“I think being a full-time touring musician would probably be a lot like having a child,” he says. “You wouldn’t know exactly how you’d feel about it until you’ve done it. Looking at it from the outside, it looks incredibly glamorous, but knowing a few people who are in that position and knowing them well personally, I know that they’re definitely not free of their own problems or their own struggles related to their career that are pretty significant, even if they’re in a position of earning their salary full-time from being in a band.”
Still, this is a band whose sound and ideology is founded on vitality, experimentation and progress. sleepmakeswaves know how to work hard; now they’re focused on working smart, financial security be damned.
“We’re not a band to rest on our laurels so a lot of what we’ve done over the past few years has just been, ‘why not do that? Why not try and climb that mountain?’ It’s worked pretty well so far, but thankfully we’re at a point where we don’t need to be as brutal with ourselves anymore. I think we feel a sense that sleepmakeswaves is just a thing that is going to be in our lives for the foreseeable future and we don’t need to run ourselves rabid trying to make sure that it doesn’t sputter and expire somewhere along the road.
“So that’s a really nice feeling and I think rather than killing ourselves with so much touring in the future, now we kind of want to focus on being a bit more selective with those shows and making the next record as great as we can make it.”