Filling the gap between Aqualung and Catherine Wheel, The Sleep Tapes is the name under which solo artist and North Hollywood, California resident Noah Sturm releases his soporific and beautiful sonnets. We chatted up this light sleeper about the process:
MusicZeitgeist: Who are The Sleep Tapes?
The Sleep Tapes is basically just me, all the recordings anyway. The name comes from these cassette tapes I would record from the radio as a kid and listen to until I fell asleep. There were a lot of Leonard Cohen songs and some James Taylor and whatever else caught my ear at the time. I really wanted to write songs like those. There were these lyrics that were more like little bits of poetry. They really opened up my imagination. It’s my way of reminding myself I guess.
MZ: Talk about the process that led to these recordings:
A lot of the time I end up writing songs about things that I can’t really make sense of. So listening to the song is a sort of comfort. Like the problem isn’t sovled, but I’m working on it. And it’s cool if someone else connects with that. It’s a sort of kinship. If I write stuff like that, it’s very freeing because I don’t have to pretend to be anyone else to reach people.
MZ: Whence doth TST hail?
I live in North Hollywood now and I’ve lived in the Los Angeles area since I was 11. But I was born in Ohio and I spent a good part of my childhood in Florida. I didn’t realize how much those places influenced me until I went back to visit in the past few years. A lot of it comes out in the music too. Not so much in style or technique, but maybe just the underling moods in the songs. I’ve always thought that the mood of the song is what gives it life.
MZ: Talk about the timeline:
I recorded my EP “life is long, we’ll meet again” over a few months in 2011 and put it out in november 2011. And it’s been pretty cool since then. I’ve accomplished a lot of things I didn’t think I could putting something out myself. And I record everything myself at home on my laptop. At first I thought it was such a hassle recording things by myself and trying to make them sound right, but eventually I realized that I loved doing just that. It’s not so much about the control, but it’s a more intimate experience that can be shared in the final product. It’s a story that came from me without any filters because I wouldn’t know what to filter out anyway. The truth stays in the song because you don’t get that weird stare from someone else like “what are you talking about?”. But I do like working with other people because there is something really special that happens when the chemistry is right, that you can’t get working alone.
MZ: for how long?
I’ve been writing music and recording myself in some form since I was fifteen. So for about ten years. But I started writing music under “The Sleep Tapes” a few years ago.
MZ: What’s next?
I plan to start work on a new album in the next week or so actually. I hope to have it done in a few months.
The Sleep Tapes’ Vital Links:
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