Electronic duo Sleeping Lion are going from strength to strength; having just moved to Los Angeles the pair are flexing their writing muscles. Their latest single Stop It, released via Majestic Casual, is approaching half a million streams on Spotify and now has a Stripped version. I spoke to Nate Flaks, half of Sleeping Lion, to get a better grasp on the new record.
Hey guys, thanks for talking to us – could you tell our readers something about Sleeping Lion that they might not know otherwise?
Much like our EP, the early demos of “Stop It” were created while I was living in Dobbs Ferry, New York & Noah was living in Rome, Italy. Normally, we’re roommates so we tend to write a lot of music in the same room, but in the case of “Stop It”, having the space to work on it alone made it much more personal for both of us.
Stop It received great support on Spotify, how does it feel to be getting that love?
The Spotify-love feels really great and relieving in a way that’s very different from our other songs. This was our first original release of the year and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure it was better than any release we had before. Rising to our goal was really encouraging and we’re glad the song connected with people. This was a difficult song to write because so much of it focused on a melancholic & complicated personal story so it’s nice that something positive could come from it.
What does it draw upon in terms of subject?
The song was co-written by Abby Carey & I while we were in the midst of breaking up over long distance during the winter holidays. We had met in college and connected through songwriting, but our relationship followed a difficult on & off cycle. The final break up was rough because we were really good friends and we knew things wouldn’t be the same after. “Stop It” was our way of talking about the break up indirectly and holding on to a connection while things slowly got worse. It’s all in the details of the song- the placements of “I” “you” and “we” in the song were deliberated over and a few of the samples in the song were from voice memos of our final writing session. I guess, in the end, nobody can say the song is inauthentic.
How did the acoustic version unfold in the studio?
We were nominated for the Boston Music Award’s 617 Sessions, which gave us 10 hours of free studio time at The Record Co. in Boston. Prior to Sleeping Lion, Noah & I were in a folk band so we knew we wanted to finally go back to our roots & record an acoustic version of “Stop It” with the time we were given. We worked with our friend Jesse Hartov (who previously arranged the horns for our song “By Now You Won’t”) to arrange the strings and recorded everything in one day with a string trio assembled by Cristobal Cruz Garcia (aka “The Chillest Cellist”). I played piano & Noah played guitar, which was how we originally wrote some of the song. We also invited our friend Natalie Knezevic, who I had been in a band with throughout middle school & high school, to sing on the track. We knew we couldn’t avoid using the production tools we were now so familiar with, so we recorded a lot of percussive & ambient sounds from the piano & strings that we could sample later so all the elements would still sound natural.
I had the pleasure of seeing you guys play live at The Peppermint, how much do you guys enjoy gigging?
We really love gigging! When we first started Sleeping Lion we actually didn’t want to gig because we were afraid people would think we were DJs (which hurt our folky hearts), but when we were asked to play our first show we created a setup that still felt like it challenged our musicianship as performers. We’ve both been performing since we were kids so we’ve always loved playing live and always will. There’s nothing quite like it and it’s been great in the last few months (after years of playing folk music in empty cafes) to finally feel the energy of an excited crowd in a full room!
What can Sleeping Lion fans look forward to?
2018 is going to be a really interesting year for our fans and for us. We recently moved to LA and we’ve been writing a lot of music, so they can expect much more original music from us in the coming year. We’ve also gotten into production and songwriting since we got here so our fans might discover new emerging artists through the other songs we’ve worked on! There’s also a potential podcast in the works for fans who like hearing us ramble on our livestreams and we enjoyed doing the stripped version of “Stop It” so much that we’re probably going to be recording and releasing stripped versions of other songs in the future. The rest is up to chance & what comes from non-stop work, but it’s gonna be a good year!