The Sleeping

By Andy

The Sleeping dropped their new album ‘The Big Deep’ last month, and we wanted to hear about it from the horses mouth. Doug Robinson filled us in:

So the Sleeping are back with a new album ‘The Big Deep’. We understand you headed out to rural Woodstock, New York to record it. Why did you decide to head up there?

Well, out of our four records.. this is our third with Mike Birnbaum and Chris Bittner. We recorded our first two with them. When we recruited Paul and Chris to the band, we started writing for What It Takes (Our third album) and we felt it was only fair to step into a different recording experience so we can all experience something new and fresh together. So, we went with Brian McTernan at Salad Days Studio. It was a cool experience but our hearts were pretty much always set on Mike and Chris. As soon as we finished What It Takes we knew we would be heading back to Woodstock. Mike and Chris are like family to us and we really feel a lot of The Sleeping‘s sound comes from that bond.

How much influence did the location have on the sound of the new album. How different would ‘The Big Deep’ sound if you recorded it in NYC?

I don’t know how it would sound if we recorded it in NYC, maybe it wouldn’t have as organic of a vibe. But I can definitely say that recording this record in Woodstock had a huge influence on its sound, even more than the first two records we recorded there. Out of all four of our releases, we have NEVER recorded in the summer until this last album. It’s just rad to be able to ride bikes into town together and experience what Woodstock means to the people who live there. It’s a beautiful place that breathes music. There are always bands playing outside in the center of town, drum circles, people who never left Woodstock after the fest (we call them Gnomes), etc. It’s actually insane during the summer. We weren’t confined to our cabin this time around and that had a major influence on the record. The title, โ€˜The Big Deepโ€™ not only fit with the lyrical theme of the record… but it’s also the name of a famous swim hole in Woodstock where we would go after and between sessions. Everything just seemed to fit perfectly this time around.

We understand Douglas temporarily relocated to LA before recording the album. How much strain did that put on the creative process?

It actually wasn’t too strenuous, writing wise. We had just gotten off of a long tour and were taking a little while off before writing for The Big Deep. It was really hard on me because my band is my family but it was something I had to do. I had to get away for a while and try and figure myself out. A lot of shit was happening to me in NY and I had to relocate. When I got back we started writing our asses off and The Big Deep started coming into fruition.

How has The Sleeping‘s sound progressed since 2009’s ‘What It Takes’?

In my opinion, we’ve become much better song writers. Everyone stepped up their playing immensely but it’s the song writing I’m most proud of. We were able to still maintain a certain style we have always had as The Sleeping but hone in on our song writing skills. What It Takes was a much more aggressive record. I am super proud of everything we have ever created but if you listen to that record compared to The Big Deep, you can tell there was a lot of frustration and confusion within all of us. We are just at different places in our lives now. We are more appreciative of things and we kind of just went with the flow this time around.

The cover art depicts a suitcase laying open displaying its contents. How does the artwork tie into the theme of the album?

It’s pretty crazy actually. My roommate, Jeffrey Ramirez ( did the artwork. Before we even started writing for the record, I would call him on tour and we would talk about our lives and what was happening at the time. He knew about everything that was going on with me, all of my confusion and my need to get away for a while. I was at a super low point, mentally and physically and he knew all of this. When we had approached him about doing the artwork, he had already known so much of what was going on that it literally was a first time thing. Without music or lyrics, he had sent like one or two other ideas over but he specifically said, this one is my favourite… and it wound up being our favourite as well. Lyrically, the theme of this record has a lot to do with my running away from state to state. I travelled, mentally and physically, to try and get my shit together. So everything tied in better than we could have ever imagined. When you look at the layout, the cover of the record is an open suitcase, on grass, representing the start of a long and unpredictable journey. The contents in the suitcase represent “baggage,” mentally and/or physically. As you open each page, behind the lyrics, you’ll see different types of terrain… gravel, water, Etc. This represents the person travelling (or running away from things) to different places. Then, on the back cover, you’ll see the suitcase closed on a wooden floor, representing a return home… wherever that home is.

There’s a track on the album called ‘Deafening The UK’. What’s the story behind that?

The title was something Joe, our drummer, had said during one of our writing sessions and it just wound up sticking. We love the UK and Joe was saying how he could picture playing this song there and how rad it would be, so it stuck. The song itself is about my return from Los Angeles to NYC. I was just real bummed on not being with my friends and I was really depressed on being away from the band. I don’t regret that I moved there for a while to try and regroup but it just wasn’t for me. I realized I was running away from a lot of things I needed to face as an adult. So I had written about all of these feelings I had during the last few days of my experience living in Hollywood and how much I realized I missed and needed New York. It was kind like the last straw. I was happy there but not complete and that song basically explains all of these things.

Can we expect you guys back in the UK for shows any time soon?

Yes, we are trying to get back over there ASAP and it’s just a matter of time. We love it there and we’re doing our best to make it happen! Finally, you have thirty seconds to sell ‘The Big Deep’ to any potential listeners. Go! Please pick up our record, it would mean a lot to five hard working, honest musicians. If you download it then just make sure you’re at our shows but you should definitely pick up a physical copy and see how well the layout ties in with the lyrical content.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]