Artist Spotlight

Ryan O'Neal of Sleeping at Last

Ryan O'Neal of Sleeping at Last

| Interview by Daniel Codella conducted on June 2, 2010.

Sleeping At Last are masters of writing engrossing, deep, and moving music. Formerly signed to Interscope Records, Ryan O'Neal and Dan Perdue of Sleeping At Last have decided to go the independent route, winning over both critics and the public alike. Not satisfied with repeating themselves, these Chicago natives continually push forward into new genres, instrumentation, and lyrical subjects. We discovered Sleeping At Last through a blog post they made about FourTrack. After listening to samples of their music online, we quickly fell in love. Now, Sleeping At Last are using Sonoma Wire Works products to tackle a daunting new project, "Yearbook." We caught up with Ryan and Dan to ask what Yearbook is, how they discovered the FourTrack iOS app, and what inspires them.

What does "Sleeping At Last Mean"?

We've been a band for a long time, so the meaning of the name has faded in the past decade. Basically, we like the sound of being calm in such a crazy world. We found that name in a poetry book. We were joking around and I said, "Our name is going to be on the next page!" The next page was a poem called "Sleeping At Last." We stuck with it.

What are your influences?

For me, I've been really influenced by Radiohead. I love a lot of 40's and 50's vocal jazz music like Billie Holiday and Nat "King" Cole. Those are some of my absolute favorites. We've both also really been into Björk.

How would you say your sound has changed over the years?

We've grown quite a bit in our understanding of arrangements and instrumentation. I think we've expanded the music we listen to as well. I think more organic instruments have made their way into our music. When we made "Ghosts" we were into louder rock music that had a more beautiful side. Now, maybe because of our age, we're more excited by softer, more organic music.

Did you guys do the arranging of the strings on "Storyboards"?

We did a lot of them. Basically, on the records Dan and I both write the string arrangements. For "Storyboards," we branched out a bit and brought in Van Dyke Parks arrange one song, "Clockwork." He's a legendary composer and musician that has done stuff for U2, Ringo Starr, Randy Newman, etc. We were really privileged to have him. Our friend Jeremy Larson arranged "Chandeliers." Dan and I wrote the rest.

Are you guys signed to a label?

This is all self released. We were on Interscope for a few years and had a really good experience with them. We love the work and love being hands on, so it felt right to leave and do everything ourselves. We enjoy doing things independently. To keep things afloat it can be a lot of work, but we're blessed to have been successful so far.

How did you guys come across FourTrack?

I'm an obsessed iPhone user. I pay attention to every app that comes into the store. When FourTrack came out, I was so excited. When we were younger, we used four tracks all the time to record demos. I bought FourTrack right when it came out, but recently, it's become one of my staple, front page apps. Many of our new songs start of there.

Has FourTrack helped your songwriting?

Absolutely! Both FourTrack and StudioTrack have helped. We can try out vocal choir ideas. It's so tedious setting up a ProTools session, but with FourTrack and StudioTrack, we can quickly capture any ideas that come up quickly. I really love working with them.

What is "Sleeping At Last" up to currently?

We are beginning a project October 1st called "Yearbook." Dan and I are going to write three songs a month, every month, for one year. We will be releasing a digital EP each month and FourTrack and StudioTrack will definitely be a part of that process. We are very excited to make more music than we ever have. On one hand, it's exciting, but it's also scary. It's a daunting task, but it's going to enable us to try everything we've ever wanted stylistically.

Read our newest interview with Ryan O'Neal of Sleeping at Last

"When I'm messing around with an instrument, FourTrack and StudioTrack have given me the incredible ability to not only capture these little sparks of ideas quickly, but also the ability to layer and explore ideas in a seamless and effortless way. It's been such a HUGE help in my creative process, and because the recording quality is so good, on several occasions I've ended up using those initial FourTrack/StudioTrack "sketches" in my final recordings."

Ryan O'Neal of Sleeping at last

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