After a successful tour in September with Nazarite Vow, Texas metal outfit Oh, Sleeper are set for a return to our shores this April as part of the Taperjean Records No Surrender Tour with fellow American metallers The Chariot and Aussie pop-punk outfit I Am Villain. Briefly stepping away from busily recording their third studio album, the band’s vocallist Micah Kinard gave us some of his time for a rather incredible chat. Make sure you check them out in April!
Hey Micah, hows things?
Hey man. Doing well, just witting down and writing some lyrics.
Awesome! How’s that all coming along?
Yeah really well, finishing up the last song today lyrically and hopefully starting vocal production tomorrow.
Not far away from your next Australian tour man, excited?
Very excited, stoked to be coming back!
It wasn’t so long ago that you were here last, what were your highlights last time around?
Last time we were there it was incredible. Really surprising for us, going to a Country that’s one of the furthest away from your own and one that doesn’t even have your album released there means that you can’t really have any expectations. Getting over and having the response that we did, having packed shows with such excited fans was just incredible.
Well your touring with The Chariot this time around, I believe you know the boys pretty well?
Oh yeah, definitely.
With you being familiar with Australian and them making their debut over there, have you been stirring them up or making up stories of what it’s like over here?
[Laughs] Well we showed them some tour blogs from over there, one in which we were with our buddies from Nazarite Vow, a band from down there. We stopped at a wildlife shelter that was closed for the day and hopped the fence and chased some albino kangaroos and started a stampede, nearly got trampled and we caught it all on video. We’ve been kinda jazzing them up about that so they’re all really excited. I’m sure there will be many more crazy experiences to go along with it.
That’s hilarious! Is there anything you missed out on doing or seeing last time that you wouldn’t mind checking out this time?
I’d like to see more of the countryside really, and the local life around there rather than the touristy stuff. Last time the guys at Taperjean music really took care of us well and made sure we got to see a lot of exciting stuff last time. So yeah really just more local life in general.
So, you’re currently in the studio working on your next album. How’s that coming along overall mate?
Yeah really great, we’re finished up with drums and guitar and we’re doing bass right now. Next up is vocals, and we have about two and a half weeks left to work on vocal production and tweaking the ear-candies of the album. It’s been pretty gruelling so far, but when we start doing vocals everyone starts getting excited again so we’re looking forward to it.
Where are you at lyrically, are you looking at doing another concept album?
Cool! Is it a new concept entirely or a continuation from the last album?
It actually is a continuation, it picks up right where the last album picks off. And this one is a full concept album, it’s a full story from start to finish. Every song is a chapter in the story. To get the whole story you really need to read the lyrics from the start.
Wow really…How do you follow on from The Finisher, it sounded like Satan was put well in his place!
[Laughs] Yeah. It’s something I’m actually really excited about, I wanted to put a new spin on things and look from different viewpoints and angles. This album start right in that final battle that was depicted in The Finisher, where God and Satan are kind of going at it and God cuts Satan’s horns off with humanity as his audience. The first song of the new album picks up right there, when Satan’s horns hit the ground there is a huge burst of energy and both God and Satan are nowhere to be found. The first half of the album is humanity trying to piece together what happened, and things spin into total chaos with the conclusion that God and Satan killed eachother and they’re both dead, which means that there is no reward of Heaven and no fear of Hell.
It shows the unravelling of man and how terrifying mankind can be if we all pursue our own eye-for-eye carnal desires. The story follows this girl through the entire thing and she start off not wanting to believe in anything, then she sees all this happen and starts to piece together things that don’t add up and things that don’t work. Halfway through the album she starts finding others like her, and the rest of the album is them all finding out what’s really going on.
This album is different to the last one because it’s like a book. If you pick up a book and start at a random chapter it may seem completely different to the overall goal of the story. In that, I feel like for any of our surface level fans or spoon-fed fans that aren’t willing to dive into it, if they have a spiritual connection with the band we are probably going to lose them on this one.
That sounds incredible! Do you think that the continuing concept translates into the music following a natural evolution from the last album? Or would you say that it’s musically quite different?
The music follows the concept beautifully in my opinion. With the album being conceptually as dark as it is, the music matches it perfectly. The whole first half of the album is very dark, chaotic, technical and a lot heavier than the last album. As the characters in the story start to come to an understanding and enlightening of what is going on, the music emulates that and starts to get more melodic and more epic sounding. It gets brighter, but is still very driving.
Have you got a title in mind or a rough release date for us?
Not yet, we’re working on it though!
Any chance of hearing some new material on this coming tour?
Yes actually, we don’t know how much just yet but we are planning on debuting some new material to give people an idea of what’s coming.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever had thrown on stage with you?
There’s been a couple of times where a blown up condom has been thrown on stage with us and it kind of just floats by your face, completely out of place [laughs]. It’s always interesting to see what sort of kids get thrown on stage with you as well.
Could you roll off a few of the bands that inspired you to want to play music?
Well I got exposed to heavy music pretty late in the game and it blew me away, the intensity and the rawness of it gripped me and really blew me away. Some of the bands who really lit the fire for me and changed my way of thinking about music in a heavy sense were bans like Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Following them would have been bands like Every Time I Die and even Norma Jean and bands like Living Sacrifice. I guess Meshuggah and Dillinger brought me into it and from then I explored the different genres within heavy music and gaining a better understanding.
Meshuggah are near on my favourite band man, so we’d probably get on well. Uhh, obviously you are Christians in a metal band, therefore the term Christian metal is often applied to your music. In the same way that Satanic music is often not listened to because of the lyrical content, do you think the label ‘Christian Metal’ is a restriction?
Oh definitely, a HUGE restriction. Labelling a Christian band or a Satanic band is immediately going to gain a following, whether the music is relatively good or not. In the same vein it’s immediately going to turn people away, who have heard that type of music before and heard the redundancies and the trends they seem to follow. In the same way that if you told someone they were going to listen to an electronic pop album, if you tell someone they are going to be listening to a Christian metal album you give them a picture of what they are going to be hearing from the trends that they have heard.
I would love to be able to shed that label and just write music that is important to me and speak my heart, which just so happens to involve “Christian lyrics.” It’s just weird, because you could write songs about anything else and not be labelled, it’s just religion that labels apply to. You could write about politics, but you won’t be labelled a ‘political metal’ band, nobody will ever be a labelled a girlfriend band or a heartbreak band or an anarchist band. If you say ‘I love God’ your automatically a Christian band and if you say ‘I worship the Devil’ you are automatically a satanic band. I really wish you could shed labels and share your ideas and passions to a more open-minded market, but in the world that we live in it’s pretty hard I guess.
If the world were to follow you now, where would you lead them?
That’s a really good question. I don’t honestly think I’m cut out to lead people until I can lead myself, I have enough trouble with that! Umm, I would hope that I could lead them to a place of free thinking, where they could all listen to the pull on their hearts and follow them. I would to lead people, I would never push my experiences upon them, if they asked I would share with them just as I would expect them to speak freely to me. I’d let things happen more organically rather than spoon-feeding and forcing things in the way that they are done today.
Great answer! Cheers For your time Micah, any closing comments for your Australian fans?
Just come out to the shows, say hi and let us stage dive all over you please! It should be great.
Thanks a lot man, I’ll see you at the Bendigo show!
Oh great! No worries, thanks for the interview.