Continuing our series of interviews with bands during lockdown, Mark Glenister spoke with Will Atkins of Sleep Eaters just prior to them releasing their new single 'In this Town' about life in lockdown, how its impacted the bands plans and what's in store when life returns to 'normal’.
Firstly, how are you? How are the rest of the band as well?
I’m well thanks, Mark. It’s been nice having the time to read & write & relax! The others are good too I believe, we talk every day and do the occasional video call. In a perfect world we’d all be at Dec’s cabin in Essex writing and recording but we’re all keeping well regardless!
Do you have a daily routine, are you learning anything new as everyone else seems to be?
I’m down at my folks’ now and I’ve been blessed with the task of helping my uncle log and price his record collection which is massive and gives me a decent task to be getting along with! I’ve never been great with routines though as I don’t have too much of one in my normal working life due to shift work but I’m trying to use this time wisely, practicing violin everyday which is fairly new to me, and I’ve got some Spanish tapes on the go too!
Are you seeing this lockdown as a time to be creative? And has it changed the way you view the industry?
It’s definitely a time to be creative, for sure! I’ve been writing a lot of poems and a few songs so far, just need to push the work ethic to the max to get as much done as I can because I know when it’s all back to normal I’ll be kicking myself if I haven’t used this time wisely!
Luckily the business side of the industry has an ability to largely exist online, with access to releases and press, all being able to be done online but I miss being at gigs, either as a spectator or a musician and I miss hanging out with the guys at rehearsal or just in spare time. We see each other often, normally, in our social lives which is nice but unfortunately we’re unable to at the mo!
Photo by Sara Fonfria Instagram: @sarafonfria
As a band are you doing anything for the fans? A lot of online gigs and Q&As seem to be the norm for a lot of bands, how easy or difficult is that for you as a group?
We release a single on Monday 27th April which we’d had recorded for a while. It’s titled ‘In this town’ and sort of fits in nicely with the current circumstances. It’s being released with a video too! We’re doing a couple of Q&As as you’ve mentioned and we’re also compiling some playlists, too. I’m terrible with technology, but we’ll try and get some live from home stuff happening at some stage!
With the lockdown being extended, does that effect plans for tours, singles, albums?
Our tour in March with Stonefield was cancelled just before the lockdown, which is a shame, but it could have made things worse for the virus! The other, with LIFE, has been postponed to October, which is good because it means that we’re able to still go on tour with them this year which we’re really looking forward to.
As well as the single we’ve just released, we have a new one recently recorded which we’re waiting to release after the lockdown. We’ll have a release party somewhere but that’s looking to be more like September, so watch this space! And we’re still working hard on the album, just need to get together in the studio to sculpt it out! All this time off has given us the opportunity to write new material and finish things which were in progress so we can hit the ground running when we’re back!
Photo by Sara Fonfria Instagram: @sarafonfria
As a fan I know how much I miss going to gigs, for the music and for the social aspect, is this something that you miss as well?
Definitely! I’ve always been a fan of going to gigs from when I was really young. It’s great fun and you really get a feel for the band you’re watching that you could otherwise miss out on with recordings. It’s a totally different experience! I miss playing gigs the most though, there’s a certain apprehension I get when onstage about to play a gig which is really great; you never know how people will react the first time they see you play. It’s always nice when there’s a positive reaction from a crowd and individuals afterwards and I really enjoy meeting people at these gigs! Will definitely be celebrating the next gig we play!
How important are your fans at this time, I know and I speak from experience, a lot of merch is being purchased to help bands, and I know you have a great connection with fans generally so are they an important aspect of getting through this?
They’ve been great! We’d just stocked up on merch for the tours and then they both got cancelled or postponed so it was a bit uncertain how we’d be able to make back the money but the reaction to this virus on behalf of the fans has been outstanding! T-shirts have been flying out and Danny’s been delivering some of them by hand when they’re local enough!
It’s been really great seeing people come together in support during these times, not just for us but for all bands who have been hit hard by this crisis. I feel for all those bands who were gearing up for SXSW, booking flights, getting VISAs sorted etc and then the whole thing got pulled! Such a disappointment for so many! But I’ve seen how good their fans have been and it’s great to see so many people coming together in support.
Despite horrors of this pandemic, the lockdown seems to have a created a lot of really positive community action, and for once social media is being used mainly in a positive manner – Do you want life to return to normal once this is over, or would you like people to be using this time to evaluate their lives and start to be part of communities and positive social change?
I would hope that people will realise that even when there isn’t a global killer virus hanging around outside that they are able to live their lives with kindness and understanding towards people in all circumstances. Even if the sun is shining and it’s all rainbows and butterflies for you, it might not be for someone else. So to see people live with empathy and think about others’ situations as well as their own would be a really nice thing. I’d like to think this situation will have some form of long lasting impact for the better, in regards to people’s relationships to their communities and further afield.
You can listen to Sleep Eaters new single here. Our penultimate 'Bands in Lockdown' interview with Damien Sayell of the St Pierre Snake Invasion will be published on Monday.