words by Lilli Marvin
Originating in Boston, indie pop duo Sleeping Lion has recently been cultivating admiration for their new release “Stop It” out now on Soundcloud. After previously being roommates, members Nate Flaks and Noah Longworth McGuire first began producing music in 2015, with their early singles quickly garnered respect from fans of “chill vibes.” The duo currently has one EP Patient Creature, released in 2016. We sat down with member Nate Flaks to discuss Sleeping Lion’s creative process and where they draw inspiration.
Which artists are some of your biggest influencers when producing music?
Lido, The 1975, Bon Iver, and The Japanese House
What specifically are some of the everyday sounds sampled on the track? Why did you include these?
We have construction from outside our apartment sampled for some of the percussion at the end. There are crowd sounds from a model UN convention in Geneva that Noah went to in High School (where he met his ex). There is also the room tone & unintelligible parts of conversation from the final writing session (with my ex) for the song. We wanted to include these elements because we wanted the sounds within the song to capture the time period we were producing it in as well as the memories they dredged up. Since the main sample, “Do we stop it?” originated from a line in a voice memo taken out of context, we wanted these additional “found sounds” to be included in a similar way.
Going forward, where will you draw inspiration from in creating your music?
We’re a few weeks away from moving to LA, which is a mixed bag for us. On the one hand, we’re moving to continue doing what we love to do, chase opportunity, and collaborate with artists we like and respect. On the other hand we’re leaving everything and everyone behind (for better or worse), so lyrically there’s a lot to draw from there & the songs we’re writing now reflect that conflict. Sonically, we’re experimenting with incorporating more funky/grittier elements that we’ve been using in our remixes. We’re not looking to make total EDM, but we’re definitely moving towards making more danceable tracks (or more likely, music you can drive around listening to).
Who do you hope to connect to through your music?
We strongly feel like everything is really weird right now. Living or growing up in 2017, with so many rapid & bizarre changes in how we interact with each other, isn’t easy at all. I hope our music connects with people who feel that strangeness & that it reminds them that they’re not alone in feeling that way.
Why do you create music?
That’s a really complicated question with a pretty simple answer- it’s just harder to stop creating music than it to do anything else. We’ve both tried doing other things and yet we keep coming back to creating music. I heard someone say once “you are what you do everyday” and eventually that became this. Obviously we love it, but passion only goes so far- at a certain point there is some indescribable & vague pull that keeps driving us.
How do individual members contribute to the overall track?
Noah handles most of the production- the sound design, arrangement, and mixing comes from him. I’m more involved in the overview- creating the form, cutting parts that don’t work, and focusing Noah’s ideas. I also usually write the lyrics (though in the case of “Stop It”, I co-wrote it with Abby Carey).
Where do you hope to go from here, how do you want to grow?
As I mentioned before, we’re moving to LA very soon, so we’re hoping that this move will keep the momentum going in a good direction. We really want to start playing festivals and continue to collaborate with artists we like (remixes, features, ghost producing, etc.). We also want to keep expanding our sound (with a kind of genre-fluidity) and continue to release singles that people connect & vibe with.