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Sleep Party People Talk New Album
The Quietus , April 18th, 2012 06:17

Ballerinas and Bunny Masks: Brian Batz talks about the “warm” vibe behind Sleep Party People’s latest album, We Were Drifting On A Sad Song

Certain bands sound like their name. If Extreme Noise Terror were terrifying in extremis to a delicate ear, Copenhagen’s Sleep Party People make the sort of sounds that would inhabit a post-club, pres-slumber state. Woozy synths, half-heard vocals and ambient beats are the backbone of their recently-released album, We Were Drifting On A Sad Song.

Sleep Party People is the brainchild of Brian Batz, a multi-instrumentalist who began recording in his Copenhagen apartment, taking inspiration from acts like Boards Of Canada and Angelo Badalamenti scores. Beefing up his live band to a quintet – and taking to the stage in rabbit masks – Batz’s blend of electro-shoegaze was picked up on by fellow Dane and producer Anders Trentemøller, as Sleep Party People’s popularity spread across Europe last year.

Early this month, Sleep Party People released their second album. We Were Drifting On A Sad Song is a rich sonic brew with Batz exploring new textures and arrangements. Having just released a stunning video for their recent single ‘Chin’, and on the eve of a short UK tour, Batz spoke to The Quietus about the album and his plans for 2012.

You have just released a video to accompany your latest single ‘Chin’ – how did the ‘cosmic ballerina’ concept come about?

Brian Batz: It came about because I have a visual person on tour and they had this movie clip with the ballerina and she showed it to me and I loved it. I asked her if we could do the video. It’s a friend favour, kind of thing.

‘Chin’ is a glorious track – what made you choose it as the lead single?

BB: It’s the most easy-going song on the album and you can dance to it a little bit, as well. That’s kind of new to me.

Was making your music a little more accessible central to what you wanted from We Were Drifting On A Sad Song?

BB: Yes, definitely. That was my goal. I was a bit bored writing melancholic stuff – sad and quiet songs – so I needed something to get me up in the morning. That kind of vibe.

Musically, how would you describe the leap between the new album and your [self-titled] debut?

BB: The new album is more organic and the vibe is different as well. I had friends of mine contribute on the album and we recorded real drums and real strings this time. I had this feeling of wanting to use analogue keyboards instead of digital stuff which the first album had a lot of. So, it’s more organic and the feel is definitely warmer.

A number of tracks feature an Omnichord? Why’s that?

BB: I have an Omnichord and I really love the sound. If you want to make a dreamy sound, the Omnichord should fulfil your dreams, in a way. This time, I put the Omnichord through a load of pedals and an Eventide machine. The sound is really big and almost heart-warming in a way.

You’ve worked with Anders Trentemøller recently, how influential has he been on your career?

BB: He did one remix and while he wasn’t part of the writing of the songs, he is a good friend of mine. I have deep respect for him as a musician and i hope in the future we could collaborate some more.

Given the success of your debut album and the clamour for your new tracks, is there a sense of excitement around We Were Drifting On A Sad Song or do you feel any added pressure as people now expect more from Sleep Party People?

BB: I don’t feel the pressure but it is exciting. Last time I visited London the venue was pretty much sold out, which really surprises me in a way. Now the album is out, I’m hoping a lot of people will show up which makes me much more excited than before.

For anyone who haven’t seen you live, what can they expect from your shows?

BB: They should check the YouTube clips. Nothing has really changed. We still wear black, hooded shirts and we still wear bunny masks, so nothing is radically different in that regard.

What is with the bunny masks?

BB: Ha. The bunny mask is our trademark. My friend makes costumes for films and she made them for us.

What are your plans for the rest of 2012?

BB: I’m going to tour and I’m going to tour and I’m going to tour even more.

And finally, if you had to start recording a third Sleep Party People album tomorrow, what might it sound like?

BB: I’d like to maybe do an album which is very ambient like a string-composed thing close to Gavin Bryars’ work. I would love to do a record like his.

We Were Drifting On A Sad Song is out now via Blood & Biscuits. Sleep Party People play the following live dates in April:

Monday 16th, Manchester, The Castle Hotel
Tuesday 17th, London, White Heat @ Madame JoJo’s
Wednesday 18th, Bristol, Fleece
Thursday 19th, London, Buffalo Bar
Friday 20th, Liverpool, Mello Mello
Saturday 21st, Brighton, The Green Door Store