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Music

One at a Time

Sunsleeper looks to embrace a new music-industry paradigm.

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COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

The rock band Sunsleeper, with deep roots in the SLC music community, is prepared for an active 2022. The reality is that they're also looking ahead to 2023, when touring should be even busier.

Playing the long game, the band plans on releasing a record towards the end of 2022, in October. Between now and then, the group's label, Rude Records, will release fully half of that album's 10 songs as singles. That process continued on May 9, when the group's second single, "Currents," was released, following up on the debut, "In the Clouds."

Sunsleeper's vocalist, guitarist and co-songwriter Jeffery Mudgett is old enough to remember a different style of releasing, and he's happy to remember the good old days and to embrace the new style of rollout.

"From a personal perspective," he says, "I tend to prefer the old-school album cycle, when you'd release a single, or two, and then the whole album. We viewed this new record—and all of our releases so far—as a piece of art, a full piece of finished work. And this one has a kind of overarching theme. We're all down to do singles, but our label sold us on the idea of this being useful to the way people listen today, to attention spans being lower. The tangible idea of having that piece of art, of having 10 tracks all in front of you ... that's my favorite type of release. And we'll still have that. Just later."

Sunsleeper's gone through membership changes over the years, a condition that saw a smaller group of songwriting contributions. For the group's upcoming sophomore album (the name of which will be revealed this summer), the band is made up of Mudgett, guitarist Matt Mascarenas, guitarist Cody Capener, bassist Jacob Lara and drummer Scott Schilling. Capener and Lara are the newest arrivals, though both have now logged years in the group. That stability has been felt.

"We'd had a revolving door of members," Mudgett notes. "We finally have a set lineup and time for writing a record together. All the members were giving input on lyrics and song structures instead of just sticking to their instruments. It's preferred that way. I think it was just the time and place that was presented to everyone to be able to contribute. This one's more collaborative, cohesive. It feels like a real band."

The band's last record, You Can Miss Something and Not Want it Back, was released back in the summer of 2019. True of many a band, the group was in the process of supporting that record when COVID-19's impact on touring arrived in March of 2020. Like other groups, Sunsleeper went back to basics, rethinking the way they wished to write, perform and release music once society began opening up again. And video presentation has become more important than ever.

So the plan, as it stands, is that a video component will be attached to each of the five planned singles. For the most-recent work, "Currents," the group found a collaborator close to home. Well, Mudgett's home, as his wife Megan signed on to direct the piece, overseeing the entire process. It's a situation that Jeffery Mudgett says went even better than expected.

Going forward, the band's open to any/all approaches to their visual presentation, be it live- or story-based. "We'd like to have a blend of everything," Mudgett says. "That probably leans into the fact that everyone in the band has versatile interests. Our first single from this new record was more of an abstract kind of narrative; this week's had a more-tangible narrative style. Moving forward, we'd love to have more of a live-feeling music video. Variety is great."

Two tours of decent length are on the rock'n'roll band's docket for 2022, though Mudgett feels that 2023 will be an even bigger road test. For this year, a monthly show in Salt Lake and another in spots like Provo or Logan are the plan.

Mudgett senses that fans have "a decent amount of excitement. It's our first new music since 2019, and new people are listening, excited to hear what we've decided to do with our sound. The more-collaborative process has shifted the sonic influences a little bit. I'm very proud of this record, I'm through-the-roof excited and am wanting people to hear it."

The band's latest video, "Currents," is now available for viewing on YouTube and can be heard on Apple Music, Spotify and other major streaming services. Information on upcoming shows, as well as the next three singles, can be found on the band's social media sites. Conveniently, they go by the handle of sunsleepermusic on all of the following: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Lastly, the band's 2016 debut EP, "Stay the Same," is available for purchase and streaming at Bandcamp.

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