EMQ’s with SEA SLEEPER
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Portland, Oregon based Post-Metal band, Sea Sleeper. Huge thanks to bassist/vocalist Nick Kessler for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Nick Kessler, I’m the bass player for Sea Sleeper and I share vocal duties as well. Sea Sleeper was formed a couple of years ago from previous members of Crackling Dawn. The three of us, Jess Cooley, Shane Cooley and myself, have played together in metal bands since I joined their first band Southgate in 2011 and Jess and Shane have been playing music together since they were in high school.
How did you come up with your band name?
Jess keeps writing songs about sea adventure, shipwrecks, drowning, etc. The song ‘Salt’ off our new album was originally called Sea Sleeper and we felt like it fit the nautical misfortune theme that we keep coming back to.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from Portland, Oregon and the metal scene here is really great but currently a bit on the quiet side due to the pandemic. We’ve been active in the metal community here, playing shows around town for about the last ten years and we’ve seen some amazing local bands along the way.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our new album “Nostophobia” will be out in early 2021 and we released the first single ‘Old Guard’ on November 5th.
‘Old Guard’ (Official Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
There are so many but some bass players that have been really important to me are Steve Harris, Chris Squire, Stanley Clarke, Jean-Michelle Labadie, Dave Ellefson and so many more.
What first got you into music?
I listened to a lot of classic rock with my dad growing up, he was a big “The Who” fan and we listened to a ton of Beatles and Yes and that kind of thing. I think my uncle made me a mix CD with a lot of punk like Sex Pistols and X and Dead Kennedys and so I went through a bit of a punk phase. Then I got into heavier music through skateboarding actually, when I was a kid probably 12 or 13 I had Zero’s misled youth on VHS tape and I remember Adrian Smith’s part in Iron Maiden’s ‘The Prowler’ and I couldn’t get it out of my head and then I listened to Maiden religiously and slowly got exposed to more and more metal and I’ve been swimming in these dank waters ever since.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I’ve been getting into a lot more electronic music lately and I really enjoy metal that thoughtfully blends synth music with heavy portions like Blut Aus Nord and Anaal Nathrakh and Genghis Tron and Axis of Perdition and so many other bands with kind of a horror aesthetic so I’d love to collaborate with someone who makes genuinely frightening and dark electronic music like Makeup and Vanity Set or Disasterpiece. I’d love to collaborate with Jeff Whitehead of Leviathan but he’s such an incredible solo composer I doubt he needs me.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
I think Wacken would be amazing if Europe ever lets us Americans back in. We’ve played lots of local shows opening up for touring acts but never a major festival so we would love nothing more.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I have never gotten a gift from a fan but if anyone wants to give me a gift that’d be great. I like atmospheric black metal records and my favourite whiskey is Ardbeg and my birthday is in December so…
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you for listening to Sea Sleeper, it blows my mind that people are into it. Follow me on Instagram for pictures of my cat.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
For me, David Bowie. Albums he made in the 2000’s era like “Reality” and “Blackstar” are some of my favourites and Bowie just seemed like a guy who loved life.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love playing shows, watching other bands play, watching the crowd, everything about the live music experience is so much fun. There’s nothing I hate about being a musician but I’m honestly not a big “gear-head” and the technical elements of switching out pickups and pedals and amp heads and the constant trade-ins and upgrades some guys love doing is not for me, I like as clean and stone simple a setup as possible.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I’m not the first person to say this but streaming is the best and worst thing for musicians. On the one hand people can listen to your music so easily and for free so there’s no roadblocks to interested people finding you. But of course, people aren’t buying music to the same extent as they once did, and musicians make next to nothing from streaming. I’m not sure what I would actually change because I think streaming is great in many ways but maybe it needs to be more expensive or giants like Spotify need to pay their artists better.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
There are so many, I’ll say Leviathan: “A Silhouette In Splinters” because I just found that one on vinyl and I’ve been playing it a ton. Really great ambient black metal atmosphere.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I think vinyl is fun for the ritual and my cat likes to watch it spin so that’s a big plus. I grew up on CD’s and cassette tapes and have no interest in returning to them. Ultimately probably downloads are best but that answer is no fun, so I’ll return to the one my cat likes and say vinyl.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
As Sea Sleeper we only played a few shows before Covid hit but we got to play with Dyscarnate and Fit for an Autopsy and that was really really fun.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
We all have day jobs, so I guess the only thing music is preventing me from doing is an alternative hobby. I guess I could have gotten really into doing those little plastic models.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I only have like 5 friends so 4 of them and my wife.
What’s next for the band?
We just signed with Metal Assault Records, so we’ll be promoting our current album with them and writing has already started for the next album. We want to get into live streaming so we can start doing shows again while keeping folks safe, so I think that’s the next big thing in the pipeline.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We’re on all of the major ones, Facebook, Bandcamp, Twitter, etc, but we’re most active on Instagram so check us out there and send us a message, we love getting messages from fellow metalheads.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
My wife is from Virginia so in our household biscuits are made with buttermilk, but I’ll try to answer your weird British question. As I understand it, a biscuit is like a somewhat crisp cookie and I have heard that Jaffa Cakes are soft. And they are called Jaffa Cakes, which leads me to believe the manufacturer understands them to be cakes. So, Jaffa Cakes are cakes, I hope I didn’t just get cancelled in Britain.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks so much for giving me this platform to address the Jaffa Cake question. If you take away nothing else from this interview, please just know that Jaffa Cakes are cakes. And check out “Nostophobia”, we’re very proud of it.
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