Don't Sleep (Copyright by Ryan Brosius)
Don't Sleep (Copyright by Ryan Brosius)

Anfang Juni releasten Don’t Sleep mit See Change ihr zweites Full Length Album. So weit so gut und klingt erst einmal nach einem normalen Prozess. Wie turbulent es allerdings im Hintergrund zuging und welche Ups and Downs die Band im Vorfeld des Releases hatten und welche Tipps Frontmann Dave Smalley für junge Artists hat, erfahrt ihr in unserem Interview mit der Band.

Punk and hardcore have influenced people in so many positive ways.

AFL: To start: Describe your album in three words!



AFL: Was there any difference in the process of writing the songs?

Garrett: For the most part, we write songs that start with a riff that our guitarist Tom writes, and then we structure the song from that point musically. We do rough demos of songs and then give them to Dave to develop the lyrics and vocals. One exception on this record was the song “Love is the Suture,” which was written by Dave and then developed a little further with the help of our friend and occasional producer Matt Holmes. I think you’ll notice that “Love is the Suture” has a different vibe than the rest of the record – that’s the cool thing about playing in a band where everyone contributes to the songwriting – you’re able to create song variety and keep things fresh!

Don't Sleep - See Change (2023)
Don’t Sleep – See Change (2023)

AFL: How long did it take from the start till the release at the beginning of June?

Garrett: That’s a good question. We originally signed a two record deal with Victory Records in about 2019. At the time, we had 2 albums worth of songs that we were really happy with, so we recorded both of the albums for Victory at the same time, over the course of several months, in a few different studios, and with a variety of producers including Walter Schreifels and Brian McTernan. We planned to release the two albums about 18 months apart from each other. Just before the release of the first album (“Turn the Tide”), however, Victory sold out to Concord, which is a catalogue-only label, so it became clear to us that Victory would not be releasing any of our records.

The next chapter in the saga was that Tony Brummel from Victory decided to start a brand new label called Mission Two, and had already signed the Cro-Mags and Insight. Tony wanted to put out the Don’t Sleep records and we were happy to be in good company with those bands. After the release of Turn the Tide and several other bands’ records, though, Mission Two stopped operations and we were unsure of our future. Thankfully, Brummel agreed to give us the second album worth of songs, which became our new album “See Change,” which was just released by End Hits Records. Thanks Oise and End Hits.

AFL: What is the feedback on the songs by now?

Garrett: So far the feedback has been really good. We’ve received a lot of positive reviews from blogs and zines, and we’ve been hearing a lot from people that they really enjoy the record and are somewhat surprised that there’s a heaviness to some of the songs that wasn’t present on Turn the Tide. I think we did lean a little more into the heavy songs on this release in comparison to our other records. Also, we’ve been surprised to receive a fair amount of airplay on Sirius XM Faction – our first single “Promise Made” has been on regular rotation on that channel. It’s fun to be driving around in our car and hear your song on the radio!

Don't Sleep (Copyright by Ryan Brosius)
Don’t Sleep (Copyright by Ryan Brosius)

AFL: What are your biggest influences musically? Any dirty pleasures?

Garrett: I can’t speak for the whole band, but as far as writing music for Don’t Sleep, I lean heavily on the classic Dischord bands like Embrace, Rites of Spring, and of course Dag Nasty. Dag Nasty “Can I Say” is one of my favorite albums of all time, so to say that it’s surreal to play in a hardcore band with Dave Smalley is an understatement! Other influences on me would be Revelation Records bands like Chain of Strength, of course Gorilla Biscuits, and classic British bands like The Clash, Elvis Costello, Buzzcocks, etc.

Also, I am very interested in current hardcore bands and am super inspired to see that hardcore music is more popular than ever. Current bands that I really love include Praise (our guitarist Tony’s brother plays bass in that band), Fiddlehead, End It, Gel, and many, many more! I just saw a cool band called MS Paint in a small DIY venue near my town and they were mind blowing. Check them out!

As far as guilty pleasures go, I honestly love all kinds of music and probably SHOULD feel guilty about some of the music that I listen to, but really don’t. I love hardcore and punk, but I have a true soft spot in my heart for early British alternative music like Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, etc.

Honestly, my real guilty pleasure has nothing to do with music, but it’s watching American football, which is very basic, violent and consumerist and a huge time suck, but I’m hooked on it!

AFL: I saw the Track-by-Track Video, including Ingo Donot. How did you get to know each other? Are there any other German bands you really like to listen to?

Garrett: That was so cool of Ingo to do that for us. What an honor and I absolutely loved what he said and the passion he has for the Don’t Sleep song that he was commenting on. Thanks Ingo! I don’t know him but hope to meet him at some point in the near future. In addition to Duchamp, the great thing about being on a label like End Hits is that I’ve been turned on to a bunch of German bands on the label like Giver, AYS and Shoreline – cool bands!

Dave: Ingo is a phenomennal frontman and both bands, Duchamp and Donots, are brilliant. I had the honor to contribute a couple of vocal tracks to the Duchamp album, which was so fun.


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AFL: Dave, You are kind of a veteran in the hardcore scene and have influenced many generations with your former bands. What drives you to keep going on and on?

Dave: Thanks so much. I think first and foremost, I believe in the ability of this music to help make the world and ourselves better. Punk and hardcore have influenced people in so many positive ways.

Secondly, working with so many talented musicians over my career has been a great artistic catalyst.

Lastly, I’m a musician – so creating is integral to a musician or artist. Still, I am heading toward the later phase of life, and I do sometimes think of retirement from music, but I keep finding myself back in the studio or onstage with some great friends, making music that I believe brings joy and positivity and power into the world. It brings joy to me as well! Someday is today – Don’t Sleep on life!

AFL: What advice do you have for young musicians who are just starting out?

Dave: Great question. First and foremost, love what you do. Believe in it. Second, know that it will be hard, there will be struggles artistically and in terms of logistics, getting the band off the ground, etc. Accept that. Third, get better as a musician. Work your ass off. Become good at your craft, whatever instrument you play. Don’t settle for being just good enough – push your artistic boundaries.

AFL: Any last words?

Garrett: Thanks AWAY FROM LIFE for the great questions! Check out “See Change” on End Hits records! Thank you for your support and see you in the pit!

- Werbung -
– Playlist: Happy Release Day

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