Sparrow Sleeps: Out of The Womb and with the Experts
BRITTNEY CHAMBERLAIN: Where are you guys from? Tell me about the team! Does Sparrow get approval/veto rights on new albums?
SPARROW SLEEPS: Sparrow Sleeps is me (Casey) and Peter. We met about ten years ago through mutual friends in the music community of Indianapolis. I don't recall how our worlds overlapped the first time, but I do remember him throwing the best theme parties. Years passed with us knowing each other as acquaintances, but we never really hung out one on one.
Sparrow is the real boss behind Sparrow Sleeps, but luckily, she trusts us to pick new albums. [Or maybe, she just has good taste in music.]
BC: How did the project get started and for how long was it in the works before releasing it to the public?
SS: In 2014, my daughter Sparrow Lucille was born, and I began creating lullaby renditions of songs that I enjoyed listening to. As a new parent, you're prepared for no sleep, but you're not prepared for the relentless torture of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on repeat in a rocking chair at 3am night after night after night. It's enough to drive you mad. It started with me turning a few Saves the Day songs into lullabies. I posted them on Bandcamp to show a buddy of mine in Austin what I had done, and over the course of an evening the songs got 20,000+ plays thanks to AV Club picking up on it somehow. At that point, I was like "Hey, let's give it a whirl."
After a handful of albums were created and released via Bandcamp, I took a year off. After the year off, Peter popped into my mind and I reached out to see if he wanted to team up and make this project a little more "legit." He had been a graphic designer and web developer for years, and his eye for good design was something I wanted to be a part of the project. Honestly, when thinking about possibly branding these sleepy tunes for others, it was the only option. Thank goodness, he was 100% on board, and fast forward a few years, here we are: 41 albums and counting. We celebrate three years of Sparrow Sleeps this May.
Sparrow has since grown past the need for lullabies, but she spent a good few years when she was younger as the guinea pig for new releases. Now, she requests we listen to The Aquabats or Taylor Swift, at all times. I'm okay with that. The Aquabats are hands down the best artist out there, regardless of whether you're four years old or forty.
BC: How did the 3eb/Out of the Womb project come to be? What was the band’s reaction to your proposed album?
SS: This is one of the weirder releases we've done. Not because it's outside of our normal genres (pop-punk/emo), but because it's been in the works for SO long. I just checked, and the original idea and initial contact with the band was from April of 2015. It's always been a release that has been in the works but just never made it out. The band's manager has been a huge help (and incredibly patient with us), and a couple of band members have helped with communication, and even followed us on social media.
Peter and I both were super lucky to catch them on tour this past summer here in Indy when they played S/T from start to finish. Motorcycle Drive By after hearing all of S/T live... there are no words to explain how amazing that moment was. I mean, we all love bands, and have our favorite artists, but there is something so incredibly unique about Third Eye Blind that I think a lot of the followers of 3ebLifestyle probably already understand.
I had always chalked them up to a "radio rock band" until a friend of mine back in 2008/2009 really turned me onto them. She gave me this mix CD that had songs from S/T through the Red Star EP, and I couldn't believe how naive I had been up until that point. I remember hearing "Slow Motion" for the first time, not blinking, mouth hanging open, and just wondering "What just happened?" If I had a dollar for every time I've played the instrumental version of that on a Touch Tunes in a bar, and sang it loudly with my buddy Jeff, I'd have at least $32.
Peter had mentioned his first 3EB experience being buying their S/T album on CD as one of the first handfuls of CDs he ever bought. Well, he said it was probably just the singles CD because all he could afford to buy were singles tapes and CDs back then. Come on though... even singles were expensive to a sixth grader in the 90's.
The band was kind enough to post about this album on social media, and that is probably one of the most surreal moments of the Sparrow Sleeps project so far. A few times each year, something happens, whether it be artist support, or unsolicited press, where we sit on our computers looking at the screen asking ourselves "What is going on???" And Third Eye Blind being so supportive of the release, while Third Eye Blind is such a huge part of who we are, well, it's just crazy. We're making music for infants to fall asleep to, and for artists to be on board is amazing.
BC: You’ve done a Cartel project, Cartel guitarist Joseph Pepper filled in for Kryz Reid during the 3eb Fall tour. Was there any overlapping interaction between the Cartel and 3eb projects?
SS: Cartel was one of the first releases we did. Without looking, I think it was release number 7? So, there was no overlapping regarding releases. However, it's awesome that Joseph got such a rad opportunity. Will was very supportive of the Cartel lullabies years back, and he was even kind enough to show up on a few songs of our educational children's release "Sparrow and Friends Start A Band." He pops his head in on track 1, as well as sings "I Want To Play." The album and those songs can be found on Spotify. The release also features vocalists from bands like Yellowcard, The Get Up Kids, Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Copeland, The Swellers, and more.
BC: How did you guys pick the songs/artists to cover? Can you tell us what band you are covering next?
SS: There isn't really rhyme or reason to how we pick. Especially at this point.
Peter and I have grown up listening to pop-punk, punk, emo, whatever you want to call the genres. While we want to release lullaby albums of all our favorite artists, we really work hard at releasing albums of artists that are on board with what we do. We reach out to all the artists we cover, and 9/10 times we're greeted with support by either the band or their management. We work hard to make sure we release all the albums at proper times that don't muddy up the press schedule that the original artists already have, and you can see that a lot of artists in the past have been vocal about their support for what we do.
We plan on staying close to the pop-punk genre for the foreseeable future. While Third Eye Blind is the lone wolf of releases so far that doesn't fit squarely into that genre, I know plenty of people, both friends and people in the industry, that regard Third Eye Blind as one of their favorite artists, even though they listen to artists from Fat Wreck, Hopeless, Fearless, and Drive Thru.
Coming up in the next few months, you will see some even softer Julien Baker songs, an album of All Time Low lullabies, and a couple releases from prominent pop-punk artists that we haven't yet hit (or miss).