Tuesday, April 25, 2006


"The name Sleepthief came to me one night when I was awake at 2:00 a.m. working on a song...the music, the writing was stealing my sleep..."

ST: Heya Mike!

MF: Hey Sleepthief, how's it goin'?

ST: "Very well at the moment. Summer is on its way and I cannot wait!"

MF: So, you are a full-time practicing attorney as well as a musician correct?

ST: "I am."

MF: What type of law do you practice?

ST: "I practice entertainment law (film and music), commercial law, property/real-estate and Title VII. I also litigate when necessary."

MF: And how long have you been a musician and where did you receive any formal training?

ST: "I have been playing the piano for about 10 years now. I am self-taught. Never had any formal training, although I've always been a music fanatic. I have taught myself some theory--one of my goals is to become a "proper" musician--but I am glad that the songs I write come from inside. Sometimes formally trained musicians have a harder time writing their own music because they were trained on other people's music."

MF: How did you get in touch with the fantastic vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw? (Hawkshaw performs Duran's Duran's - The Chauffeur on Sleepthief's upcoming release Dawnseeker).

ST: "Just wrote her an email. She is always very busy--but I've been a fan for years. We touched basis, she loved the idea. Funny enough, we are now pretty good friends and definitely plan on working together in the future. She is an amazingly kind and generous person as well as a brilliant singer."

MF: How did you find a suitable label for your debut?

ST: "Funny enough, I wasn't really looking for a label. I have some associates who were on major labels and all of them have nightmare stories. So...I was just going to see how the album would do. Fortunately, I was approached by several labels who wanted to sign me, so I was able to have a bit of choice. The album is actually owned by my label Echotone Records, but I am exclusively licensing it to Neurodisc. They have been incredible to work with and I am very happy to be with them."

MF: Where are you from?

ST: "Originally, Southern California although I've lived at various times in Texas, Ireland and Utah."

MF: What other music has influenced or inspired you?

ST: "Great question. As I mentioned, I am a music addict. I grew up listening to Gordon Lightfoot, the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel...so melodic folk with harmonies and such were an early influence. I was very much into Freestyle music in the 80's as well as new wave. I pretty much love the 80's. Later, I became a huge Enya fan. She probably has had the most influence on my taste and style. I also love world music artists like Ofra Haza, the Bulgarian Women's Choir, etc. Currently I am a big fan of acts like Kosheen, Goldfrapp, Imogen Heap, Eskobar, Keane and Lunascape. Still, the greatest living singer in my opinion is Lisa Gerrard (formerly of Dead Can Dance). She is the most amazing vocalist on the earth and I cannot recommend her enough."

MF: Are you a fan of the This Mortal Coil releases which featured such great vocalists as Caroline Seaman, Louise and Deirdre Rutkowski?

ST: "Actually, I am! I loved their first album "It'll End in Tears." Both Lisa Gerrard and Liz Fraser appear on that album, and they are both at the top of my list as far as female singers go. I do have their follow-ups and I like several of the tracks like I Want to Live."

MF: Do songs come to you at any given moment or do you 'sit-down' and work?

ST: "A bit of both. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of a dream and a song will be playing in my head. I have to run and go write it down. Other times I have to be disciplined and actually work at it." (laughs)

MF: Is a tour possible?

ST: "Definitely. We are looking at the logistics of it right now. Many of the singers said they would be up for it, so it is a strong possibility."

MF: What was the last CD you purchased and how do you feel about the downloading of entire albums online for a fee? Do you feel it 'cheapens' the music?

ST: "The last CD I purchased was Sia's "Colour the Small One." She is one of the vocalists with Zero 7. I was not a fan of her first solo album, but this new one is mind-blowing. I love it. My opinion on the issue (of downloading) is that it is inevitable, and has both pro and con aspects. The pro is that people can find and hear artists that may be difficult to track otherwise. The con is that if people do not ultimately buy the albums of the artists they download, it can really hurt artists financially, as it is the labels end up taking 90% of the profit, so it can be tough. I have downloaded before and found some amazing artists. My rule is that if I like more than two tracks on the album, I will go buy it. For me, supporting artists (especially independent or smaller label artists) is a big deal."

MF: Name one of your favorite films for me please?

ST: "Just one!"

MF: Alright five!

ST: "Waking Ned Devine, Elizabeth, Casablanca, there's three."

MF: Any final comments about anything whatsoever?

ST: "Just a big thanks to you and for all out there supporting this record. It means a great deal to me!"

Thank you Sleepthief, we are all anticipating the release of Dawnseeker this Summer on Neurodisc recordings.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Before the Dawn Heals Us


One of the best releases of the year and definitely M83's greatest work thus far is Before the Dawn Heals Us. The opening track Moon Child is sort of a backwards swirled candied concoction reminiscing about a child's past. In the Cold I'm Standing captures the infinite isolation of just that. It is the bitterness of the arctic and the loneliness of death, it's perfect. Farewell Goodbye is both happy and melancholic. It features delicate male and female choruses, a love song for flowers. Fields, Shorelines and Hunters could be describe as the end of some iconoclastic period in one's life. Teen Angst seems to capture the sound of someone's dream, that airy tunnel-like sound. It sounds like a beautiful whirling-dervish at a seaside carnival, stopping and starting again with the waves. Can't Stop is somewhat of a comical song, sounding like a majestic self-help mantra. Safe is a sad dramatic piece with male vocals. It leads into the fantastic sound of fireworks which opens the soothing Let Men Burn Stars. Slight Night Shiver is filled with the passing and zooming of cars, an ominous heat-filled song. A Guitar and a Heart is a heavy drum and guitar epic. The final track is the massively beautiful Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun. It builds slowly into a great chorus of wonderment and doesn't seem to want to end. You cannot go wrong with this recording, it's a pot of gold. (Just keep it away from Leprechauns)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Listening to the Extraordinary


Conjure One's second release Extraordinary Ways, is just that. Endless Dream, the opening track is sung by Jane (aka Poe). A dreamy, space-traveling tune, it is very pretty. Face the Music is a smooth pop song, very commercial and very well produced. Pilgrimage is an ethnic instrumental, it is epic. One Word could be a tribute to any well-known environmentalist or anti-war activist. It's ominous opening could be a horror film, however it quickly turns into a very sweetly sung homage to some unknown being. Extraordinary Way sung by Jane again has awesome lyrics and is one of the best tracks. Dying Light is a grand piece escalating into a percussion driven song, it is sung in another language and is peppered with electric space guitar. Into the Escape is another instrumental with some sparse vocals from Chemda. An introspective piece, it closes the album perfectly. It has a wonderful guitar solo just before it climaxes into a gorgeous explosion of guitar essence. This release is a tad more commercial than its predecessor.

Music of the Twins


Les Jumeaux's album Feathercut holds one of the greatest songs ever created -"Miracle Road". It is filled with many great pieces, but "Miracle Road" is the winner here. It is an incredibly lush and flowing composition, not too slow or fast, but danceable with heavenly female vocals in French and English. It is an introspective track, like exploring a dream or an ancient hall of silver stars. Other great tracks would be "Carroussella" & "Feathercut".

Greatly Varied


Craig Armstrong has composed some great pieces for this film, among these pieces are tracks by various other artists, some are great and some are not so great. Neneh Cherry's "Twisted Mess" is a great one, it is very somber though, but it flows beautifully with its lyrics and string arrangement. The best Armstrong pieces are the beginning track "Lissa", "Father & Son" and the end titles piece. The Massive Attack track "Angel" is also good along with Patsy Cline's track "Why Can't He Be You".

Scary Music

The score to James Cameron's Aliens is incredible, it sets a perfectly creepy and tense atmosphere in your room,boat,office,car or wherever you listen! Although, there are some tracks that are just intentionally atmospheric and quiet. Track 8 is the amazing sweat-inducing, heart pounding piece that is used in many trailers, although sometimes (in these trailers), it has been cheaply reworked. This is the only soundtrack I own by James Horner so I am not able to comment or compare it to his others. It is distinctly different but just as profound as Alien 3.

Chasing the Past


This recording has excellent production, but considering it was previously thought to be Dead Can Dance's final recording it is without a bang. The South American influenced songs are gorgeously composed and rich. Although I miss the large, bombastic orchestras from their past recordings such as WITHIN THE REALM OF A DYING SUN. But since they are Dead Can Dance, by default their recordings are always going to be good, some are just better than others.