The Old vs New EP was a project to document a number of Sleeping States
songs that appeared on previous releases, but have since evolved
through repeated performances into often rather different
representations of the songs themselves. The result addresses a dilemma
that I’ve encountered over the few years that I’ve been recording and
playing under the Sleeping States moniker, which was to bring together
the private and personal character of most of Sleeping States’ recorded
material, with the altogether more extrovert, ‘band’-oriented
interpretations of those songs when played live.
The idea of a ‘band’ is the focus of this record, therefore, with Robin Christian (drums) and Craig Gell (guitars/drums) making as much of a contribution to the performances of these songs as I did. Robin has been involved on a number of Sleeping States tours, while Craig has been a fundamental part of the live lineup since the first Sleeping States shows. For the EP, we bashed out each of the songs to tape with minimal overdubs to retain the sound and feel of the live show, transforming the original version of ‘Old vs New’ from somewhat of a lilting ballad into something more towards vigorously joyful pop-punk, while the overdubbed choir of Marklands on the original ‘A Trip to NYC’ was instead played through a vocal-sampler, with the original drum-machine replaced by both Robin and Craig playing separate parts of the drumkit. The lone cover on the EP, ‘Liberty Feelup’ (originally by the sorely missed Scottish band, Life Without Buildings), became a set staple on the last couple of Sleeping States tours and plays on the strengths of this simple line-up of two guitars and drums that we built to flesh out the songs live.
While it is of course impossible to fully convey a live show on record out of its context, the ‘Old vs New’ EP energetically captures (well, it was at least energetically performed) a large aspect of the music of Sleeping States that, until now, has only been heard by those who have seen Sleeping States live. Also, it just seemed a fun thing to do at the time, which is what it’s all about, right?
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