Crowd Control Q&A | Sleepy Zuhoski
1. Your music is idiosyncratic, yet also extremely approachable. How do you straddle the line creatively between making something with mass appeal while still giving it an authentic twist of flavor?
I think there are two sides to my music: writing and performing. When I write songs, I'm usually just playing with something. Whether I have someone's banjo, or just some sequencing software, I'm really just trying to keep myself entertained by putting something together. The only person who I'm trying to impress is myself. But when I'm performing, I like to keep it simple, and just play a guitar and sing. So I may have some noisy almost unlistenable song, and I need to make it something nice to sing and listen to. I think that's what you're asking?
2. How has your relationship with Salim Nourallah and Palo Santo Records altered your course as an artist?
Well, I was scooped up from an open mic night and got a record deal, and marketing. That's really cool to me. I have a ton of followers on social, vinyl records, and music on spotify. Before this, I was just making noisy lo-fi stuff on soundcloud. I guess in some ways I'm trying to be more professional now, and my perception of what I can achieve and how to get there is a little more clear than before.
3. Your debut album, Better Haze, came out last year — what was one of the most memorable aspects of recording the album?
That whole situation was a dream come true. So many things come to mind, like stringing cables all over the studio to try to pick up and record AM radio signals, playing with an old organ drum machine, getting my friends to come in and play some stuff, getting drunk and making Salim listen to Spanish pop music. I don't know, it was all very fun.
4. One our favorite songs on the album is "On a Cloud" – can you tell us a little bit about the story and inspiration behind the song?
I had just gotten a loopstation, and was trying to write a song with a really long loop. The idea was that it would be the first verse and chorus, then it would repeat. That's why the instrumentation changes halfway through the song. The second half was supposed to layer over the first half and make the guitar part more rich. I stopped playing it with the loopstation, but kept the two distinctive parts because they helped break the song up. That's also why the drums move so quickly under the song, it's really got a slow flow to it. Lyrically, it's just about heartbreak and moodswings.
5. On the surface, Dallas is sometimes seen as a city full of Americana artists, but those who spend more time in the music community know there is a rich representation of all genres from indie to hip hop to electronic music. How would you describe your musical experience as an indie artist in Dallas?
I think it's a lot like the neighborhoods in Dallas. You have little pockets all over the area with totally different flavors. I would say most of my favorite artists from Dallas are doing more or less completely different things than I am.
6. What is one unaccomplished goal you have as an artist that you would like to achieve in the future?
I'd really like to make a great "album album" like Dark Side of the Moon or something.