Week in Pop: Inspired & the Sleep, WEEED, Work Drugs

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Inspired & the Sleep

Introducing San Diego's Inspired and the Sleep; photographed by Chris Laughter.
Introducing San Diego’s Inspired and the Sleep; photographed by Chris Laughter.

On the heels of last year’s Eyelid Kid release, Max Greenhalgh & Bryce Outcault of Inspired & the Sleep announced the new release AVO and presented us with the world premiere for their new single “Polaroid Season”. Alluding to the photographic format that is able to capture images taken from moments depicted as frozen in time, Max from the group described “Polaroid Season” as “a song that’s all about looking at your life from a third party view as if through a photograph.” Like observing current day happenings & events as if they were some sort of Fellini-esque extravaganza ripped from the theater of the absurd; the carnival of life is presented in a brilliant array of action that breathes ecstatic senses of life with every chord & exhibited musical note.
“Polaroid Season” makes every frame worthy of a thousand snapshots as Inspired & the Sleep brings a bouquet of big bright hooks that makes every instance feel worth of being a portrait unto itself. One can easily imagine the visualization version for the “Polaroid Season” as being a series of photographs strewn across the screen as a collection of sequences that depict scenes & gatherings as they naturally occur. Everything from hedonism to medical procedures gallivant before your ears & mind in a cavalcade of controlled chaos where the ups & downs of life observed spill out like a panning view of a character parade/processional. “Polaroid Season” is an exhibition of all the good, the bad, the ecstatic, the dark, the light, the joyous, the depressing & more that collects together in a chorus of events & items that march to their own rhythms & rhymes in a microcosm of the life that only Max & Bryce can fully relate & relay. Read our insightful interview with Max featured after the following debut:

Give us insides stories, insights & gossip about the process of making Eyelid Kid to the gradual jump to making AVO.
For starts AVO is much different than Eyelid Kid because I got to go back to my roots of handling all the mixing/production. We did the drum tracks at studios and some vocal bits, but for the most part everything was completed in my bedroom. Eyelid Kid was a bit more of a band effort in which we completed over some studio sessions working with our favorite San Diego engineer Andy Walsh. AVO is little scatter-brained and all over the place, but it’s 100% me I’d say. There’s also a brighter sound to this EP, Eyelid Kid was that rather dark sad boi stuff.
Tell us too about the inspirations behind the out of body observances of “Polaroid Season” that concerns itself with seeing life from another view, as if it was a photographed portrait of your existence as observed by from an outside point of view, and how these ideas came about & how did you two ultimately lend this concept into song?
Well I think there’s a sort of emotional neutrality when viewing your life from an external perspective. I feel like when you’re constantly viewing your life as the person whose living it, it creates room for all these positive and negative emotions and evaluations. I would say lyrically the the verses are very personal and emotional, while the choruses are me taking a step back and just thinking about how my friends and I are growing into adults with all these changes and yet we feel the same. The second verse is talking about dealing with personal anxiety and being all woe-is-me, but on the other hand its about having this friend who was going through brain surgery for lymphoma. Those sorts of observation really makes you reassess your circumstances. Also quite a bit of missing my ex on that last verse, haha. Definitely a bit of rambling here, but that’s my summarization of how this song came to be.
Catching up with Inspired and the Sleep; photographed by Chris Laughter.
Catching up with Inspired and the Sleep; photographed by Chris Laughter.

I’m really interesting into hearing about the synergistic creative dynamic between you two, like how do you two approach the developmental process of making these really big hook heavy tracks that abide by some really interesting, and at times also very intricate arrangements, that always please & surprise around each corner. How do two of you construct these orchestrated, electrified songs?
Well it usually starts with me spending days by myself arranging these demos until I get just way too lonely to go on, so Bryce comes over to track some parts. We have other people help here and there, we’ve had like a dozen live members, but Bryce and I have been in Inspired for the long haul. The big hook thing comes from the live show, we have a knack for dynamic choruses and ba da das—its kinda a joke with our friends—with the live band so it just made sense on record. It seems like nowadays I can’t not right a pop song so there’s always gonna be a hook in there. But I’m also a fan of musicianship and finding interesting alternatives within the framework. Maybe that’s just us being super indie [laughs]
Interesting developments happening in the San Diego circuits worthy of mention?
Well I just moved actually! I live in East LA (specifically Highland Park) as of a few weeks ago. But it seems as though I’m playing SD more now then when I used to live there. Bryce and Crew are still their holding down the fort too. The San Diego music scene is rad and I have so many friends in amazing projects down there. So whenever we play there, the entire crew is out to get into some trouble! Our next show is at Belly Up March 22 and its gonna be a friggin banger.
Inspirations from Inspired and the Sleep; photographed by Chris Laughter.
Inspirations from Inspired and the Sleep; photographed by Chris Laughter.

Local artists that are doing some pretty rad things that everybody outside of San Diego should be talking constantly about?
Yes tons of friends in stellar bands. North County San Diego’s finest would be this folk band Trouble In The Wind. I know all of their lyrics by heart, I’m a fan boy for sure. My buddy Jerik, who is a wonderful engineer, has a band called Small Culture, we share frittatas from time to time. These kids have a band called Cosmics that’s like this DIY sad girl band from heaven, those kids are gonna go places. Sights and Sages are this new indie rock that is insanely ballsy and tight, we’re playing with them in a few weeks at Belly Up. Aviator Stash is also on that bill those music nerds have oodles of talent. Word on the street is that Sean White kinda looks like the lead singer [laughs].
Best & most inspiring things on the horizon right now for you, family, friends & all?
We’ll being a small town country boy in the big city is all sorts of inspiring. I’m looking to start playing live more with all my projects more now that I’m up in LA. I’m also sitting on like two albums of unreleased material that I’m looking forward to getting out into the world this year. That’s exciting and scary. My brother finally got a girlfriend now, and that’s like a big deal for him [laughs]. Bryce is splitting for Bali in a few weeks to go surf and pug some brews. And I’m gonna go lose my mind in Austin next week for SXSW! So yeah, um, tons of inspiring things.
Currently some of the most important causes that folks can get involved with right now?
I was taking a yoga class the other day and at the end of the class the teacher emphasized how important community is, especially in these troubling times. So I will say I think the concept of humans looking after humans is something that everyone should take part in.
Inspired and the Sleep’s new release AVO will be available TBD.
Catch Inspired and the Sleep’s Max at SxSW playing a few solo sets:
14 at 6pm at The Buffalo Room (acoustic stage) @ The Thirsty Nickel
15 at 6pm @ The SanJac Saloon Upstairs (Acoustic Stage)
Inspired & the Sleep’s next full band live show will take place March 22 in San Diego at Belly Up.