This week’s featured Meet The Band artist is Sleepless. Their full-length debut is Host Desecration. Band founder/guitarist/bassist Eric Sexton-Dorsett introduces us to Sleepless.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Sleepless.
Eric Sexton-Dorsett: Sleepless formed out of a period of depression and anxiety in my personal life. Eric (Detablan), our drummer, and I started writing music and decided to put this darker energy to use and ultimately create something powerfully positive! We decided to ask our close friend Kevin (Hahn) to be a part of it as he has a hugely diverse background in music and we’ve known each other for over 35 years. Basically the idea was to have a traditional metal band with an eclectic feel and no real limits in terms of musical direction, so long as it’s dark and heavy!!
Describe the songwriting process for Host Desecration.
The songwriting process has been a blast! It started with me bringing riffs to Eric and us hammering them out and bringing them to Kevin. Later in the process Kevin and I started writing together on guitars and then bringing the parts to Eric and rehearsing with drums. I write all the lyrics so Kevin just has to decide which music best fits the lyrical feel and we go from there. It’s been super fun and very inspiring to do this record. The band chemistry is strong and gets better by the day!
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
For me personally the strongest memory of this album will be that this is the first time I’ve been able to truly express my musical feelings and passion in their fullest. I’ve still got plenty of craziness rolling around in my head and look forward to the next of many albums to come, but this one means a lot to me as I have always been a part of one specific style or another and now I am allowing myself the flexibility to write without limits.
How did the pandemic affect the process?
The pandemic basically catapulted this band into existence! We had a lot of downtime and there was a general depressive feeling in the air which only led to more darkened thoughts and in someway lent to the creative process.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Characterizing the albums style is an interesting question. I’m sure if you asked 10 different people to characterize the sound they would give 10 almost completely different answers at least in certain aspects. We’ve been called progressive and we’ve been called Metal 2.0! When people get it, it makes me feel very proud. If they don’t, I think they will eventually. I feel that the music is traditional metal with a thrash/death metal background and an underlying tone of dark melody. It is interesting having been involved in metal for so long that we end up hearing comparisons to bands that we’ve never even heard before. Particularly newer bands when realistically I’m still stuck on the first couple Voivod albums!
What lyrical topics do you cover?
I have a degree in history and a specialization in religious history. Much of the lyrical topics cover horrific events throughout the world that were perpetrated by religion and primarily Christianity. Sometimes we mask it in horror. Like the song “Blood Libel,” for example. It’s meant to be a sort of Nosferatu type vehicle to talk about the teaching that Jews use the blood of Christians to gain power and to have healthy childbirth. This teaching was only formally removed from Christian churches about 100 years ago but the same sort of irrational thought continues, unfortunately.
How did you come to sign with Metal Warrior Records?
Mario from Metal Warrior Records contacted me shortly after NWOTM full albums YouTube channel streamed our EP. He is seriously passionate about metal and we are stoked to be working with them!
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
My goals and expectations for the album are pretty simple. I really want to get this thing in the hands of as many people as possible. It is my/our art and we would love nothing more than to share it with as many people as possible.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
As far as shows and tours go, I would love to do a few weeks in Europe! I played all the bass on the album in addition to rhythm guitars and Kevin played the solos so we will need a bassist and lead guitarist for any touring but already have a full set list worked out so it shouldn’t be too hard to get that going once the album has been released for a bit. I’m excited as hell to get back on the stage, I’ll tell you that much!
How did you get started in music?
I bought my first bass on a layaway plan when I was 14 and once I had it paid off my friend and I wrote our first song called “Trapped In Chains.” (laughs) From there I just played as much metal as possible until I discovered punk, then my amazing brother/friend Eric and I started playing in a punk band called Protest around ’86. In ’87 we were called by the guys who were starting the band Dead Conspiracy and entered the very early world of death metal. Our 1987 demo has been re-released about four times now! That band is still in existence but is in temporary hiatus.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
I know I mentioned Voivod earlier, but truly to this day, Piggy from Voivod, Mike from Destruction and Denner/Sherman of Mercyful Fate as well as everything that Judas Priest did in the early days has been a massive influence on me. When we do some odd chord structures in Sleepless that’s where we will get compared to newer bands that I am not familiar with. When I hear dissonant chord structures, all I hear is Piggy written all over them! He was the fucking man! Feel, texture, technicality. He had it all!
What was your first band, and what type of music did you play?
My first band was called Tyrant and had the aforementioned song “Trapped In Chains” as our main original! We were 14 and 15 years old and just wanted to be metal dudes. It was a blast! I had that first bass, no case and plugged it into a stereo. My guitar player/singer had a knock off Gibson guitar and a $20 amplifier. It was magic!
What was the first metal concert you attended?
My first concert was The Police on the Ghost In The Machine tour and my second concert, which was my first metal concert, was iron maiden on the Peace Of Mind tour. I remember being in eighth grade and bringing the concert brochure home a after the show to my mom, so excited to show her the pictures of Eddy and the band and tell her all the details of how amazing they are!
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Aside from my family I pretty much live for music but I have a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jujitsu. I also own a vintage comic book business and travel around the country to comic cons where coincidentally, I meet tons of amazing metalheads!
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Not much to add except to thank you guys so much for the interview and your interest in the band! I hope that people will give the album a spin and if they dig it, write us an email or hit us up on Instagram and let us know what you think. I’m already close to halfway finished writing the guitar parts for the next album!! The creative process has never been more fun and I’m stoked to keep crushing! Horns up, crosses down!
(interview published April 16, 2022)