The long version in first person

I started Sleeping States in 2004, or maybe the end of 2003, some time after moving to London. It was a slow beginning as I was looking for other things to do, other bands perhaps, something loud to play guitar in. But I had been building a collection of quieter songs from messing around on my Tascam cassette four-track recorder on evenings after work and they seemed to work much better than the noisier bits and pieces I had recorded on the four-track so I figured they might be worth working on a bit more. I’d never really written any songs all on my own before though so it was a while before I had the courage to play them to people. Anyway, tentative gigs started occurring every now and then, helped out at first by my old friend Stuart on guitar, and then with Craig, who continued to play guitar at Sleeping States shows for several years.

Towards the end of 2004 I self-released a CD-R album called Distances Are Great, which contained songs I’d written that spring and summer – self-released as a) I had no idea how to meet or contact any body else, label or otherwise, who might want to put it out and b) the idea of waiting more than a couple weeks to release an album after I’d finished recording it, let alone months, seemed ludicrous to me, especially when all I cared about was handing it to friends. That was quickly followed by two EPs, one put out by the awesome and much-missed (by me at least) music collective Homocrime, and another self-released again, though this time on cassette.

A steady stream of gigs, tours (expanding and contracting the live band over time) and records of varying formats and sizes happened over the next few years and I played with a ton of great bands in that time (which is a major part of doing this right?) including Blonde Redhead, Electrelane, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Pants Yell!, M. Ward, David Grubbs and so on. In 2006 I put out a 7″ single called ‘Rivers’ and in 2007 I put out a second album, There The Open Spaces, which got a worldwide release thanks to three labels, Tome, Misra and EtchnSketch. I also did a coast-to-coast-to-coast US tour when the album came out, recruiting two musicians from Portland, OR, USA, Ashod and Dana – holing up in a basement with them for a week to learn the songs, and then hitting the road for six weeks.

The songs themselves have veered all over the place. I have a short attention span and get bored doing the same thing over. But I think there’s continuity there, if only just a minor 7th.

I moved to Bristol in 2008 and put together a new album over the winter of 2009, helped along with Rose on drums. The album was called In the Gardens of the North and came out in August 2009, with some touring in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe and the US East Coast over the course of the following year, sometimes with a full band, sometimes on my own, quite often me and Liz on guitar and percussion. The most recent thing I released was a cassette EP of two improvisations recorded for Rhiannon Chaloner as a partial soundtrack to an art performance she executed called Kayfabe Juncture, which was performed at the Arnolfini in Bristol in 2010.

Since 2011 my time with Sleeping States has been minimal, although I’ve played with different musicians in various guises since then.