Up all night

The Sleepless Nights are hoping to make your dreams a little more melodic this winter

Sleepless Nights say they don’t remember their last Kingston gig.
Sleepless Nights say they don’t remember their last Kingston gig.

When I first heard murmurs of East Coast rockers Sleepless Nights releasing three EPs for free, I figured the news was too good to be true. Luckily, the complementary EPs are far from fictional and the latest one is making its way to the masses through web browsers, blogs and amps everywhere.

After a high member rotation over the years, keyboardist Jeff Pineau, bassist and vocalist Trevor Murphy, drummer Josh Pothier and guitarist Philip Clark have found a home in the current incarnation of Sleepless Nights. Hailing from Nova Scotia, lead singer Aaron Wallace told me the formation of the band as they play now was a natural one.

“The rhythm section and I all went to the same high school,” Wallace said. “We’re from the same town and we’ve known each other for a long long time.”

The guys have come a long way since high school. Each member boasts involvement in multiple side projects like The Establishment, The Internet and Mass For Shut-Ins. With morphing members over the years, the band’s sound has inevitably changed.

“The band used to be a lot different,” Wallace said. “We were very slow and quiet, which is pretty much the antithesis of what we are right now.”

After listening to Sleepless Nights’ latest release The Phone Booth Outside the Video Store, I couldn’t agree more. Synth-heavy and guitar-driven, the four song EP takes the group in new directions. They’ve clearly evolved from their previously dreamy and ambient tunes and have solidified a sound heard on their first complimentary release, King Diamond.

Their aggressive sound might be surprising for listeners expecting grooves to match the band’s sleepy moniker; there are no lullabies to be found on The Phone Booth Outside the Video Store. Although Wallace confirmed a band member suffers from the inspiring and infuriating sleep disorder called insomnia, the group’s name isn’t a result of it.

“I was looking for a name that suited us, we had a show coming up and no name,” Walace said. “I was thinking about it and the name caught my eye off a record leaning up against my TV… I’m pretty sure it was Emmylou Harris’s second record.”

The quirky and intriguing titles the band uses for themselves and their EPs seem to reflect Wallace’s fun and lively philosophy on both music and life.

“To be honest it’s mostly just me messing with people,” he said. “The first title came from the band King Diamond who have a song called ‘Sleepless Nights.’

“So if you look on YouTube or Google or whatever you’ll get a toss-up between our EP and that song.”

Fun and games aside, Wallace’s passion is clear. On their website the band sums up their commitment to their tunes with six concise words: “Sleepless Nights live to write music.”

The group’s loyalty is clear; not only in their love for music, but in their savvy methods of distributing their tracks online. Wallace said the decision to release their tunes free of charge was an easy one.

“We have an entire other album ready as well,” he said. “But we can’t just expect people to run out and buy a million different records, so it just made sense to give them to people.”

The strategy has worked for the band thus far. The guys are taking their new material beyond the realms of the Internet with a tour of Canada’s central and eastern provinces.

“Tonight is going to be our first show outside of the Maritimes. It’s been really good so far,” Wallace said.

As for their gig in Kingston, Wallace’s hopes are humble.

“I hope that a lot of people come, have fun and that nothing blows up.”

Sleepless Nights play The Mansion tomorrow with the Dan Curtis band and Hamilton Trading Co. at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.

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