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UMBeats: SleepJumper will take you off your feet

Local+band%2C+SleepJumper%2C+visits+UMass+Boston+to+discuss+their+EP.+Photo+by+Olivia+Reid+%28She%2FHer%29%2F+Photography+Editor.%26%23160%3B

Local band, SleepJumper, visits UMass Boston to discuss their EP. Photo by Olivia Reid (She/Her)/ Photography Editor. 

There’s an EP out on all streaming platforms right now, and if anything, the name of the band sums up the type of music they’ve shared to the world. Don’t take it from me, take it from what they have to say. You know what the best part of it all is? The band hails from Beantown, more specifically Dorchester, and two members of the quintet are UMass Boston alumni!

SleepJumper released their EP “Wish You Were” November 14 of last year. With their compositions now out on an array of services and more music coming soon, they hope to get their name out in the world.

The five piece band consisting of singer Abbey Basile, bassist Steph Mellen, rhythm guitarist Brendan McCarthy, lead guitarist Tom Ciampoli and drummer Pat Gillespie—who, on the record, was wearing a turtleneck and spoke with a British accent occasionally—have a lot of high hopes for what’s in store. Although, the road to get to where they are now was quite a unique one. “We’d been playing music for like two years, and then we picked up Abbey through facebook, actually” Gillespie remarked. The name of the band, however, had already been established prior to the addition of Basile.

“It was ChatGPT,” McCarthy said, chuckling. Ciampoli soon followed suit with the real backstory of the name. “We were rehearsing and finishing up, and Pat was just like ‘alright, what about SleepJumper?’ We were like ‘Yeah, sure dude.’ […] For two years in a row, we were just like ‘no, no, yep, no’, and then we’d have a name for a month and be like ‘yeah, this is dumb’. […] You’ll find it on search engines though, you know what I mean? All you’d find are like babies jumping, and then just us.”

Mellen added his input on the cleverness of the name, too. “It’s certainly grown on me. Our music […] it goes back and forth. I feel like it’s dynamic, where some of it’s really soft, like ‘EP ‘09’ has really soft parts that just explode into… jumping *laughs*. And yeah, even ‘Project Parking Lot’ is one of those songs, too.”

When all was said and done, and the band found its new singer, it was time to begin the recording process. Mellen clarified, “we started in January, February (2022) when Abbey came on […] we had a lot of songs already written and we gave them to Abbey, and she wrote all the lyrics […] the first two songs on our EP were the first songs we ever gave Abbey, and she just wrote lyrics and we loved them […] the writing process went really smoothly.” The two songs Mellen was referring to were “Project Parking Lot” and “In a Cave.”

Ciampoli added context to the importance of Basile’s addition as a singer and songwriter, shedding light on the idea that “before you have a singer, the instruments […] don’t really know their identity yet, and then once you have a singer, you can finally form to fit.” Gillespie chimed in, “you can finally form context of the riffs.” On top of that, he added, “[SleepJumper] stockpiled songs […] we have between me, Brandon and Tom […] half written songs and songs that needed to be brought into the band room […] so we pretty much had the entire EP ready to go […] before we even met Abbey.”

As a result, “Wish You Were” had a quick turnaround time from writing to recording to its release November 14, 2022. Mellen mentioned how “[SleepJumper] recorded in June [2021] and we started writing in February; we gave [Basile] the demos and it came really quickly […] then it became months of promotion, and now we’re writing all the new stuff!”

SleepJumper’s new music is something a lot of their fanbase has been hoping for, according to the band. “We have a single called ‘Bleat’ […] coming up soon […] we’re hoping to do another single after that, and then probably do another EP,” Basile said excitedly. Mellen added, “We’re going to write an accompanying EP, so we can hopefully merge the two [EPs] and have what will be a full-length album. It’s like this part two of what we’ve already written. So much of what the first EP is is like a bit of a story. […] writing it, recording it and putting the placement of all the songs together is a bit of a concept, so we’re carrying that concept onto the next one.”

Regarding their live shows, “Bleat,” along with another song that will be released in the upcoming EP, have been played many times, so much so that fans have grown a huge liking to them and are awaiting their releases. Ciampoli claimed, “you could argue that ‘Bleat’ is only a single because people demanded to listen to it. They’d be like ‘where do we listen to it?’ […] a lot of people would be like ‘please, just put it out!’ so we just made it a single.” The band’s upcoming single sheds light on their versatility with their musical style, too.

“It’s a different song, too” Mellen said. He further explained that “So much of the EP is really tonally driven and kind of atmospheric in some parts, but ‘Bleat’ is kind of just a rock song. It’s heavy hitting; it’s heavy bass and drums and guitars everywhere […] it’s driving. Abbey has some cool stuff to say on it too […] so I think it’s gonna be a well-received song.” What separates “Bleat” from SleepJumper’s other discography is that its tuning is different. McCarthy noted how “Bleat” was tuned similar to “the classic tuning that ‘American Football’ used, but tuned down half a step” and because of that, “it sounds cool, it sounds lower […] and is pretty heavy.”

The band are also confident that the new single compliments Basile’s voice a lot as well. She recalled, “[SleepJumper] covered ‘Paramore’ for a bit […] and people will compare me to Hayley Williams but I think it’s because they just don’t know other female rock musicians because I don’t sound like her.” The band wanted to put it on the record that Basile is, in fact, not Hayley Williams.

As a group, SleepJumper takes their ideas in stride, and doesn’t think too much about the direction they are heading in musically. Gillespie made it known that “We don’t really limit ourselves in that way, where we’re like ‘hey, let’s focus on this tuning, or this vibe’ […] like right now, we’re working on [Ciampoli’s] song; this absolutely beautiful acoustic song. It’s a completely different vibe from anything we’re really doing, and you can expect the EP to still be a ‘part two.’ Obviously, we still write in that vein, but we definitely do make an effort to branch out into other feelings and ideas and evolve.”

Gillespie also brought upon the observation that “it’s hard to find an identity in the musical landscape, so I think what we’re trying to do is make our own identity and forge our own landscape and idea of how we wanna go about music and break that mold a little bit.”

With the path they are actively trying to pave in music, SleepJumper’s themes tackle different topics in “Wish You Were,” with a whole lot of emotion. Basile said, “with ‘Wish You Were,’ it’s kind of cohesive. I think there are definitely themes of nostalgia […] I don’t go into writing the lyrics of the songs trying to get anything across, but before we put anything out, we make sure we’re happy with what we’re putting out.”

Gillespie followed up, “If anything, though, I think what we try to convey in our music is extreme emotionality […] it’s definitely reflected in our music that we write deeply emotional music; it’s not really a message that we try to get across so much as opening ourselves to the bare essence to give people a glimpse of what’s going on.” Mellen described the music as “very vulnerable in a positive way” when alluding to Gillespies’ reflection.

Some of the things  SleepJumper anticipates most are their upcoming shows, not to mention their eagerness to see where their music will take them in the future. Mellen emphasized that “We really want people to recognize us. If we were playing a show, we’d like for people to say ‘hey, SleepJumper is playing, we want to play there.’ […] right now, it’s still young […] we’re just trying to get a little more influence […] to a point where this is something that’s more than just what we do […] if we could do this, it would be the best thing in the world.”

McCarthy followed up with his own viewpoint: “It definitely feels like an escape right now because we all work, we all have jobs and music is definitely a part of our lives […] you can tell that, on stage, we all smile and laugh and jump around and love when people come out […] even if nothing ever comes of it, it’s great memories and it’s great times.”

Mellen gave his input on the matter too, and his thoughts resonated with every band member in the room. “This will always be worth it; even if we were to drop off the face of the Earth tomorrow and ‘Wish You Were’ still existed, I’d be happy to show my kids one day. I love that album, and we are all very proud of it.”

Gillespies’ perspective was also an eye opener regarding his feelings toward being part of the band. “We met the first person to ever seek us out; they saw we were playing and came out to one of our shows because they had seen us another night. And that was an incredible feeling too […] it’s great to make this music and get our release and everything, but to know that someone else can identify with it too […] that’s a whole other feeling entirely.”

SleepJumper’s melodic, catchy riffs and positive reviews of their unreleased songs make their EP worth listening to, as well as their upcoming shows and song releases you don’t want to miss. With shows coming up at the Silhouette in Allston April 23 and later this year in August, as well as an upcoming show May 8 at O’Brien’s pub in Allston, there are more than enough opportunities to see what this band has to offer.

You can follow SleepJumper on Instagram @SleepJumperband, as well as @SleepJumper on YouTube, and if you haven’t already, check out their music on Apple Music and Spotify (1,2,3,4). SleepJumper has a lot to look forward to, and with new releases coming and branches in music extending, they’re only going to jump to new heights.

  1. https://open.spotify.com/artist/5vBjKmYyHQ6DbtEA80GVd7

  2. https://music.apple.com/us/artist/sleepjumper/1652248792

  3. https://www.instagram.com/sleepjumperband/?hl=en

  4. https://www.youtube.com/@sleepjumperband

About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor