eGigs talks to The Sleeping Souls

Ben Lloyd, and Matt Nasir on Tuesday 29 November 2011

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eGigs managed to bag the first interview with two of The Sleeping Souls, Frank Turner's band band, ahead of their Birmingham show at the O2 Academy. The Sleeping Souls are Ben Lloyd who plays guitar, harmonica, and mandolin and Matt Nasir who plays on piano, organ, and provides backing vocals. The band is completed by Tarrant Anderson on bass, and drummer Nigel Powell.

Hello guys, my name's Megan.
Matt: Hi Megan, I'm Matt
Ben: and I'm Ben

Lovely to meet you both. I'll tell you both now, this is my first interview so go easy on me OK?
Matt: This is actually the first interview The Sleeping Souls has actually done so don't worry, we're in the same boat.

That's good to hear, in that case I fell very privileged. So shall we make a start? I'd firstly like to check, are you both in another band, Dive Dive?
Matt: Ben is, I'm not unfortunately, I wish I was but they don't need a keyboard player. I did used to be in a band called The Pressure Room though but not anymore.

I'm sorry to hear that.
Matt: It's alright, I don't mind.

Okay, so first question, where has been your favourite place that you have performed at with Frank?
Ben: Well we've played most of his gigs with him this year... I really liked Atlanta.
Matt: Yeah, Atlanta Georgia was great - amazing crowd.

What makes the audience so different over there compared to us in England?
Matt: Well it's a different stage isn't it, although in the US it's not as big as tonight is going to be, they all seem very rowdy and very up for it.
Ben: They are also more familiar with the newer stuff, not said that they aren't here but they're just not as familiar with the older stuff. So they get much more excited about the newer stuff, whereas if we try to play older stuff they sort of sit back. But here they go "arrrghhh!"

Haha, so you've told us about your favourite gig, but what is your worst experience at a gig?
Ben: Maybe Virginia? (laughs)
Matt: We played Virginia in Canada recently and they were... most of them were fine, kind of girls punching boys, girls punching each other and then two guys jumped on stage. One of them grabbed my tambourine off the keyboard, so I ripped the tambourine out of his hand, punched him with it, swore at his mates so violently that his mate ran off the stage.
Ben: But at the end of the night you were best mates.
Matt: Yeah, he came up to me and apologised profusely and I said look, if I ran into your workplace and pick up what you use to do your job then you can tell me to 'f**k off' is what I said, but he was fine at the end, he apologised profusely and begged us to come back to Virginia.

So how exactly did you all come together from different bands, different cities to eventually form The Sleeping Souls?
Ben: With Dive Dive, we've been playing for quite a while, and we met Frank just as Million Dead were just falling apart. He didn't want to be sitting in a flat on his own being miserable because his band was falling apart, so he did a merge for a band called Reuben who we were touring with, Dive Dive. He said "I've got some songs I want to record them", we said, "we've the recording set up" and then he said, "Ooh, you can play on it too" and we said yes and that was... Five years ago?
Matt: the drummer of The Sleeping Souls, and Dive Dive - Nigel Powell, I met him at a poker match... It wasn't really a poker match it was having dinner and then turned into a poker game at a mutual friends house, and he invited me to audition for Andy Yorke who was doing some solo stuff at the time and supporting Frank. So then Frank approached me from Andy I think, and here we are.

The Sleeping Souls, who came up with the name?
Ben: Frank technically
Matt: It's a lyric from I Am Disappeared, 'the sleeping souls of the country' and we were in the studio and I said, "that's a good band name" so we listed a lot of band names and that was still the best one.

How would you describe your kind of music?
Ben: We have a couple of soft songs from each record but I suppose generally more like Million Dead would you say thats fair to say?
Matt: Yeah definitely. You know, it's good for me before I joined playing with Frank I was a Frank fan and a Dive Dive fan, in fact last year's UK tour was great because Dive Dive were opening, it was a good night.

What do you miss most from being away for so long?
Ben: I miss my bed, really miss it... and my own mattress... and being able to sleep and it being quiet. Because a bus is like being on a ship, and you've got your sort of bunks, it's very much like being in cabins on ferries and there's this constant sort of "zzzz", sort of like the engine, the tyres and the road and so you get home and it's just quiet, just amazing.
Matt: Certain people seem to think because you've got a little curtain on your bunk that it's like a sound proof booth that no one can hear you... like our lighting director this morning, "'ello mate!" It scared the life out of me and he was about this far away from my head.

Oh dear. How many people sleep in the same bus?
Matt: 11 I think.

A lot of fun though?
Ben: Not a lot of room for fun though
Matt: No, I like it, it's like camping, I love it.

OK, so what is your favourite song to play?
Ben: One Foot Before The Other... or is it after?
Matt: Before. Ermm... Probably I Am Disappeared.

Who would you say is the most confident out of The Sleeping Souls?
Matt: You mean who runs out on stage? That would be our drummer Nigel Powell. Yeah, you'll see tonight, he's always doing something comical on stage.

Entertaining though?
Ben: Is it? Or is it like watching your Uncle dance at a wedding? (laughs)
Matt: Yeah he runs around and does crazy things.

Sounds like were in for a treat tonight! Looks like we are out of time but thank you very taking the time out to come and speak with us today, look forward to the gig later tonight.

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article by: Megan Knight

photos by: Elle Rigby

published: 29/11/2011 08:17