INTRO BY TIFFANY ARUNARSIRAKUL
INTERVIEW BY CAMI LIBERTY
With their latest single, “Awkward,” Sleep State is a upbeat rock band from Orange County. The band was founded back in 2013 with Troy Ritchie (guitar/lead vocals) and Michael Haua (keyboard/vocals). Soon enough, the duo became a trio with drummer Parker Jackson. Sleep State is currently growing their fan base on the daily, and their music is found featured on KCRW, MTV’s Teen Mom 2, ABC’s Nashville, and CBS’s Bull.
How/when did you all first come together to create the band?
"Michael (keyboardist) and Troy (vocalist/guitarist) met in a beginning guitar class senior year of high school. They began collaborating under an assortment of band names and lineup changes. Eventually establishing Sleep State, they fine-tuned the sound and steered the project in a more electronic direction. In 2013, Troy and Michael began performing at local restaurants, bars, and small venues as a duo. After a gig the following year, the two were approached by Parker Jackson (drums) who expressed interest in collaborating. It didn’t take long before Sleep State traded in a drum machine for live percussion, and the duo grew into a trio. With an official lineup established, the band set out to find a producer who would resonate with their vibe and vision. They found one in Adrian Alvarado, known for his work with Act As If and Secrets."
In your own words, how would you describe your music?
"Motown inspired vocals, melodies, and bass/guitar riffs, accompanied by modern production and synthesizers. Our songs have an upbeat and danceable vibe, with lyrics that cover a wide range of topics from social anxiety to foxy ladies."
You recently released your new single "Awkward." Can you tell us a little about the song and the inspiration behind it?
“'Awkward' is a single that evokes the sense of social anxiety that largely characterized my (Troy) experience in high school. Primarily about a girl whom I, admittedly, don't know very well but nonetheless place on a pedestal, the lyrics are relatable to anyone who recalls adolescence as a time of petty drama or isolation. While derived from real-life experiences, the girl in “Awkward” symbolizes a phase in my development as a person, rather than representing any one person or relationship. I utilize hyperbole with stark realism to demonstrate how the smallest blunder was cause for enormous embarrassment. The track reaches its climax with a watershed moment that sees me come to the epiphany that adhering to social pressures or overly concerning oneself with the opinions of other is not only exhausting, but also a counterproductive waste of time and energy. I hope listeners take the song as an invitation to liberate themselves from the shackles of self-consciousness and the unhealthy focus our society puts on the individual to be popular or like-able."
Within the last two years, your songs have been heard on ABC’s Nashville, MTV’s Teen Mom 2, CBS’s Bull, and more. How did it feel when you found out your songs had reached this amount of success?
"It felt surreal to hear our music play on such popular television shows. That was definitely the first time any of us had ever watched Teen Mom, but we found ourselves surprisingly entertained. We almost got sucked into the reality T.V. trap...almost."
You also will soon be releasing another single entitled "Disco Destiny." What can you tell us about this song and what we can expect from it?
"'Disco Destiny' is a song that was inspired by a moment when an old roommate and I (Troy) were trying to put up a Disco ball in our old place. We were determined to set up this thing and keep it on all day. After a fair amount of trial and error, we finally found this chandelier hook that was perfect for our dance floor wonder. Right when we got the ball turning, we had Bee Gees blaring and I proclaimed, 'We got a date with Disco Destiny.' The song is a very funky, dance vibe that isn't truly a Disco song, but still has been getting the crowd moving at our shows. We're really excited to share our appreciation for the funk bands of the past."
Aside from "Disco Destiny," is there anything else that we can expect from you in the near future?
"Aside from 'Awkward' and 'Disco Destiny,' we plan to release a number of singles in 2018. We have an arsenal of songs that we are very proud of and can’t wait to share. At this point, it’s a matter of laying them down in the studio and finalizing production. We’re aiming to book multiple live sessions and shows in southern California to support each release."