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|Written by Innika La Fontaine|
|Monday, 15 February 2010 00:00|
You hear it all the time: musicians assuring any listening ears that they're only in the industry "for the love of music, man." After some time, their music shifts from alternative to mainstream. Their lust for music becomes a lust for screaming fans, and often this shift sees them give up on why they got into playing music in the first place.
Four-member music collective Broad Way Sleep is taking steps to ensure they stay true to their word. Calling themselves a collective instead of a band was their first.
"I wasn't interested in putting a formal band together, because I've done that in the past and it hasn't worked for me," lead songwriter and producer Ralph Joseph says. Instead, he asked some musicians he admires -- Alexander The (of Styrofoam Ones), Robert Bolton (of Times Neue Roman) and Sarah Shafey -- to collaborate on an informal music production.
"The focus is on song writing. It's always been my interest in music since I was a kid. I've never been attracted to the whole going out on tour thing, it's always been more about being in the studio and writing music."
The result of the collaboration is a self-titled debut album that drifts between blues and soul, ska, rap and electropop as quickly as a scene in your dream shifts from meeting your hero to falling off a cliff. But the album's juxtaposition doesn't jolt your consciousness, it eases you deeper into a state of pure mental vacation.
The collective began about a year ago as an outlet for talented artists to come together and make music, Ralph says. And in the case of Broad Way Sleep, too many cooks in the kitchen didn't spoil the broth; it made the broth better.
"I came in with the music for Sound The Alarm, the second song on the album, and it had more of a rock, or alternative rock feel. Then Sarah brought to it this soulful, funky element which is more aligned with her interests," Joseph explains. "When you bring in this collaboration everyone brings something to the table and that's why the album is all over the musical map. There are all of these genre-hopping ideas happening because there are these diverse personalities coming together."
Joseph likens the album to the trip down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.
"I'm fascinated with sleep and that's why the emphasis is on sleep with Broad Way Sleep -- partly because I don't get enough sleep," Joseph laughs. "When you're dreaming you have this internal cerebral DJ mixing your memories together into a dream, and I felt like this was happening with the music. It's unexpected and you don't know where it's going to take you."
To keep the focus on Broad Way Sleeps music and off celebrity, the collective also choose to keep their appearances veiled in a curtain of mystique.
Promotional photos reveal only smokescreen profiles of four individuals dapperly dressed in 1920s-style attire. They will only play some select dates in spring 2010, Joseph says. Even then, he hints, they will keep an ambiguous aesthetic -- but he is careful not to give away any fine details.
For now, Broad Way Sleep will focus on quietly promoting their latest release. But they're already planning their future and inviting new artists with diverse musical palettes to collaborate in the future.
"I would love in five years to be a global collective working with other musicians," Joseph says. "The reason I set up this idea of a collective is that there is no set rules. If the members want to come together and we play some select dates then that is what's going to happen. In the meantime, we'll focus on the music and writing songs, and trying to do some cool and innovative stuff in the industry."
Broad Way Sleep is available on iTunes, Rhapsody and Amazon.
No Sleeper here
When I first had the pleasure of listening to Broadway Sleep, I instantly became hypnotized with their music. "Too Late" has now become an anthem at our house and we have shared this music with all of our friends, it is that good. When a collection of musicians come together to create something, it is usually special, but when a group of super-talented musicians, each with their own unique style comes to the table, then you end up with a diverse, one of a kind sound that is refreshingly different. Their music is smooth, relaxing and upbeat all at the same time. What are you in the mood for? I bet Broadway Sleep can fill that need and much more. I just "woke up" but I need more "Sleep"...