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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sleeping Bag's swift rise to power

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 8:50 AM

promo_sleepingbag1_low_res.jpg

The band Sleeping Bag is only about 18 months old, having been formed in Bloomington in Spring 2010 by drummer and lead singer Dave Segedy. In that short time, however, they’ve already cut a self-titled, debut album with Indy-based Joyful Noise Records (released Aug. 9), and are currently wrapping up a 16-day tour with Indy one-man-band DMA that will culminate with shows in Indianapolis (Friday at White Rabbit) and Bloomington (Saturday at The Bishop).

On top of that, national media is jumping on board, notably the Village Voice's Maura Johnston, who had high praise for the band's new record prior to their appearance at NYC's Cake Shop: "One of my favorite debut efforts of the year is the self-titled album by Sleeping Bag...who craft hooky, low-end-heavy rock that sounds like it could have been lifted off a 7-inch originally purchased in 1994."

Sleeping Bag grew out of a solo project launched by Segedy, who has played with a number of Bloomington and Indy-based bands (Prayer Breakfast, Arrah and the Ferns). After coming up with what he referred to as roughly two album’s worth of material and then recording a demo, he brought aboard Lewis Rogers on guitar and David Woodruff on bass to work on turning that material into a proper album.

The three guys ended up producing an album that hearkens back to the golden days of alternative. At times Sleeping Bag recalls Weezer, Pavement, and other influential bands from the era. There’s a distinct tone of teenaged apathy to Segedy's vocals, but that doesn't mean the songs lack energy; in fact, quite the opposite.

We caught up with Segedy (just three days before his 24th birthday) last week as the band was on its way to a gig in Savannah, Ga.

NUVO: How would you describe your sound?

Dave Segedy: I can’t say I disagree with people that say we’re 90s influenced. Pavement is one of my favorite bands. But when I wrote the songs it wasn’t like I was trying to sound like them, I just wanted to write something I like to listen to. But I’d like to think we have our own sound.

NUVO: Was there a moment when you realized things were starting to come together for you?

Segedy: There were kind of two moments like that. One was when I wrote the first demo, a song called “Night Fight” [not on the album]. I’d never written a song before and I kind of freaked out about that. The demo, listening back, is terrible now. I don’t know why I liked it. But I kept writing. And then, when I got the rest of the guys, we just gelled really fast and sounded really good from the first practice.

NUVO: Did feedback from fans help you decide which direction to take on the album?

Segedy: Oh yeah. Particularly as far as what songs were good. For example, the song “Beside.” I thought that song was okay, I didn’t think it was really that good. But a lot of people seemed to like it.

NUVO: What about the song “Scone Zone”?

Segedy: Well, there is a meaning behind that. I work at a grocery store in Bloomington called Bloomingfoods, and in the mornings everyone gets scones and coffee. So I would just kind of think to myself, “you’ve stepped into the Scone Zone.”

NUVO: What’s next for the band?

Segedy: Right now my goal is just to survive this tour that we’re on. But after that I’d like to learn a new set pretty soon, start playing some new songs. I still have a semester left before I graduate, but in the Spring I think we’ll tour again. I’d like to have another album out in a year or two, but I don’t want to overload too soon.

NUVO: What do you think you'll do with that other album's worth of material you've still got?

Segedy: I’m going to keep that in the pocket, but still try and write new stuff. I don’t get too attached to those things. I just try and keep moving forward.

Promotional video for "Slime" from Sleeping Bag:
Sleeping Bag: "Slime" Official Video from 19th State Productions on Vimeo.

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