by petercortle | January 30, 2011

Their songs have been heard on ABC’s “Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Their music is dynamic and always evolving. From the epic sound of a string quartet to the haunting sound of a single piano melody, Sleeping At Last can seemingly do it all. The Chicago based SAL has now taken on a year long project called “Yearbook,” where they will deliver new music every month for a year. Here is the Life Changing Interview x Sleeping At Last.

LCA: Who or what inspired you to start making music?

Ryan: I really loved music growing up. I’m embarrassed to admit that much of the 90′s alternative music at the time was probably what weighed in the most in my initial inspiration to make music myself. As a result, I asked my parents for an electric guitar for Christmas when I was about 13 and ever since I’ve been writing songs. but I would say that the musicians that have been the most consistently influential in my appreciation for music are: radiohead, bjork, sunny day real estate and billie holiday.

Dan: I would have to say it was the Beatles. When I was in junior high I started listening to some of my Mom’s Beatles records and totally fell in love with them. I wanted to know everything about them and hear all of their music and in turn that made me also want to learn to make music of my own. It was all right about the time I first started to learn the bass and guitar so the love of their music really inspired me to keep working at it.

LCA: What do you hope to achieve with your music?

Dan: I guess my hope is to make music that inspires others in the same way the music I love inspires me. It does make it difficult though when the music that inspires you is The Beatles.

Ryan: Well, we’re both very passionate about the craft of making music, so it’s just something we love doing, so being able to push ourselves creatively is an “achievement” we’re always after. But we also recognize that music is a great encourager to people in more ways than anyone can fully realize or measure, so i’d say that if someone listens to our music and somehow feels hope and understanding through it, that would be what we most hope to achieve with our songs.

LCA: What has been the single most life changing moment that affected your music?

Ryan: Wow, good question! I’m not sure of a single moment, but the first thing that comes to mind would be when I bought my first piano. A kawaii upright…I barely knew how to play it and it has since become one of my very favorite things I own. The majority of our songs were written on it.

Dan: I think for me it would probably be the day that I found a bass guitar in my grandmother’s basement. I had just started learning a little bit of guitar from another kid in my neighborhood and my two best friends had just gotten a drum set and a guitar. So when I found this bass it was sort of like it was meant to be that I should play bass. I guess it had belonged to my Dad but he never learned how to play it and it ended up just sitting in my Grandmother’s basement for years and years. The cool thing about it was that it was a Hofner which is the same brand Paul McCartney played.

LCA: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Ryan: One thing? yikes, that’s tough. World peace is probably a bit predictable…but, it covers so much ground, so i’m sticking with it. (but i’d also like to add: that pizza be free for all… and unlimited. Yum. But now that i think about it, free, unlimited pizza for all and world peace may be one and the same.)

Dan: Everyone would live by the famous words of Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan, and “Be excellent to each other!”

LCA: You have taken on a unique, massive year long project called “Yearbook.” Can you talk about your motivations and intentions for taking on this project?

Dan: More than anything we really wanted to take on the project to challenge ourselves. It’s a funny thing but when you’re in a band sometimes the actual making music part of it can fall by the wayside. Once you’re done recording an album you spend most of your time promoting it and booking shows and a lot of other things that aren’t very creative. So we wanted to really challenge ourselves to focus on the creative part of our job and really focus on stretching ourselves musically.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s definitely been the most rewarding and exciting project we’ve ever done. It’s just been really fun to spend so much time with music. As Dan said, somehow the music part of being in a band gets lost in the shuffle of promotion, etc. so “Yearbook” has been a wonderful, new and challenging shift of gears for us and will more than likely shape the future of how we write, record and release music from here on out.

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