(Jason H. regarding The Sleeper Has Awakened)


It’s kind of weird going through the isolation of a long committed independent project like this. I wrote a handful of poems all about things just not making sense in this world, and I also sequenced a bunch of drum loops. I pick the poem for the beat throughout the process, and I also gradually edit the poems into more of a lyrical structure. But, when the band comes in it’s like I just have all this raw stone at that stage and now I have to react to them in order to chisel out each song. Each member pulls me in a different direction. Mike’s guitar guides me a lot in terms of my word placement and melodic phrasing. Damian has an instant effect on my vocal cadence and rhythm as soon as he cuts in with his live drums. So, from those two, I can already picture all these ornate patterns I can put my words into. Then Paige adds in the low end with all these timing ideas and synthesizer voices and all the sudden these songs become far bigger, more confident, and even critical feeling. We initially tried out two totally different sets live under the moniker of Drunken Spider, and we ended up throwing away our entire first group of song ideas because they had rap lingo that sounded kind of goofy, and we felt like we needed a new direction in general. So that’s when the lyrics started to come more from my poetry, and we diligently rehearsed new ideas twice a week. I think we all felt we were onto something this time though once we heard how each of the new songs spread out in the live setting, and how the crowds seemed to be far more hypnotized than usual. That reaction was perfect because the songs were clearly more personal despite their apparent ambiguity. One person even called them “moody”. So we went into the home studio and meticulously layered all our new ideas for what turned into about a year or more of meeting for a couple of hours, two or three days a week, and one at a time, to record on a very slow computer in the backroom of my house so that we could reemerge with a CD to back up our live show. Years ago, when we were all in the band Fire in the Treehouse, we would play countless shows well before we ever even had a demo recorded. By the end we were sick of most of the songs, and each other, well before recording. Both those and the first set of Drunken Spider songs had distinct rapping parts that aged very poorly with time. I always wanted to sing more abstract and poetic lyrics without the cute rap kitsch getting in the way. Rapping, for me, is so much about expressing confidence and a certain power over my surroundings. Singing is more about vulnerability and self sacrifice and offering my passion to the audience instead of just inflicting it on them. The best singers really seem to place themselves in the audience’s hands and for me there is a magic in that release which is quite unparalleled. I love the aggressive commanding attitude of hip hop and I will always be into it, but I’m very glad we went in the right direction with this second installment of Cardiofluxus. We tested these songs out live a year ago in a couple of shows, but after recording them we really know now exactly how these songs should ideally sound. I can’t wait to bring them back out of isolation because they really belong on the stage even more than they belong on the CD. These songs mean more to me than anything I have written thus far.