Interview: Pieter Gabriel aka SLEEP SLEEP

Sleep Sleep aka Pieter Gabriel is a favorite at Pavlov´s Dogs office, and he is releasing a new album, “Gospel” on the austrian label Noise Appeal Records. Pieter plays almost every instrument on the album, layering waves of dreamy sounds that create a very unique atmosphere. The instrumentation, vocal work and production quality are some of the best we have heard in recent times.
We contacted him to hear about the process of making the album and his future plans. Enjoy the interview.

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Pavlov’s Dogs Web Magazine: A few years ago, you won a competition on FM4, then you released an album under your real name Pieter Gabriel. Why did you change the name to SLEEP SLEEP now?

Pieter Gabriel: I just wanted to have a less biased name. A name to hide behind, if you like.

PD: How did you come up with the idea of releasing an EP with cover versions of other singers and bands, such as Mile Me Deaf , Michael Jackson, David Hasselhoff and more?

PG: I’ve always covered songs. That’s the way i learned to play guitar, by playing Nirvana and Weezer songs. By and by i stopped copying the originals and started to modify them instead.
The cover of “Looking For Freedom” actually started out as a joke, for example. But then i took a closer look at the lyrics and i found that they were actually pretty good. Cheesy, but good. Almost like something Hank Williams could have written. By chance i was very much into Brian Eno’s “Ambient 4″ at that time. That´s how that cover happened.

PD: Your debut album under this name has been released on vinyl a month ago. The digital release happens this week, exactly one month later. Tell us more about this decision.

PG: The label and i wanted to make clear that the album is primarily made for vinyl. So we decided to release it on vinyl only for one month. At the same time we gave the people the opportunity to listen to the whole album on Bandcamp (http://noiseappealrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gospel). This may seem a little contradictory, but that’s the way it works for me these days. If i don’t have the opportunity to listen to an album in full length online, i never gonna buy it.

PD: Yes, that’s true. I rarely buy albums before I haven’t got the chance to listen to them first! And what’s the recording process been like? Did you record all the instruments by yourself?

PG: I recorded the most parts of the album by myself at home. Only the vocals and a few overdubs were recorded at Stefan Deisenberger’s (Naked Lunch) studio, where the album also got mixed. But there are also some guests on the album. Lukas Lauermann plays the cello on 3 tracks, for example.

PD: Is there a particular story behind the cover artwork?

PG: David Hüttner, a friend of mine, drew it. He also did the back cover and the inner sleeve illustrations. It’s inspired by the cover artwork of the 80ies comic magazine “Schwermetall”, the german edition of the french comic magazine “Métal Hurlant”. It’s basically a fantasy comic for adults.
It may seem trashy to some people, but for me it perfectly conveys the mood of the album. A little tropical, a little futuristic.

PD: A couple of months ago, you played on our launch party and that night you did a special ambient set, something completely different from what we can hear on the album. Are you going to play the music from “Gospel” live one day?

PG: There are no live gigs for “Gospel” planned at the moment. Currently i don’t have the time nor the desire to prepare a proper live-set which could live up to my expectations. I also see myself more like a producer. That’s why i primarily want to be behind the camera, not in front of it.

PD: Are you currently working on something else? Are there any other projects?

PG: Yes. As for Sleep Sleep, there will be another cover EP next year. Plus a maybe more experimental, more instrumental EP too. But let´s see. Than i got this ambient project with cellist Lukas Lauermann going on – “The Twentieth Century”. We’re going to release something too next year.
PD: Thank you!

“Gospel” is out now @ Noise Appeal Records
Text and Interview: Svetlomir Slavchev / Miguel Figuerola
Picture: Stefan Langer (All Rights Reserved)