This Saturday the High Desert, more specifically Pioneertown, will open by their land to friends, strangers, campers, good brew, and psychedelic music.
If you have ever had the opportunity to visit Pioneertown, then you know. You know how mystical the land is. Psychedelics or not, it will trip you out. Especially considering that once you are up, you’re in.
The mystery and fascination begins to boil at the base of the mountain, in Yucca Valley. As you gradually, steadily, make your way up the long, windy, two lane road that hugs the curves and twists itself so gracefully through the mountain’s cracks you begin to shed all the city smog; a clouded mind, egos, and problems that you had with you before and leave it all behind, below you.
Because, now, you’re up and you’re in – for good.
Once all the parties have made their way up, you are then meet all the other fellow adventurers who all have left their personal smog cloud behind as well and are now the same level of clear consciousness.
From there… the rest is certainly history. It’s just you, them, the mountains, the open skies, the cool temperatures, the ghost town, the live psychedelic music and the booze waiting for you at the bar (or whatever drug of choice you chose to bring with you).
This Saturday’s musical shamans of the evening are Sleepy Sun, Assemble Head, In Sunburst Sound, Dreamcatcher, and theRebar Brothers.
Jack Kohler, of the local band War Drum, had the opportunity to speak with Matt Holliman of the headlining band, Sleepy Sun, prior to their upcoming show here in the desert once again.
So, without further ado, I present…..

INTERVIEW: Sleepy Sun
via: Jack Kohler

JK: We’re all big fans out here in the Coachella Valley, of both Embrace and your latest album Fever. There’s been a growing volume of buzz circling around your show on the 24th, how’re you feeling about playing down here again?

SS: We’re very excited. We haven’t played there too much, the last time we were supposed to play was the previous US tour when we opened for the Arctic Monkeys. That date was supposed to be added on but conflicting schedules wouldn’t let us, we played a place in Palm Springs instead. We’re really excited to come down and play in the whole desert scene again.
JK: There are a few tracks on your newest album Fever, like “Desert God” and “Sandstorm Woman“, other than namesakes, is there any relation to the desert for these songs, are they based on an experience?

SS: You know, I’m not going to be able to tell you what the songs are exactly about, when we write we’re aiming for the listener to come up with their own interpretation of what those songs make them feel. There’s definitely elements of the feelings we’ve had from being in the desert, and crossing vast distances of crossing the desert and wasteland. Sandstorm Woman is more about a relationship than more of the distance that may be involved in those songs.

JK: I hear a much heavier sound in the new album between shifting octave changes and the steady, droning guitar riffs. Did you want to increase the sound? Or start in new directions?

SS: It’s funny because between Embrace and Fever, there was little downtime between the writing aspect. “Sandstorm Woman” was the first song we worked on after we finished recording Embrace. I’m not sure if we were aiming to go for a heavier sound, that is sort of what came out and was the product of what we were doing. The difference between the two was that Embrace was written mostly in Santa Cruz and Fever was San Francisco. Right after Embrace, we moved to San Francisco and worked on what would become Fever. That time period in San Francisco was spent going to our respective jobs and going to the practice space three hours a night, every day of the week. In Santa Cruz, we were still students while it was being written, a trade off between the two. Fever was working towards doing this full time.
JK: The folk driven influence is there in your music. Was there a point where you guys made a breakaway from a more acoustic sound to live?

SS: That was probably a product of trying new things and incorporating different instruments. The singer, Brett, started playing acoustic live more after we recorded Fever. For both records we went into the studio with the songs mostly written, but also with a lot more writing to be done in the studio. We were substituting electric guitar to acoustic guitar, and the other way around. There were things on the record that hadn’t been played live previously so we had to bring them in live. We wanted to bring as much of the sound to the audience as possible, and that’s a product of experimentation. Some of the tracks on Fever were written before Embrace for that matter, songs we hadn’t completely gotten together yet.

JK: Your last show down here was at Space 120, a bar on the Palm Springs strip known for its hip hop reputation. But, this time around you’re being hosted at the High Desert cowboy outpost, Pappy & Harriets Pioneertown Palace. Both places bring their big acts through, but what are your thoughts on playing at a venue more geared towards your music?

SS: I don’t really know the area too well. When we played in Palm Springs we had some bands that were playing with us that were similarly paired. The night we were playing there were oil projections. It was fun, but as far as the venue, we’ve only heard very good things about it. We’re very stoked to play it.

JK: I got to see your set list from the last show and I saw some songs on there that are on your new album, “Marina”, “Open Eyes“, “Wild Machines“, and “Sandstorm“ (later known as Sandstorm Woman). As far as the writing process goes, do you rework these songs to be put on a new album or do they stay original as the initial song?

SS: When we play live, they tend to be different, the recordings on Fever were simply snapshots of where the songs were at the time of recording. We’re in a frame of mind that the songs keep evolving, and just because they are recorded doesn’t mean they’re finished. After the recording, we pick apart and add and push different boundaries. Some stay 100 percent the same, but there’s a degree of improvisation for some of the guitar work for a few tracks, a little more free form.
JK: You’re heading to Europe shortly after this show. How do you feel your music, and psychedelic music in general, will be received there comparatively to back home in California?

SS: You know, we did an interview for an Italian magazine that asked the same question. I don’t really know how to answer that. There’s a degree of likenesses that both sides of the Atlantic can appreciate, it is popular over there as well. We have a solid fan base over there that allows us to do what we do and we’re very grateful for that.

Make sure to get out to Pappy and Harriets Pioneertown Palace on the 24th to see Sleepy Sun play with Dreamcatcher, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, and the Radar Brothers. It’ll be a night filled with drinks, friends, camping, and music all around, up in the beautiful high desert.


* all words by Jack Kohler




DON’T MISS IT!This Saturday evening, till Sunday morning….
more information can be found on the Facebook invite by clicking HERE

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