The Dublin electro three-piece Sleep Thieves have been quiet the last while since 2014’s full-length You Want The Night but their pulsating synthesiser electronica is very much in tact with their returning track ‘Is This Ready?’.
The song has the foreboding noir atmospherics of their established work with vocalist Sorcha Brennan at her most dramatic.
Rian Trench mixed the track and there are more singles promised for later this year.
Sleep Thieves are Sorcha Brennan (vocals, synths), Wayne Fahy (Vocals, synths, bass, programming), and Keith Byrne (synths, guitar, bass, programming).
How to enter ticket comps – Email [email protected] with the gig above in the Subject line you’re entering for along with your full name and phone number in the body of the message. Full info on each show below. Draw closes at 6pm the day before the gig or Friday 1pm latest for weekend gigs.
Tuesday May 19
Brandon Flowers @ Olympia Theatre (€30) [Pop/rock] Cheer up Mormon, it’s not that bad.
King Creosote @ Button Factory (€19) [Folk] Scottish singer-songwriter.
May 21st – The Grand Social, Dublin May 31st – Forbidden Fruit festival, Dublin June 5th – Birthdays, London JUne 13th – BARE In the Woods, Portarlington June 27 – Killarney Festival, Killarney July 5th – Just Like Heaven festival, Padua, Italy
This is a post written by Wayne Fahy of Sleep Thieves about the band’s largely positive experiences as an independent band with their music on Spotify. As it happens, they are playing RHA tonight..
Over the last few months, the issue of fair royalties for bands and how streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer et al help or hinder music’s new supply chain has intensified. At the top of the mountain, the battle rages as Taylor Swift and Spotify’s own CEO Daniel Ek attempt to convince the industry they are both crusading to stabilise and save it.
Much further downslope, on the low foothills where most bands operate, this battle above registers as little more than a low din, or does it? Taylor Swift is the only artist to sell over a million copies of an album in 2014, so the figures her label are fighting about are obviously colossal. f you’ll join me in casting your eyes downward from the heavens, here we are, Sleep Thieves, a prototype of the new normal – the Spotify millionaires.
A joyful slog
Our millions are sadly, not in dollar form (not even remotely close) but instead are made up of Spotify plays. We passed that milestone about a year ago, and sit at around 2.6 million plays in total today. As the main track to drive this, ‘Spirit Animal’ galloped towards 1 million plays in late 2014, we cheered for it with daily Spotify checks like a small time gambler might, cheering home the nag he has a fiver on – aware its not going to change our lives overnight, but still damn gratifying. It has been quite a unique experience though, we are equal parts flattered, invigorated, more confident, but also still living the joyful slog as Vinnie Dermody of The Jimmy Cake so aptly put it.
We have used this streaming success to reinvest (partially) in new equipment as we self-recorded the album and are staunchly DIY that way. It also helped us towards our trip to the US last year to play Culture Collide in LA and San Francisco, but like many acts like us (releasing through an indie label – Minty Fresh Records) taking a trip like this, did involve maxed out credit cards too. This Spotify success has certainly not made for a self-sufficient, career musician’s life.
“These are early days for the new online music model, it wobbles along on training wheels and for now, we wobble along with it.”
I know many reading this will look at 2.5 million plays, and the stark reality that monetarily, this (mostly) helps us tick along as a band but nothing more and think the gap (or chasm you might say) between plays and earnings here seems huge. Maybe it is. Alas though, a play is not a download, the investment (emotional, or financial) not quite the same as a purchase. Add to this the fact that over half of Spotify’s users are free users and the incremental royalty for one of their plays is much smaller than a subscriber – it’s a monetising minefield with two trenches dug at each side between acts/labels and the streaming companies. These are early days for the new online music model, it wobbles along on training wheels and for now, we wobble along with it.
On the flip side of course, we do step back and say to ourselves “Two and a half million plays??” That’s a lot of people we have reached, and this huge exposure to worldwide listeners and new fans has created great moments for us.
Less swag, more swagger
On our travels, another band with international appeal remarked to us that a most gratifying thing about growing outside of their own market is the connection that they get to make with fans all around the world. This is definitely one huge positive of our listenership online – we get Facebook messages, tweets, emails every week explaining how they found our music, how it has affected them, finding out more about us. Radio stations in Chile, Portland, Japan, fans from Colorado, California, Hungary, Thailand, Australia, we have heard from people of all ages and races and it is really inspiring to us. When we played in Los Angeles last October for example, local fans came just to see us and insisted we pose for photos, one couple had their vinyl tucked underarm for us to sign. They went so far as to bring a silver marker with them (as the cover is black), thinking ahead of course, then telling us to keep said marker as “you guys will be signing a lot more”. Their vision of us, our stature, coloured by the huge numbers they see attached to us online. Perception creating reality at work here I guess? Great moments though, ones we want to repeat again and again in future.
At this point, our ambition and aim is to grow outside of Ireland – to perform more, to be written about more, played on radio more. Our Spotify milestones are a great barometer of the presence of a greater fanbase than our home market could provide so these plays have become a selling point, a badge of honour of sorts too. So we carry on, we play shows, we record, we release. Spotify won’t pay for us to put our feet up but it has made our life as a band a damn sight more colourful. Yes, it’s not perfect, but we’ll take it.
After last year’s GIF marathon, we returned to Stradbally this year with the intention of more GIF action. As captured by Killian Broderick and turned into GIFs by me, this is a selection of what went down at Electric Picnic in moving form featuring St. Vincent, Tune-Yards, Outkast, Beck, Sleep Thieves, Portishead, Glass Animals, Girl Band, Clu, Neneh Cherry, Le Galaxie and a lot of festival randomness.
The Dublin-based band Sleep Thieves are a very different proposition from the one that appeared three years ago, so much so that their debut album Heart Waves seems, from cursory searches to have been erased from many of the online stores that once carried it, either by choice or by expiration.
Sleep Thieves in 2014 sound unlike that incarnation of the band, so much so that we can take You Want The Night, on its own merits. Starting with 2012’s excellent EP Islands, Sorcha Brennan, Wayne Fahy and Keith Byrne hit on a sound that they have since wrapped themselves in, a glittering canvas of disco-noir synthesizer and digital production.
Across ten tracks and 38 minutes on You Want The Night, the stylistic sound suits them well. The album can run a little too close to sounding too inspired by contemporaries like Johnny Jewel and Austra: artists who delve into the darkness through electronic arrangements that often come with an aural cue to look over your shoulder.
Brennan’s vocals have a sashaying celestial quality to them that wasn’t there before and it’s central to the album’s appeal – a bed of turbulent low-end anchors the feminine high-range she utilises, as on ‘City Of Hearts’ and ‘Oceans’ for example. Brennan isn’t a match for the operatic vibrato of Katie Stelmanis and while the vocal range is admirable, it does invite those comparisons.
Elsewhere, as on the title track, Fahy provides the voice of the mutated: pitched-down vocals add to the eerie feel, a technique plucked from Fever Ray and more recently, Purity Ring.
When the arrangements unpeel themselves from the template, Sleep Thieves add some depth. ‘Ishimura’ revels in the slow air of some hypnotic synth meandering as does the malevolent tones of ‘Tusk’.
There is enough substance here to suggest that Sleep Thieves are heading in the right direction. There is atmosphere and cinema conjured in the arrangements of songs like ‘Sparks’, ‘Oceans’ and ‘Ishimura’. The three-piece have immersed themselves in a electro-noir sheen and You Want The Night has given them a necessary focus. Now it’s time for Sleep Thieves to find their own place in it.
Body & Soul have announced their lineup for the imminent Electric Picnic festival at the end of August and it’s another doozy lineup of acts across three stages. Only €229.50 weekend tickets are left but there is a serious lineup including the full list below.
Playlist of additions:
Body & Soul man stage
tUnE-yArDs Young Fathers Perfume Genius Kate Boy Francois and The Atlas Mountains Oum Shatt Lau Moodoid Glass Animals Olof Arnalds Alice Boman Dermot Byrne Florian Blancke & Brendan O Regan Join me in the Pines I Have A Tribe Linkoban Jon Gomm Meltybrains? Tommy KD C.R. Avery Girl Band Altered Hours Buffalo Woman Donal Dineen Ronan O Snodaigh & The Occasionals Sounds of a System Breakdown InterSkalactic Viking Project The Careers Loah Sleep Thieves Grounds For Invasion Youth Mass Mongoose Susan O Neill & The Low Standards Arioso Grouse
UPSTAGE Line Up
Kowton Shanti Celeste P Disconaut Replete o.utlier Chris Farrell TR-One [live] Talkboy UNKNWN [live] Ghosts Ryan Vail Shane Mannion LAKE PEOPLE [live] Donal Dineen Reid Adultrock [live] Discotekken Gilbert Steele Contour Sol & Louche Richem DJKIDCAM Mikey Joyride Soro
EarthShip Line Up
Maud In Cahoots Ruff Chuff Live Crew Come On Live Long Leo Moran & Anto Thistletwaite The Tav Jam Band WOB! Joe Fury & The Hayride Punch Face Champions Willow Sea & Guests Aindrais De Staic & The Latchikos Attention Bébé Stevie G & the Deep South Soul Soundsystem The Eskies Simi Crowns Noelie McDonnell & Band EDFT i am niamh Polyphonic X The Amazing Few Sinead White The Ground Will Shake Koukie Floor Staff Somerville Eileen Keane Malcolm London Symphonic Funk Tradiohead Mikey and The Scallywags Strange Boats G.I.R.O The Cold Draw Louisiana 6 Shay Cotter and the New Blues Analogue Wave In The Willows
From Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th of August, The Grand Social is hosting an all-Irish lineup of musicians and DJs as an excuse to celebrate the summer featuring Lasertom, Sleep Thieves, Bats, Get Down Edits, Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh and more. Details:
Thursday Aug 7th
The Loft: Diatribe Records presents: Solo Series II Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh/Cora Venus Lunny/Kate Ellis/Adrian Hart. Doors: 6.45pm till 11pm, Adm: €10/8
Friday Aug 8th
The Loft: Bats. Magic Pockets. Val Normal Grand Social & New Natives presents Doors: 8pm till 11pm, Adm: €8 (€6 cheaplist)
Later in The Loft: Get Down Edits & T/A/S/T/E DJs. Doors: 11.30pm. Adm: €5
The Ballroom: Shotgun – 1st Birthday Party DJ’s Rob Gilligan & Michelle Farley playing 60’s pop, beat, mod, soul & surf. Doors: 10pm. Adm: Free
Saturday Aug 9th:
The Loft: LaserTom. Sleep Thieves. Adeyhawke (Grand Social & Technoir presents) Doors: 8pm. Adm: €5
Later in The Loft: Burnin’ Up One year birthday of Kelly-Anne Byrne’s Disco night with Ruth Kavanagh of Mother DJs. Doors: 11pm. Adm: Free
The Ballroom: Indietronic DJ Eamon Barrett spinning indie & electro anthems and party classics. Doors: 10pm. Adm: Free
Sunday Aug 10th:
The Loft: Saucy Sundays Bitch Falcon, Punchface Champions, My Tribe Your Tribe & more… Doors: 6pm. Free admission.
Dublin three-piece Sleep Thieves released the dark-sided ‘City Of Hearts’ along with the hypnotic GIF-style live action video below.
News has reached that the band’s second album You Want The Night will arrive on June 17th through Minty Fresh Records and the title track for it has been released. Like the night-time music first heard on the Oceans EP, ‘You Want The Night’ is dark and driving, with a malevolent low-end, taut dramatic guitar touches and Sorcha Brennan’s angelic vocals contrasting with the treated ones by Wayne Fahy also featured on the track.
Pre-order the album before May 31st and get the Sleep Thieves’ Islands EP, Islands Remix EP, Love is a Stranger Cover and a download of the album on the day of release (June 17th).
The Outhouse is an LGBT resource centre on Capel Street in Dublin there to support those in the LGBT community, and for the third year in a row, a team of musicians and artists have co-oped Record Store Day, another day of community to bring both the communities of music and Outhouse together under the name Record Store Gay.
From noon on Saturday, Outhouse will host a series of bands who have provided tracks for the third Record Store Gay compilation including Kate’s Party, I Heart The Monster Hero, Patrick Kelleher, French Bird, The Late David Turpin, Gar Cox, Sleep Thieves, Lo Fires and many more. The mini music festival will continue later at PantiBar from 6pm – 10:30 on Capel St.
Donations will be accepted towards Outhouse where there will be a popup record stall and the compilation will also be for sale in local record shops for the day that’s in it.
But first, you can have an exclusive listen to the compilation which features Le Galaxie covering Visage’s ‘Fade To Grey’, Kate’s Party cover No Doubt’s ‘Just A Girl, Swimmers’ covering Aaliyah’s ‘More Than A Woman’, Cave Ghosts’ covering Kylie’s ‘Come Into My World’, Stephen Quinn’s ukelele cover of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Talking Bout A Revolution’, Crayonsmith tackling Lykke Li’s ‘I Follow Rivers’, Carriages reworking Madonna, I Heart The Monster Hero honouring Queen and more. Listen here:
There’s also a video for White Sage’s John Maus cover of ‘Rights For Gays’:
The video for Sleep Thieves’ dark-edged Austra-esque electro single ‘City Of Hearts’ , directed by Spiceburger. The clip is a play on Youtube artwork thumbnail videos, it starts as a static image and comes to life as the track progresses, GIF style. It was shot in the Liquor Rooms in Dublin.
The song is taken from the band’s forthcoming album You Want The Night on Minty Fresh Records.
Dublin three-piece Sleep Thieves are gearing up to release their album You Want The Night this year with a new single ‘City Of Hearts’ next week as a recent signing to the Minty Fresh Records label. The song has been a recent live favourite and is a throbbing electro track with Sorcha Brennan’s vocals lifting into the high range on the chorus. It continues the band’s shift in direction that was trailed with the last single ‘Sparks’.
The video for Sleep Thieves’ song Sparks‘ by Neil Hoare keeps it simple by focusing the entire one-take video on singer Sorcha Brennan singing the song to camera at dim light and let’s the ominous Irish sky provide the backdrop to the performance.