Death metal and post metal make strange bedfellows when combined but Portland’s Sea Sleeper make it look easy on their just released debut full length, Nostophobia. Tracks like “Far More Than Sustenance Now” and “Low” team with Gojiraesque energy while others, “Coffin Salesman” and “Salt,” bruise with quickdraw blast beats and dizzying riffs. We recently posed our set of Profile questions to the band and Jess Cooley heeded the call with an in depth look at the band, their history, and a little about what makes them tick. Read on below to see how it went down and be sure to show them support through the links contained within.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
My grandma gave my brother and I two tapes when he was six and I was four, one was Iron Maidens’ Number of the Beast and the other was Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. We would play them very quietly on our cassette player, handed down by my father. We played them quietly because my mom was a big Beatles fan and didn’t like the competition as I recall my brother pointing that out in far different terms as a six year old. It only got heavier, Metallica and Megadeth in middle school, then saw Lamb of God when I was 15 and fell in love with Death and Gojira when I was 16.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
Hmm… that’s a good question. For me, what I find difficult is having really cool conversations with our fans and then having to get pushy for their money. I mean, not pushy, but asking for them to take their fandom or their relationship with us and make it monetary. I’ve felt that I’ve seen some fans disappear because of it.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
Best thing in metal right now is the Portland, Oregon metal scene. Keep in mind we’re a city under a million, not small but not gigantic either. Just to name a few of our bands that have crushed it on the national scene: Vitriol, The Odious, Aseitias and literally countless more.
One of the biggest bummers isn’t a new topic, unfortunately; metal elitism is a toxic plague that runs rampant in all corners of the metal world. Like yea, deathcore is not my thing, but fuck yea for any deathcore band that makes good music and are commercially successful. It doesn’t just have to be the brootalist death metal, even though I prefer it that way, but I won’t shit on bands exposing kids to metal. People like what they like, and artists aren’t creating shit in a vacuum just for you.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
The fact that this country thinks our politicians care about issues near and dear to our hearts, or that they have any comprehension or compassion for what life is like for people in poverty is asinine. We can bail out our banks and airlines when they struggle from shutting down a country, but God forbid the citizens they are chosen to represent are taken care of. To be a big time player in politics you have to sacrifice your morals and ideals to get anywhere. If you don’t they’ll eat you up.
Our music focuses on understanding an Old Guard of political history and how this is a sisyphean pattern of thought. Honestly I struggle to hold the anger and fire I had 10 years ago because American politics will beat you down if you watch closely enough.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
My grandma snuck tapes to my brother and I. As the music got heavier my dad got more concerned until Shane and I got our first Judas Priest cd and he loosened up because he saw them live when he was younger and thought they killed it. Honestly, family is our biggest supporters and they don’t give us the old ‘I love the music but not the screamo stuff.’ We’re lucky…I think.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Is this a trap? Feels like a trap. Honestly, I don’t have much. I think music needs critical thought and there is a huge swell of coverage for smaller bands. That’s cool. A lot of these dudes and gals don’t make a dime, they just want to be part of something they love and that’s beautiful. My only critique is maybe when you’re a math prog guy and reviewing technical death metal, maybe be alert to your biases.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
My brother, my good friend and myself want to keep Sea Sleeper going until we can’t play anymore. We want a catalogue that expands decades so we can share our music with our grandkids, just like my grandma shared her music with us. A kvlt following would be ideal, gotta pay the rent.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
Royal Thunders’ – Crooked Doors, Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race, Warforged – I, Voice, Blut Aus Nord – Sects 777 and so many, many more.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
Our debut album “Nostophobia” drops Feb 6th via Metal Assault Records. We’re getting our livestream set up so we can pretend to play shows again.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Jess for his time!