Sleep Machine / by E

Catch an interview with Alisha Zalkin and Dan Kalisher of Sleep Machine and get their new EP, Cover Me In Gold, out now.

What brought you two together?

Alisha: I was doing this music, guitar player sort of gig and a couple friends recommended I work with Dan and, ever since then, we kind of just hit it off and started this project.

This sound is so vastly different from your solo release "Fearless", what inspired that change?

Alisha: Yeah, that's a good question. I guess, after meeting Dan, we wanted to work on a project together creatively and I was really inspired after I saw the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom which is about background singers, soulful singers of the rock n' roll ages and how really crucial their voices were to that sound and I knew Dan had a background in rock and was heavily influenced by that and so we kind of just decided to start this project together.

Which words would you use to describe your sound?

Dan: Well it's definitely loud. It's boisterous, it's noisy, it's sexy, it's a little bit dark I would say, sonically, and, yeah. It's really hard to describe your own music; to us, we've heard it so many times and it's hard to objectively describe it when it's something you've created, but I guess those are the words we would use for it.

What do you want people to know about Cover Me In Gold?

Dan: We want them to know that it's coming out [laughs]. It's been really fun to make.

Alisha: The song "Wild For You" is actually going to be on the promo for the show Younger.

Dan: It's going to be on TV Land, it premieres March 31st - the show - with Hilary Duff and Sutton Foster and "Wild For You" is going to be used in the promo for it, leading up to it.

Is there a track from the album you think will be most popular?

Dan: "Wild For You" is getting a lot of attention; that's the one that people are going to have the most exposure to.

Alisha: But I think they're really going to like "Game Over" which is the electric track. It's a sort of balls to the wall, fiery song to get you pumped up and motivated and I listen to it when I work out and I feel like I can run out the track to it.

Dan: Yeah, it's - I don't want to say it was designed - but it was sort of written and produced with the idea in mind that it was going to be sort of used in arenas, sort of a cerebral rock sort of thing where we wanted to get people fired up so if they want to either run a marathon or break a cinder block with their bare hands, you know, something fun like that.

Which artists have been most influential to your sound?

Dan: Well, that's a good question, because we draw from two completely different places. I draw more from the Led Zeppelin and the old school rock and even all the way up to the new school rock, kind of like Incubus and Audioslave and things like that.

Alisha: And, I mean, I was very heavily influenced by big voices like Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Just those huge vocals, soulful vocals, are what influenced me.

Dan: So when we came together we kind of felt like, what if those two things, you know, what if Whitney Houston was the lead singer of Led Zeppelin [laughs] what would that sound like? And that's kind of what we came up with.

Any current tracks you guys are hooked on?

Dan: We really like the new Incubus song that just came out.

Alisha: Yeah, the new Incubus song is awesome.

Dan: It's called "Absolution Calling" and we love it.

Alisha: Really looking forward to that EP coming out.

Dan: But, to be honest with you, at least for me, I'm still trying to figure out the old music, the stuff that influenced me. I'm still learning new things about that just in terms of the production and layering and the performance of it; from a musical standpoint, I'm still discovering new things about that every day.

What effect has that had on your music, studying those older styles?

Dan: I think it's had a deep effect, just because both of those things were what was ingrained in us so we didn't really have to do - a lot of times, artists will do research and they'll look up current tracks to see what's happening and, for us, it was just like we already had that in us, just because that was what we knew. It wasn't even a conscious decision, it was just like, well, this is what comes out, this is what it is. Just, this is what we know, this is what we do, so it had a huge effect on our music just because it was so natural for us to do it this way.

What's the message you two hope to get across in your music?

Dan: Have fun.

Alisha: Yeah, let go. Don't be afraid to be a little wild. 

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