Artist Spotlight: Middlesleep
In the 1700’s folks would sleep twice in one night. They’d have their "first sleep" at sundown, wake up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours, and then they’d have their ‘second sleep’ until sunrise. That middle period between sleeps was called "middle sleep." Listen to Bay Area folk band Middlesleep and you will understand how they got their name. That feeling you get when you wake up in the middle of the night and all is still, and you feel a perfect harmony of sadness and joy– that feeling is Middlesleep's namesake.
What got you interested in Traditional music? (We hear an Irish twinge, but we might be mistaken)
I can't pinpoint any source of interest. Traditional, or Folk music, has objectively the most beautiful melodies that people have ever created. Some of these melodic fragments and turns of phrase are built into our DNA and connects with a wide range of listeners in a deep way. And yes, there is just a twinge of Irish in there, just enough to give it the right flavor. Any more and you run the risk of suggesting you're a "themed" band that dresses up and sings with a phony accent. The point of starting the group was to play folk music without alienating pop listeners.
Is Middlesleep a reference to Middleearth? What does Middlesleep mean to you?
The short answer to the first question is: No. There is however, a tin whistle in the main LOTR theme music. The similarities end there.
The name was chosen by our original singer, Audrey, while the band was away recording some demos. It was an old name for the period in between two segments of sleep. In the past, people didn't sleep throughout the whole night. I thought that the name was original and I liked the way the letters fell together. It's a name that has the potential to mean many things to different people. The blurred line between dreams and consciousness.
Is it possible for a melodic phrase to be 'built into our DNA'? Do you know any of the science behind that, or is it something more elusive?
I was speaking metaphorically, of course. It is something more elusive, indeed. Just like there are archetypes that resonate with us and recurring in stories, books, and movies even though the settings may change, there's some musical equivalents that play on our emotions in much the same way.
Do you think we can trace music to a single source? Do you think music today has any resemblance to that source?
Now we're getting into the deep end. The source of all music is the human voice. Virtually all ethnomusicologists agree on that. I believe that if we were to have a glimpse into the some very early instances of music making, it would be more similar than different to what we know as music. We've always had music in us as a species.
What most excites you about playing the Bear Music Fest?
Different environments bring out different performances. Different audiences elicit different performances too. In addition to those two factors, there's the energy of being around so many other talented and exciting musicians. I think the serenity and natural beauty will put as all in a headspace where we will be able to really "hear" the music as we're making it.
Us too! We can’t wait to see Middlesleep – and you – at the Bear Music Fest!