On his debut album, Better Haze, Garrett “Sleepy” Zuhoski went into the studio with a collection of songs he’d been working on for years. Working with producer Salim Nourallah (Old 97s, The Damnwells, Nicholas Altobelli), The songs on Better Haze run the gamut of styles and influences from moody, ethereal folk to playful, dance-infused rock. Simply, there is no shortage of eclecticism here. Zuhoski attributes a lot of the ethereal and synthesized sounds to Dallas-based guitarist and composer, Nick Earl (Polyphonic Spree), who also provided a hand.
Better Haze was released on June 1 via Palo Santo Records and Ghettoblaster caught up with Zuhoski to discuss it. This is what he told us.
When did you first begin writing the material for Better Haze?
Before we started working on this record, I had been making lo-fi bedroom recordings for years. Since those got very little exposure, Better Haze is almost a “Greatest Hits” record. The earliest song here, “New Tattoo,” was written in ’03.
Not only do you go by the name Sleepy. But at least two of the songs on the record talk about sleeping. Would you say that you’re obsessed with sleep and sleeping? Or are you too tired to even discuss it?
I write a lot of music very late at night when I’m falling asleep. Get into a sleepy daze and just free associate until I have most of a song put together. The band name is actually a joke about how many sleep and dream themed songs we had on the record.
The video for “Daydream” is cool and just a wee bit trippy. Might there me more videos ahead?
Yes, the video for “On A Cloud” will be out soon and there are plans to make more videos after that.
What artists are you listening to these days? Any Texan faves we might not know about yet?
Lately I’ve been into Fatoumata Diawara, Alvarius B., The Babe Rainbow, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Yo La Tengo, The Weeknd. [My Texas favorites include] Reinventing Jude, Medicine Man Revival, Black Taffy, Party Static, Yells at Eels.
Speaking of Texas, we surely think fans of Midlake would find a lot to like with Better Haze. Are you a fan?
Yeah, I love Midlake. Particularly their early stuff like Milkmaid Grand Army.
What’s next in the world of Sleepy? Touring?
We’ve started writing for a second record. We haven’t started planning a tour yet, but I’m sure one is not too far off.