Interview: sleep well. Talks Songwriting, Relatability, and Name Changes
San Antonio sweethearts Andrés Garcia and Marco Martinez from sleep well. give some details on their upcoming album — and finally reveal who the prettiest star is.
Written by Cat Pozos
Photos by Isabel Canales and Cat Pozos
The entire sleep well. gang is Andrés Garcia on guitar and vocals, Marco Martinez on guitar, vocals, and keys, Dominic Gomez on bass, Ricky Olivares on guitar, and Mark Fountain on drums. With music ranging from melancholic tunes to tracks that make you get up and dance, the sleep well. boys are pulling all the stops in their songwriting.
Though they’ve only been together for a year and a half, they’ve released two full-length albums, one EP, and two singles. Their songwriting has gone through a journey that shows they don’t hesitate to show every range of emotion with their lyrics. Most of all, their friendly, easygoing personalities, tangible love for each other, and tendency to finish each other’s sentences show how well in tune they are, truly earning the moniker “San Antonio Sweethearts.”
Can you guys take us through everything that’s happened in the past few months concerning your band name?
Andrés: We started as Girl Cuts.
Marco: We had a week before our first show, so we needed a name. People said they'd never heard something like that before, but after a while, people started telling us it was problematic.
Andrés: First, I saw a tweet that was about all-male bands with ‘girl’ in the name being like expecting a chocolate chip cookie, but instead getting an oatmeal raisin cookie. I did my own research, and I read a bunch of articles about how men appropriate femme culture, and how there’s a history of using the word “girl” in your band name to kind of patronize women. That made a lot of sense, so we changed the name. So then, we go to the name Twin XL.
I thought that it was gonna stick. And then this band from 2007 called The Summer Set started to rebrand, and they chose the name Twin XL and had legal copyright. We went through a catalog of name changes, and we kind of had a time crunch since we had to drop the album.
My grandpa, who passed recently, would text me, “Buenas noches, que duermas bien,” every single night. I changed what he said from Spanish to English because we already had a song called “buenas noches,” added a period at the end ‘cause it looks cute, and now we are sleep well. with a period, all lowercase ... and I hope that doesn’t get copyrighted.
So if someone’s coming to see you at a show for the first time, what should they expect?
Marco: Bedroom pop, the way I see it, is a really wide, undefinable genre. It’s just like stuff you make on your own ... in a bedroom, really.
Andrés: I don’t think our specific sound makes us bedroom pop. I think the fact that we literally record in a bedroom makes us bedroom pop. And our sound is sad music that sounds happy.
Marco: Exactly! Hey, we’re both very truthful in our music. We just feel that saying what we feel is not only a coping mechanism, but it also shows people that they’re not the only ones going through stuff.
Andrés: It's more truthful, I want to be more honest with myself.
Who Is The Prettiest Star came out recently, how would you say the sound in Prettiest Star has grown from your previous releases ?
Andrés: I went through hell and back this last year trying to discover who I am and did a lot of self reflection, and lot of growth came from it. I think when I was writing for Pure Romance, they were lies to myself. A good few of the songs were happy songs when I knew good and well that I wasn't happy. So, when I was writing songs for Prettiest Star, I was definitely thinking internally — who am I, what can I do to be better — to write about this experience of growth.
Marco: When I came to Andrés with the idea of the name for Who Is the Prettiest Star, I’d just heard the song by David Bowie and thought “who is this about?” And it formulated into this idea of how we're all living life, and we’re just trying to deal however we deal. We’re just humans at the end of the day. We all want love, and we want to know who the prettiest star is.
Andrés: For Marco, I think there was an external journey that he went through he was trying to find love and happiness with somebody else. But while that was happening, my experience was coexisting in the same album. I was trying to come to terms with the thought that maybe I can be the prettiest star.
Marco: Ricky is the prettiest star
Andrés: On the record, Ricky is the prettiest star.
What songs from the album stand out the most
Marco: “Grow”, the first track on the album.
Andrés: It lays out what you’re about to go through on the album, and I think it’s perfectly encapsulating. It lays forward my share of the songs on the album. It's like a summary, you’re reading the back of the book and it tells you what's happening, but you gotta go and explore the rest of it on your own. That's what I planned for it to do at least.
Marco: I feel like this is something everyone can relate to, like it should have been written already. But the song that I wrote the best on the album is the one I took less time to write, “Silly World.” It was kind of realizing that in the relationships I’d been in the past 4 years, I had never taken the time to realize what it really means to love somebody. I almost felt silly coming to that conclusion, like how can I not stick with somebody and learn to love them. And that realization of how it happens to a lot of people, they don't realize that there's more to love than the idea of being with somebody, taking pictures with them, or kissing them or whatever. It was me realizing that if I'm ever gonna love somebody I need to get my sh-t together.