The Sleepless are Martin Carroll (guitars), Ronan O’Hanlon (drums). Friends since school, their influences include 60s girl groups, early 90s ambient, Factory and 4AD. The Sleepless’ sound is a potent mix of ambient and edgy alternate-tuned guitars, real drums, 80s digital effects, found sounds, radio recordings, valves, the sounds of other people’s lives.
Mid-90s Southport: on the dole and with time on their hands Martin and Ronan began demo-ing song ideas on a Tascam 688 portastudio. The ambient and otherwordly sounds filtering through from Probe Records in Liverpool infected their sound, inspiring spacious guitars, primitive sampling and devilish grooves. The thin line between melancholy and hope was always there, however.
Late 90s: Ronan and Martin formed Stellar and moved to Liverpool. Arriving at the tail end of the Britpop boom, Stellar were a breath of fresh air, ‘spacious, wirey guitar pop – heavy on mood with a pervading aura of melancholy to cuddle up to’. They moved into Elevator Studios, a seedy basement rehearsal room, which had once been a porn cinema, complete with red velvet wallpaper. 4AD expressed interest and the band signed an EP deal with label offshoot, Detox Artifacts in late ’96. Gigs at The Lomax, Night and Day, Hacienda and Disgracelands followed, the latter in front of luminaries such as Liz Fraser and Andrew Weatherall.
The 00s: London beckoned, Stellar imploded, Martin and Ronan moved on. They formed This Sudden Life, an experimental art rock quartet, which wowed Camden audiences with ‘perfectly taut songcraft’ and ‘a magnificent blend of pop and art’. The band was fraught with personality differences, however, and its demise sowed the seeds of The Sleepless.
Martin and Ronan spent time at Alaska Studios, London, working together as a duo once more. Here and at a rented flat in South London a new crop of songs began to take shape. They recorded their first EP, ‘Noise of Life’. Four songs about the dusty corners of life, and the spark that keeps you going.
This was released in summer 2010.
“A superb start for this new act which left me thirsting to hear more from the band”, said Jon Leonard (Leonard’s Lair), whilst Tasty Fanzine praised its “new mix of chilled-out attainable music” and “very unique, fresh sound”.
An archive release of Stellar material, “One Extended Moment” was released on the Division 68 imprint in 2009.