PropertyOfZack Interview : : Joe Lacy (Sleepsick, ex-Transit)
PropertyOfZack had the chance to catch up with Joe Lacy just a few weeks ago, and the interview turned out great. For those who don’t know, Joe used to be a member of Transit and recently left the band and will be continuing on with his new project called Sleepsick. Joe and I discussed the differences between Transit and Sleepsick, the band’s plans for releasing new music and touring, and much more. Read up and enjoy!
The information regarding your departure from Transit was found out about a month or so ago. Was the decision made long before that?
I honestly can’t really say right now, but from what I know, it was just something that needed to happen and there were differences between me and other members of the band. That’s all I really want to say about that, to be honest.
You started Sleepsick, but was that created while you were in Transit, or after you left?
The original idea for Sleepsick was to have it be a side-project from Transit with me and my buddies. My friend Mike in Chicago knew I had a few songs already so he told me he wanted to record one of my songs, but I had no lyrics on me, and I had forgotten some of the lyrics, and he came up to me and told me he wanted to know if I wanted to do it. I didn’t have the lyrics on me, but I got a notebook and a pen and rewrote the lyrics and Sleepsick was the name I was thinking of for a long time and I decided to name it Sleepsick right there. It was kind of like an impulse. I wanted to name my band Sleepsick and record a song and put it online. The net day I watched the video and I was singing out of key, but I just wanted to do a video and I was only there for one night. I did the best I could with him, but that’s where the name came from.
How has the writing been different from when you wrote with Transit?
When we were writing with Transit before it would usually be Tim that had a set song that he had written on his own and he’d show it to me and Daniel and we’d translate it to each other. I’d write my parts over it and then Tim would add his parts and there would be parts he wanted me to play and I would make them my own. We’d show it to PJ on bass and then Joe B would have lyrics and he’d see if they’d work or not depending on how the song was. Joe was very picky about the lyrics. Recently I’ve been writing a lot on guitar and I had like three notebooks filled with songs that I’ve written over the past and I tore them apart and used lines that I liked and made songs through that. I used my favorite parts of these songs and I put them onto paper and went from there. The thing with Transit is that I never had the option to pick what the song titles were going to be. The only thing that we ever had to do with that was picking the CD name. Sometimes he would have a song title and would pick, but now I feel free to just write the way I want to. I’m going to mention smoking weed, and cigarettes, and drinking and I’m going to talk about hating people. There’s a lot of stuff in my life; I lost my dad when I was eight years old and I’ve been coping with it from then until I was fourteen. In middle school and going into high school I got over it. I dealt with that a lot when I was younger; he killed himself in my house and it was a traumatic event in my life and that’s always been my reason for playing music and expressing myself. With Sleepsick I put anything I want down on paper and name the songs anything I want and I can make the shirt designs and whatever. I always had so many ideas with Transit that got shot down because they’d be controversial and we weren’t a controversial band. I want Sleepsick to be something that is going to be not Odd Future crazy, but for emo music, I was Sleepsick to be the Odd Future of emo. I like how they’re doing what they want.
Is it just freeing to be able to do all of that on your own?
Exactly. That was the biggest things for me, the independence. The other guys in this band are just down. I was in Transit for five years and now I’m showing these guys all of my ideas and we’re translating them and it’s just fucking coming out great. They’re completely different from what the acoustic songs sound like; there’s a completely different feel.
Things were really heating up for Transit. Are you prepared to start over?
That’s what’s been bugging me a lot. I toured with them for two and a half/three years in a shitty van. We did winter tours without heat and summer tours without AC. I’ve almost died in the van twice due to car accidents; Joe B almost killed us in Colorado one time in the snow and PJ almost killed us one time in Arkansas in the snow. I’ve risked my life, I’ve toured the country, and it was a beautiful thing. I can’t explain to you what I felt onstage seeing fifty to a hundred kids singing along to songs that I put my heart into. I think Sleepsick is going to be more rewarding for me. Starting over is definitely a huge thing that I’m going to have to deal with and it’s going to suck wicked bad like fucking wicked bad, but this is what happened to me and it’s my luck of the draw. I’m just going with what I got. I’m working my ass off.
Can you talk about the other members in the band?
Right now I’d say Kevin is the most involved member because the other guitarist hasn’t even jammed with us yet. We’re going to be working with him three days this week though. We’re working on everyone’s schedule. Kevin and I are currently getting everything together. Kevin just turned 21 and goes to school and is trying to be a doctor. He’s super smart, is a great skateboarder, loves smoking weed, loves drinking, is a great drummer, and some of his favorite bands are like Title Fight and Balance & Composure. He likes stuff resembling American Football and Grown Ups. His style of drums is more sporadic than normal emo kind of stuff. That’s what I’m excited about. He’s great with double time. Ryan, the bassist, is a great friend of mine. I know them well through Tim. My friend Bill is my girlfriend’s cousin’s boyfriend, but I’ve known him for a while and he’s a great guitarist and we’re influenced by the same stuff.
You guys only have a three-month gap of time. Do you think you can put everything together in that time period?
Yeah, I do. I have full faith in it. For me, guitar wise, it’s becoming really easy. I was talking to them about doing a five-song demo, but I’m ready to demo ten songs. I hope we get five or six solid jams down on a demo and have three or four of my own acoustic songs done and put it out there for the world and have it be free. We just want to get as much feedback as possible. I’d like to have my friends in other bands have it promote it for me as well. It’s great that I got to be in Transit because now I can do my own thing and I have all these friends in Title Fight, Balance & Composure, Tigers Jaw, and Man Overboard. Honestly, it’s just a matter of time before I’m going to be back on the road trying to promote new music. I’m only 19 and the guys who want to play are just graduating next year. I can wait a year and a half and play acoustic shows. I want to tour with my friends like Such Gold or Into It. Over It. or Koji. I want to do whatever I can possibly do, get a van, and get out there and play as many shows as possible. I’m thinking about having other dudes play their parts when they go back to school and just do a three-piece thing.
So the next year until they’re out of school is a year to build foundation?
Exactly. I’m going to work and make money for myself. I’m doing a landscape/construction job and I’m just trying to get other jobs. I’m trying to work full time, skateboard, smoke weed with my friends, and hang out. I’m just trying to enjoy the summer and write music. That’s what I want to do and it’s what I’d be doing if I was in Transit or not. When September comes I’m going to go on tour for a month and a half and then I’ll come home and make some money. We’re trying to get the demos done and record on shitty laptops and just work my ass off. Right now, you can do so many things with the Internet. Transit posts the videos every Thursday and that’s a great idea for them and that’s working. When I was in the band, I got the attention for that also. I think that’s great. They definitely have their marketing plan well thought out and they’ve got good presence. If anyone compares my band to Transit, that’s fine. That’s part of my life. Music is always going to be a part of my life.
There have always been a lot of comments about your drug use, which you’re open about. Some people see that hindering your goals with Sleepsick. Do you have any worries about that?
I get what you’re saying. Like people expect me to say I’m going to do these videos and demos but I’m a pothead and I’m not going to get it done. I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. Like I said before, I’ve been smoking weed since I was 15 and I’m 19 now. I’ve always loved just being able to be myself. I love skateboarding and I love writing and reading. I normally don’t watch TV or get on the computer because I read a lot, write a lot, and play guitar a lot. Smoking has always helped me concentrate because I always had ADD and ADHD. I was a fast moving and a hyper kid. When I started smoking I could concentrate and get myself together. I know people have a stereotype of a weed smoker being someone that’s lazy, but I smoke when I have the time. The kids commented that I smoked with them while I was on tour, but yeah, I was on tour and I’m in a van for fucking eight hours a day every day with the same people. Any chance to meet someone new and get my mind off things; I don’t see a problem with that at all. I know a ton of big and small bands that get a lot of stuff done and they smoke weed every single day.
When would you like to have the first demos out?
I would say they’ll be recorded in late-August/early-September. In early August is my birthday and I plan on getting as much money together as possible and get my license and have a good friend that’ll let me record stuff for like $500 or something. I’m not going to have it get mixed or mastered or anything. Hopefully it’ll be done by late-August. That’s the plan for now. In the meantime I’m going to write and promote the band. The past three summers I have not been home to spend times with my family. I have a house in Cape Cod and I haven’t spent time with my family down there. I don’t live in great circumstances here at home, so the Cape house is something nice to get away and I haven’t done that in four summers. I’m excited to spend time with my family down there.
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