Saint Slumber is a three-piece American indie rock band formed between the suburbs of Philadelphia and New York City. Staying true to a DIY approach that has carried them this far, the trio has self-produced all of their own material to-date, including their debut EP entitled Youth//1, released last year. In only its first year, the record amassed collectively over a million streams.
Beginning their second year with an appearance at Radio 104.5’s Birthday Bash, Saint Slumber played among the likes of Portugal The Man, 30 Seconds To Mars and Walk The Moon. Their second EP, Youth//2, (purchase a copy here) was released in September and as a result, we caught up with the group for a special track-by-track rundown of each of the recording’s five songs.
Commenting on the record, the band said, “‘YOUTH//2’ is the second installment in our debut series of EPs: the ‘YOUTH//’ trilogy. As a band that absolutely loves the concept of the full-length but wanted to release our debut music in digestible releases, we decided to tell one story along three EPs. ‘YOUTH//2’ is the middle of the journey: conceptually it’s about the in-between of looking back and looking forward, and from a production standpoint it’s comprised of music both new and old.”
Don’t “Stay Away” from this recently released video from YOUTH//2.
01. “Stay Away”
– When we were sequencing this record, “Stay Away” jumped out as an obvious opening track. The opening of the song is extended and cinematic; we were inspired by soundtracks from the likes of Hans Zimmer and Survive, and it leads into a song that is dancey while remaining dark and broody. Telling the story of an irresistible and intense relationship, we wanted to write a track that was unrelenting in its beat and drive while keeping a heavy dose of ambiance in it. From a production standpoint, the song sets up the musical motif for this record: aggressive guitars and drums matched with thick and atmospheric synthesizers. We ended the song with an unapologetic full-step key change into a ripping guitar solo from Aaron, and we think it really sets the agenda for the EP as a whole.
02. “I Think I Like You”
– Speaking chronologically, “I.T.I.L.Y.” was the final song we wrote for this record. My original inspiration for this song was a Jaco Pastorius bassline I heard from a live Weather Report album. I wanted to make a dance track based around a simple and synthetic bassline, but with a rhythm that was dotted and polyrhythmic feeling. The contrast of a vintage feeling chromatic bass part with the cyclical rhythm is a blend I’m still proud of. Lyrically, the song speaks about the classic contrast of a love/hate relationship. It’s remarkable how low someone can drag you when you like them; when someone has the ability to make you happy, that means they have the leverage to make you sad. We tried to capture that contrast in this song; dance beats, tension, and a wild key change at the end of chorus #2.
The YOUTH//2 EP dropped on September 14, 2018, via Kingless Co. Records/Station House Recording.
– By far the most experimental track on the record, “Marrow” is a song we never thought we’d put out. A reworking of a song that we put out years ago, “Marrow” is a blend of dense atmospheric synths, a whispered vocal line, and a post-rock outro. We loved the journey that this song took us on; instead of a typical verse/ chorus pop structure, it’s a song in three distinct parts. Lyrically, this is a song about being left behind by someone. I tried to create something that felt like a stream of consciousness story as opposed to more traditionally structured lyrics. This, along with several unison takes of the vocals create an eerie effect that is entirely singular to this song. Whether or not this song does well in terms of performance, we’re happy we’re able to stretch our sound and create a bigger musical world for ourselves with this track.
– The oldest chronological song on the record, we wrote “Coast” before Youth//1 even came out. Going through a few different iterations, this song ended up being a jam that’s very close to our hearts. Written around a sample that’s a reversed guitar lick, the song is based around a cycling rhythmic pattern that never really lands on the one. All of this comes together and makes for an almost trance-like feel. “Coast” was written at the end of a long relationship, and the song reflects that emotional place. It’s written about spending many years in the same geographical location, seeing the same places and people, and how that has an effect on the people who are pushing and pulling at one another in that place emotionally. It’s bright yet melancholy, energetic yet relaxed, and we love where the sound ended up in those dichotomies.
Saint Slumber “Coast” their way through their latest music video.
– Going for a traditional journey within the confines of a five-song record, we decided to end Youth//2 with the ballad “Infinite.” This is the first acoustic track we’ve released, and we really wanted to make the acoustic part count. The riff Aaron plays is in a beautiful open tuning we picked up from our friends who played in emo bands, and this tuning allows for the riff to be extremely rhythmic with the open strings. The beat of the song feels like a steady “four on floor,” but the song is actually in 3/4; these elements together create an upbeat but lightly swung beat that we were really happy to stumble upon.
“Infinite” is a song that means something very different to each of us. Coincidentally, it came about at the end of a lot of relationships for us; some friends had left town, some romantic relationships had ended, and there was even a tragic family loss for one of us. “Infinite” is about living with memories of the past, as they loop constantly in your head, leaving you feeling as if you’re trying to reach back into the past as opposed to marching forward into the future. We think that sentiment really sums up YOUTH//2 as the centerpiece of the YOUTH// trilogy: we’re young enough to have a large chunk of life left ahead of us, yet we’ve experienced enough to feel as if we’re constantly looking backward.
If you’d like to get more familiar with Saint Slumber, check out this short video clip…