Although the duo isn't originially from St. Louis, Sleepy Kitty still manages to serve as an ancillary conduit that helps keep the city's arts and music scene buzzing. Utilizing "all of the advantages of 1980s-style land line," as drummer/singer Evan Sult aptly quipped, both Sult and Paige Brubeck (guitar, keyboards, vocals) spoke with RFT about their excitement going into this year's Showcase and the status of their impending full length album, Infinity City.
Michael Dauphin: Do you have a different preparation routine going into an outdoor festival-type gig versus a traditional club show?
Evan Sult: Well, we try to figure out how to stand about twelve feet tall [laughs]. There are a lot of things that are built into playing music live. One of them is the idea of playing rock clubs at night. Which is cool--I love playing rock clubs at night. But it's really great to be able to play outside sometimes. I feel like the music we make is meant to reach out and grab people. So we'll just be playing as if we're in a gigantic space and really try to reach out to everyone.
Paige Brubeck: I always have to make sure there's light on my pedals. The first time we played outside I was without light and that became kind of tricky.
You guys seem to be mainstays around the South City/Cherokee District. Do you look forward to taking your show to the Downtown/Washington Avenue area--a part of town you don't play frequently?
Brubeck: I think so. When we first moved to town, we had a moment where we were going down Wash. Ave. and KDHX was playing old jazz and blues. We just loved looking at the buildings. It's really a gorgeous part of town. It's a classic looking downtown in an old city. I like having a reason to get down there.
Sult: Washington Avenue and Cherokee Street are two completely different environments. One of the tricks of playing music live is that you want to keep your friends and folks up to date with what your doing, but you also want to play for people you haven't played for before. And I think, man, being out in the middle of Wash. Ave... You can't ask for a better way of playing for people who haven't heard us yet.
Sleepy Kitty actually played last year's Showcase as well. Are there any personal highlights you remember taking from last year's event?
Brubeck: We were supposed to play inside last year at Lucas Park. We told them, "Hey, we're really going to make people frown. We'll have a big crash right next to that seventeen-dollar entrée! We should probably be outside." So they moved us outside on the patio and there were a bunch of people out there. The wind was whipping around crazy and it really felt like we were on a boat or something. I remember it being the first warm night of the summer. It felt like a party.
Sult: I remember we ran into Scripts N Screwz on the street that day. We met Syrhea of Syna So Pro, and we talked to Flaming Death Trap for the first time. It was a really great day for band members to run into each other. We got to talk to Matt Harnish, Troubador Dali... It really was a band get together--a chance to actually meet the members of all these bands we knew of. I thought that was really cool aspect.
What's the status on your new album that's due to come out, Infinity City?
Sult: Well, the album is due out June, we believe. We've had a number of delays; some self-imposed and some not. We're getting closer though. We're putting it out on Euclid Records, and they have been nothing but helpful and supportive. We recorded a bunch of it with Jason Hutto (Warm Jets USA), and we recorded some of it in Chicago. But it's been a long--everything about this album has been taking a long time. It's only natural that the very last step is taking longer than we expected, as well. But the album is due out very soon on both cd and vinyl.
What's the significance of the title?
Brubeck: Well, we use a lot of city sounds. We have a song about our old neighborhood in Chicago that was written kind of as a letter to a friend in New York. We have a song called "Run With St. Louis" that we wrote when we got here. So there are a lot of city references on this record. And when we first moved here, we were kind of blurring together St. Louis and Chicago and Seattle. It felt right to refer to this mash-up of cities that was happening in our brains.
Sult: And since that phrase occurred to us, it's become a shorthand for us in a sense that things that are universal to cities. Or having an experience that spans cities. Like when you're on a corner in St. Louis and it looks like a corner in Knoxville, TN. Or you're in Seattle and the weather reminds of a day you spent in New York. There are a million ways in which you can feel yourself experiencing infinity city.
Do you have intentions to get out of St. Louis to tour on this new album?
Brubeck: We are going to be doing some touring. We just got back in town last week from playing shows in Tennessee and Atlanta. We have some shows booked in New York at the end of July.
Sult: We're going to be doing some shows on the west coast in September. There will be a lot of playing outside of town. It's funny, it kind of feels like one of the missions of Infinity City is that if you are going to call your album that, you really have to get out and prove it, you know.