Sleeper Agent Interview

2011 has been good to Sleeper Agent so far. Having just gotten off the road with buddies Cage the Elephant and getting signed by Mom and Pop Records, the band’s making waves and starting to get their feet further off the ground. They released the track “Get It Daddy” last week on their site for free and are about to head out on the road again soon. We emailed them some questions during the break. Check it out.

Why did you guys start the band?

Tony: We started the band back in 2008 to make some extra money at bars. We didn’t really take it too seriously. Back then, Justin (the drummer) was the singer. Most of our songs were silly fictitious scenarios about drinking and women. For some reason we got pretty popular really quick on a local level, which led to some “industry interest”. We ran out of fumes a year or so later and our band dissolved. Justin and I wanted to keep playing under the name so we asked Alex (a local coffee house crooner at the time) to play bass. I was going to take up vocal duties and Justin was going to get behind the kit (his instrument of choice). Turns out, Alex sucked at bass but she still wanted to be a part of the band. After pestering me for months about it, we buckled and let her sing. There’s a few videos on YouTube from these 3-piece days.

How long have you guys been playing music together?

Tony: Our current 6-piece line-up has been together since July 2010. However, Alex, Justin and I have been playing together since January 2010.

What’s in the name? Why did you choose to name the band Sleeper Agent?

Tony: I came up with the name in College after a two season binge of Battlestar Galactica. Since then, the name has taken on it’s own meaning. We often tell people, “imagine a sleeper agent in your bed”.

What do your nicknames mean (i.e. Alex “Kidd” Kandel, Tony “Tutone” Smith, etc.)?

Well, it’s just a lot of fun to be silly. But, there’s a little history in each.

Kidd-Alex is the youngest.

Tutone-Tony was repairing a busted guitar once and accidentally put two tone knobs on it instead of the standard volume/tone.

Keyser-Justin loves The Usual Suspects.

Grizzlee-Lee looks like Grizzly Adams. Have you seen that kid’s ginger beard?

Saga-When Scott was a pup, he had a ridiculous rap project called “Silent Saga”. Reckon that’s a reference to that.

You just got off tour with Cage the Elephant. What’s the craziest thing you guys have seen/done while on tour so far?

Alex: Watching Scott stage dive at the end of Cage’s set in a way-too-tight vintage cheerleader outfit.

Tony: Smooching a stranger in a gorilla costume on stage. Turned out it was one of Cage’s girlfriends. My bad.

You guys have been picking up steam in the past few months and you just started to put out songs. What’s your response to all of this? Things getting stressful or are you guys just enjoying the ride?

We love it! Bring it on! 110% enjoyment through and through.

What do you guys do when you’re not making music? What are your day jobs?

Alex: No day jobs. We’ve all made some huge financial sacrifices to do this full time. But, before we ruined our credit, Tony and I worked as baristas and event planners at failing cafe (it’s closed now). Tony and Scott also had a stint working for a purse website doing data entry. Fun stuff.

What have you guys been listening to, reading and watching lately?

Alex: Listening to Dum Dum Girls, Yuck and constantly reading Yeats.

Tony: Loving the new Girls EP “Broken Dreams Club” and Smith Westerns album. I’m a Science Fiction junkie so I’m re-reading Stranger in a Strange land.

We’re all watching Shameless, Californication, Episodes, Louie, Tosh.0 and when it’s in season, South Park.

If you could wipe one band from existence, who would it be?


What was your guys’ first rock n roll concert? Not the first band your parents dragged you to, but the one that made you say “fuck picking cotton, and waiting to be forgotten. I want to do that!”?

Tony: Audio Adrenaline. I was 10 and they came to Bowling Green. I was allowed to go because they were Christian rock (I was raised in a somewhat strict Catholic family) and so it was deemed “Okay” by my folks. As silly as it seems, it ingrained an urge to do music in me. Funny you mentioned picking cotton because the first concert I was dragged to was Alabama who’ve got a few songs about that lovely “fabric of our lives”.

Alex: Fiona Apple. Not really rock and roll exactly, but it fascinated me at age 13 to see someone crying and having a complete emotional breakdown in the middle of a song.

Lee: Phish. Weird, I know, but when I was twelve my best friend and I convinced his dad to drive us five hours to see them play in Deer Creek, IN on what was, at the time, supposed to be their last tour. I still have never seen anything quite like that parking lot scene.

Scott’s was 50 Cent/Eminem was he was about 13. That must’ve been a riot. Marylin’s a pretty cool mom.

Justin came out of the womb “devil-horns” first.

Your album, Celabrasion, hasn’t been released yet and until a couple of days ago, the only way to hear tracks were live shows or the snippets from the album teaser. Since the teaser has been up since August of last year, why the wait to put out the mastered tracks?

Well, we had a lot ducks and they weren’t exactly in a row.

Do you guys have an idea about the release date?

It’s an upbeat record, so we’re hoping for a late Spring release. We don’t think releasing a record called Celabrasion in the dead of winter would fair too well. Bah, Humbug!

Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, and Oprah? You gotta fuck one, marry one and kill one. GO!

Justin: Kill Lady Gaga, fuck Sarah Palin, and marry Oprah.

What are you drinking?

IPAs, Arnold Palmers, Orange soda, Powerade, water, Bulleit, Beam, Sailor Jerry, a lot of coffee, diet Mtn Dew (God forbid) and the occasional Red Bull/Jameson/Jaeger off Cage’s rider. But only by those 21+! WOOT!…

Words of wisdom?

“I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it throughly!”

Thanks dudes. Check them out when they hit the road soon.

Tour dates:

March 31 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
April 1 Louisville, KY @ Headliners
April 2 Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythm & Brews
April 4 Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
April 5 Knoxville, TN @ Valarium
April 6 Little Rock, AR @ Rev Room
April 8 Fayetteville, AR @ George’s Majestic Lounge
April 9 Columbia, MO @ Blue Note


Celebrasion Teaser

Tour Cherry EP I: Boulder

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