Cat videos, screen printing and an indie band
Drummer Evan Sult, one half of the St. Louis garage pop duo Sleepy Kitty, is also one half of the St. Louis screen printing outfit Sleepy Kitty Arts. His two professional enterprises – an indie band and a company that makes posters for indie bands – are intertwined.
Designing music, writing about music and playing music came together for Sult at the same time, when he was in college in 1991 in Seattle, a historic time in rock history with the rise of alternative music. The do-it-yourself side of music then came together with the DIY side of music now, when Sult met the other half of Sleepy Kitty, Paige Brubeck, in Chicago years later. She was doing the same kind of stuff design-wise, but screen printing on an apartment floor. Now they feed off each other, collaborating on posters and collaborating songs, a process that is really kind of similar, Sult said. Both have the same satisfaction of construction, he said.
“A poster is more like a recording – when it’s done it’s done. With songs, you perform them again and again in different places. Songs are more likely to be about our lives. … The more I separate it, the more they seem similar. I can draw an analog between conceiving, designing and printing a poster and the same with music,” Sult said.
Sult and Brubeck are both originally from St. Louis. Sleepy Kitty the band began as a college class project of Brubeck’s in 2007. Both were in different bands that were winding down, and joining forces for Sleepy Kitty let them do more of the music they wanted. The rock duo performs Monday at Motorco Music Hall in Durham. Sult talked with The Herald-Sun by phone Wednesday from a tour stop in Nashville, a city with a really great garage rock scene, he said.
Sleepy Kitty’s first full-length album was “Infinity City” on Euclid Records out of St. Louis. Their next will be “Projection Room,” coming out in January. This round of shows will feature music from both.
“The music is finished, but an album is more than the music,” Sult said. So over the next few months they’ll be playing shows, making videos and letting people know about it.
“An album goes from future tense to past tense – from about to come out to an old album,” he said, so they’re holding onto that time.
Sult and Brubeck moved back to St. Louis because they found a giant old building for really cheap, he said. The whole city is open as a place for creative people doing art and launching new businesses, he said. But they still have an apartment in Chicago because “Chicago is Chicago. We have friends there. There’s a great music scene and it’s the center of the Midwest,” he said.
Having just two members of a band is a challenge that forces them to be inventive, Sult said. It changes his style of drumming. Brubeck added a pedal and they live-loop vocals. With a two-piece, Sult said, there’s a magic of how minimal you can go and be the maximum.
“It seems like there’s not going to be enough, but wow, there is,” he said.
As for the name Sleepy Kitty, Sult and Brubeck are not immune to amusing cat videos. In this case, of course, a kitty falling asleep.
“It was a moment of relief that cracked us up,” he said. “It turned out to be an enjoyable name because people show us pictures of their cats. We’re not obsessed with cats, but we love cats.”
Their own sleepy kitty, named Yul Brynner, is well cared for at home when they’re on the road, he said.
WANT TO GO?
WHO: Sleepy Kitty
WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday
WHERE: Motorco Music Hall
723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham