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The Daily Tar Heel

Q&A with local band propersleep


propersleep, a local band, is playing at Slim's Downtown in Raleigh. Photo by Alex Murdock.

A local band signed to Cardigan Records, propersleep, is performing at Slim’s Downtown in Raleigh this Friday at 9 p.m. Their sound is reminiscent of the emo and pop-punk sound from the 2000s. It's almost nostalgic, reminding you of the days when you’d blast CDs in your room by Paramore, Fall Out Boy or Taking Back Sunday, and your mom would ask you to turn the music down. Their EP, "Transitions," was released in August of 2017, and propersleep’s full-length record is expected to be released later this year.  

Staff writer Emma Strickland spoke with the members of propersleep (Benjamin Young, guitar, vocals; Scott Jackson, drums; Andrew McGinn, bass, vocals) about their upcoming concert, what it means to be punk and the experience of performing. 

The Daily Tar Heel: How did propersleep start? 

Benjamin Young: We started about two and a half years ago, and we’ve all just been friends over the last 10-12 years and have been in various different bands — some together, some not. Yeah, we just got together and started writing songs and it turned into what it is now.

DTH: What have been some challenges in staying together through the years?

BY: I think one challenge is longevity and being motivated, like staying motivated throughout everything — because you work on something for so long, and it’s really easy to just feel drained or a little jaded, but that’s what’s cool when you have, you know, two people that all are in it for the same reason. We help each other pull ourselves out and to keep us forward. 

Scott Jackson: For me, I’d actually say, yeah, there hasn’t been much of a challenge of staying together because the three of us, we all do a good job of being honest, holding each other accountable and communicating well. And we’re all driven by the same things, and we have the same common goal. So it’s actually been more of just a growing — we’ve grown together, which is for me, personally, being the drummer, the guy behind everything, it’s been great. You know, it’s definitely the best band experience I’ve been in. 

BY: There’s so many different challenges trying to pursue music, from trying to get shows, to recording a record, getting on the road. But we’ve been really lucky and blessed to come in contact with people who give us a chance. It’s just been like people helping us along the way — it’s definitely not anything we’ve done ourselves. It’s been a collective. 

DTH: What are some of your favorite songs to perform? What’s your favorite part about performing?

Andrew McGinn: You sort of get lost in the sauce in a way. Just because how much we do love music and what it’s done to us in our lives and what we want it to do in the future. It’s really just getting lost in the set more than really any specific song.

SJ: It’s pretty funny because we all actually – we enjoy these songs so much in an equal manner that when we put set lists together, I mean I feel like we hardly ever play the same set, because it’s always a reflection of our mood or the moment when we’re putting the songs together. There’s never a song that gets left out or that’s not a part of whatever we’re trying to put together. 

DTH: Can your music can be described as pop-punk/emo? I don’t want to define it myself.

BY: We haven’t been able to either. That was something that bugged me to be honest when we first started, they’d be like “I don’t know where to put you guys,” and I think I took that negatively for so long, but then I realized that’s actually cool, because it kind of gives us the space to really be creative. Pop-punk and emo, that’s definitely been what we hear the most. 

DTH: I was wondering, because I was driving in the car with my mom one time and a Fall Out Boy song came on the radio and she was surprised that I liked it. And I was like, “Of course, I listen to pop-punk,” and she had no idea what “pop-punk” was because she grew up listening to punk and I had a hard time explaining it to her. So I’m wondering how has the definition of “punk” transformed over the years? And what does that mean to you?

BY: It’s crazy, I think punk – people had different opinions on what punk is. You know, some people, you have to be either, view society and politics and the government in one way and that’s what makes you punk, and others are like, "No, it’s just like the music, the passion, the energy." I think when I came into punk and pop-punk — probably more the pop-punk side, like I love the power of the music of punk, but I love the catchy melodies and the vocals of, I guess, what you would call pop-punk. The first band I ever heard that was a band called MXPX — a Christian pop-punk band, but like have very punk roots, so through them I was able to go back and see what influenced them — like Black Flag, the Descendents. The way punk has evolved I think definitely more in the poppy realm. I think right now pop-punk is finding itself again. 

DTH: Should we expect some new music to be released soon?

BY: Yes. We have a full-length, already recorded, getting mixed and mastered right now. I think we’re looking at a June, mid-June release date. We’re gonna do a release show and everything. We’re really, really stoked on that. Hopefully we’ll do some videos and media stuff, like social content. We also play Local 506 on Valentine’s Day. 


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