Luke Jaeger of Sleep Terror: The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview

I’ve always been a huge fan of Luke Jaeger’s brainchild Sleep Terror. His brand of instrumental funky shred death is very unique, and his DIY formula is very inspiring. He’s taken the time to do an interview with us, which you can read below. If you somehow haven’t heard of Luke or Sleep Terror, you should definitely check out his material over on Bandcamp!

How and when did you start to play the guitar?

I picked it up at 11 pretty much. I was obsessed with music from an early age and felt it was long overdue to begin even then.

How did you get the idea to create Sleep Terror?

I always wanted to set out and do my own thing. I remember from as early as 12 or 13 writing a lot of my own stuff, recording my own ideas on 4-tracks and crappy cassette players. After many of the influences melded and death metal became a huge staple of my life it pretty much came into place. There was never a specific formula, it was just writing and playing many styles of music that I love and making it one entity.

Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process? How do you do your magic?

Nothing really scientific. Usually I will create a riff or two and let it flow from there. I write alone so there is no process. I don’t really do the ‘Circle of 5ths’ or stare at drawings for inspiration, shit usually just happens.

Your new material is awesome. I like the increased emphasis on Latin/Flamenco and groovy elements. How has the 8-string affected your composition? How did you decide to switch to 8 strings?

Sometimes I’ll take a break from the 8-string but every time I come back and write more stuff, I realize why I switched to it in the first place. I felt like I pushed my limits with the 6 after so many years and recordings, it felt time to expand and it really drew so much out of me.

I’ve seen your videos on youtube. Near the trem of your guitar, there seems to be a weird device. What is that? What does it do?

It’s a Roland GK-3 pickup sensor that mimics nifty sounds like sitar, synth, and all kinds of weird shit via MIDI units like Roland GR-55 or VG-88. I get my cleans from that pickup by setting it to mimic a telecaster. It is a lifesaver for this weird, varied type of music :) .

Your material is now on Bandcamp. How is that working out for you? What do you think about the opportunities the internet provides for ‘bedroom’ artists like you?

Social media is a lifesaver for people like me. Myspace was the start, but I think Facebook is starting to catch up in slow ways to what the old Myspace was.. albeit the layout and search engines aren’t up to par. Bandcamp has been so far so good, simple layout and you get paid instantly. Beats the shit out of all these 3rd party mp3 retailers who hold what little money you make and set a minimum on you every 3 months? What a crock. Youtube is excellent for generally being seen and exposed of course, I’ve had a great time filming the music and putting up guitar videos and such. It keeps people hyped up on the tunes and develops a word-of-mouth wildfire.

You took a while off from Sleep Terror for a few years. What happened? How did you decide to come back?

Just different times, different projects I was focusing on. Moving around. My heart was a little out of it for a moment but I have been pretty consistent releasing tracks and progressing with it. I think people get the impression that I was ”off” because we stopped touring and playing live but realistically I never really quit my own baby.

So, is there any chance we’ll be seeing Sleep Terror play any live shows again?

I would love nothing more than to tour this again but people really have no idea of the financial requirements to make that stuff happen. I barely stay afloat paying my bills and affording the food I eat on a monthly basis. Funding the travel expenses to meet up with other players or hiring/flying out the musicians necessary who can actually PLAY this material (very few if any that I’ve seen) is a distant reality in my life. Considering we are not supported by a label who will help us with those things either doesn’t help, but even beyond that we have to honestly look at the current state of music from the artist’s point of view. Everything is stolen. People bitch about $15 shirts and will go lengths to download music for free. It basically leaves us with nothing to support ourselves or fund our music so we CAN tour and release albums. There are great, true fans out there who do support and buy the music and I love them truly. But the majority of people just don’t get it unfortunately, and they’re usually the same ones that bitch about why you haven’t made a new record. The only thing that keeps me writing and putting stuff out is for my own love for the music I create. It keeps me sane.

 

Over the past few years, you’ve gotten really ripped. What pushed you to do this?

I just got sick of being flabby and skinny. I couldn’t stand seeing photos of myself anymore. But I think the real motivator happened in 2009 though when I developed a profound crush on this waitress girl who ended up turning me down multiple times hah hah. It set a fire on me, bodybuilding became a form of revenge and it’s almost as if it has become an addiction because of the rewards and emotional gratifications that comes with the hobby.

Speaking of working out, do you have any advice for budding guitar players who want to be awesome like you?

Always stay on the prowl for inspiration, and don’t set any limits on yourself and the music you want to put out there.

Make sure you check out Sleep Terror’s Bandcamp for all of his songs at $1 a piece, and also follow him on Facebook.

– NT

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