Caleb Hodges, lead vocalist of Art of Sleeping, is a night owl. “Ever since I was a young boy I had trouble falling asleep. That’s just what I’ve done my whole life. It sounds token, but when I was a teenager I would end up plucking the guitar or writing songs down. I guess lack of sleep turned into an art form for me. And for some people, sleeping is an art form in itself.”
So it was during the wee hours of the morning that Caleb was at his most creative, stirring not only the songs of Brisbane’s Art of Sleeping into existence, but also the name itself. And while his musical counterparts may not share the same sleep-related frustrations, they do see eye-to-eye on a creative level.
“There’s a theme that we all agree on when it comes to our music. We aim to always have a level of integrity musically and lyrically. We don’t want to create something that feels contrived or forced. We want to create something that’s real and something that resonates.”
It all started when Caleb met Jean-Paul Malengret (drums) and Jarryd Shuker (keys) through mutual friends. Jean-Paul and Jarryd had already formed a bond that was founded on a series of innocent jam sessions and noting that they had similar musical interests, invited Caleb along.
The band’s origins may not be all that remarkable, but it was from these humble and rather ordinary beginnings that the five-piece developed naturally, away from any pre-conceived idea of what their sound would become.
“When JP and I started jamming together we never played with the intention to become a ‘band’ so to speak. We wanted to keep it to us just doing what we enjoyed and not forcing anything from it,” explains Jarryd. “Though, when Caleb brought in some of his ideas for us to write with, that desire to keep it to just playing tunes disappeared, and we suddenly wanted to record.”
Stumbling upon guitarist Patrick Silver at a blues night in Brisbane’s West End, the then reluctant ‘band’ extended an invitation to join their modest musical collective. When the time came to recruit a bass guitarist, Jean-Paul’s brother and Jarryd’s schoolmate Francois was the perfect choice, adding new drive to the band.
From there, the band honed their sound, combining the diverse elements and influences that would later see them win hearts with breakthrough single ‘Empty Hands’. But beneath the driving choruses and soaring riffs for which Art of Sleeping are known, there is a message that delves a little deeper.