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SLC band Sunsleeper grabs national attention

SLC band Sunsleeper grabs national attention

(Aurea Lux Photography)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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Editor's note: does a monthly feature on local musicians/bands in the community. If you have an up-and-coming band/musician in mind, feel free to email your submission to Please include a contact email for the artist, if available.SALT LAKE CITY — What Rolling Stone magazine is to rock music, Alternative Press is to punk, emo and hardcore music. So when Salt Lake City’s Sunsleeper were featured in Alternative Press — even before releasing a full-length album — it was a pretty big deal.

“When we heard we were going to be featured in Alternative Press, we were blown away,” said Jeffery Mudgett, who sings and plays guitar in the band. “We're very grateful and completely flattered by their interest in our band.”

The magazine writer was impressed by the group (which includes Mudgett, guitarist Thys Pendley, drummer Scott Schilling and bassist Eli Freebairn) because of the strength of its debut EP “Stay the Same.” Alternative Press called Sunsleeper a standout among emo bands, thanks to its “emotional vocals and intense lyrics.”

Mudgett said the national exposure has been great for the band.

“It adds a certain credibility being featured by a publication like Alternative Press, which in turn has resulted in more people keeping their eye on us,” he said.

Mudgett traces his love of emo music back to his high school days, when he was first introduced to the genre’s heaviest hitter, Brand New.

“In high school, my best friend and I were avid fans of the band," he said. "Their music inspired us to begin writing music, which led to us starting several bands together. This eventually got me interested in the bands that inspired Brand New to write music. I discovered Archers of Loaf, Built to Spill, Jawbreaker and Neutral Milk Hotel, all of whom have had an immense influence on my writing in Sunsleeper.”

Though the term "emo" has been both embraced and scorned by bands over the years, Sunsleeper has nothing but love for the title.

“To us, the term doesn't hold any kind of derogatory or negative connotation," Mudgett said. "Many of the bands we draw inspiration from are emo bands — American Football, Sunny Day Real Estate, Braid. Since we share similar attributes with some of them, we find emo as a suitable way to describe our music.”

Though the band has only existed for just over a year, it has already covered a lot of ground. In addition to releasing the EP, Sunsleeper has already logged a tour with Stepbrothers from Boise and is now gearing up for shows across the western U.S. with the band Keyes.

“We're very excited to hit the road again,” Mudgett said. “We all love traveling, seeing new places and making new friends. We're looking forward to hanging out with Keyes, who will be playing the entire tour with us. I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to play music and travel with such great people. There's nothing better.”

It’s shaping up to be an intense year for Sunsleeper. In addition to its upcoming tour, the band will release “Stay the Same” in physical formats, shoot several videos, head back out on tour, write new material and hopefully record a full-length album, Mudgett said.

“We're staying busy for sure,“ he said.

Check out their album, “Stay the Same,” on the group’s Bandcamp page.

![Spencer Sutherland](\.jpg?filter=ksl/65x65)
About the Author: Spencer Sutherland \------------------------------------

Spencer Sutherland has been writing about music for various Utah publications for more than a decade. He is also the author of the forthcoming graphic novel Worst. Missionary. Ever. Email him at


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