Sir Sly hopes to make second album ‘personally valuable’
Sir Sly opened for Kongos at The Blue Note on Monday night.
The Sir Sly boys like to move quickly.
Take Jason Suwito’s edgy dance beats, paired perfectly with vocalist Landon Jacobs’ made-for-alt voice (plus wonderful lyrics) and drummer Hayden Coplen’s almost tribal technique — it’s no surprise the group has blown up so quickly in the alternative music sphere.
Sir Sly opened for Kongos on Monday at The Blue Note. They put on an energetic live performance that they echo with equal fervor in their album and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Coplen and Jacobs met as teenagers playing together at church. They met Suwito through mutual friends in the industry, and then the three began to make music.
“We were just writing for fun,” Suwito says of the group in its early stages. “We wanted to make music that we liked listening to.”
They published some of their stuff online, and it quickly gained a following. The group is nothing if not decisive and soon made Sir Sly a full-time gig.
“Two weeks later, we were like, ‘Let’s devote all our time to it,’”Jacobs says.
In an epic understatement, Suwito and Coplen agreed that the band had a ‘pretty quick’ turnover in becoming professional.
Six months after that decision, they were playing at SXSW.
“It’s funny now, like looking back it feels like that’s so small,” Jacobs says. Contextually though, he notes, it’s incredibly fast for a new band.
For Copeland, the defining moment in Sir Sly’s legitimacy was being able to call his mom and tell her he could pay her back the money he’d been borrowing. For Jacobs, it was pressing send on an email quitting his job at Starbucks.
The band came out with their first full-length album, “You Haunt Me,” in September 2014. Sir Sly mixed and recorded the album entirely in Suwito’s home studio (which I hear is pretty impressive).
They started out by focusing on quantity and churning out as many songs as possible, ending up with a solid 40 or so.
“We had a lot of good stuff to choose from,” Copeland says. And a lot of bad to throw out, as Jacobs added.
Now that they’re on tour, they’ve taken a break from working on a second album. It’s given them some time to breathe and reflect on the work they’ve already put out in comparison to what they want to make in the future.
The band’s influences and sound are constantly evolving, and this will definitely be evident in their second album.
“I think we’re gaining a lot more respect for paying attention to the really small details that you can get out of making music electronically,” Jacobs says.
Sir Sly has a lot of the same rhythmic sense, but their maturity will be evident between the albums, Jacobs says.
Given the sophistication of the on-stage conversation between Copeland and Suwito as Jacobs’ lyricism dances over top, I can’t imagine they’ll disappoint.
And “You Haunt Me”? Well, the single made it to Alt Nation’s third slot on the Alt 18 countdown (best radio station ever, y’all, and where I heard these guys first).
The album itself was No. 76 on the Billboard 200 and No. 14 on the alternative chart. That’s pretty damn impressive.
As for the actual release of a second album, it’s about a third of the way done.
“We’ve written a handful of songs,” Copeland says. “The album is certainly still taking shape.”
They say they want to release music faster this time, though.
“If you cease to make music, you’re a band that was,” Jacobs says. “It makes sense to be able to release music as current as it’s made. You don’t make music in a vacuum.”
In the Internet age, where music can be released with the push of a button, Sir Sly is trying to find a way to continue to make the process important.
“It no longer feels special,” Copeland says. “It did three years ago … but it doesn’t feel that way anymore. It doesn’t feel personal; it doesn’t feel like it takes any effort. That’s what we’re thinking about when we want to release new music: What’s an effective way to do that?”
“Not even effective, but just personally valuable,” Jacobs says. “What’s our favorite way to release that? What makes that special to us?”
When they look back, Hayden ended, Sir Sly just wants to know they did the best they could.