Don’t Sleep are preparing to release their sophomore album, ‘See Change.’ The 9-track LP was co-produced by the GRAMMY-nominated team of Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland (August Burns Red, Silverstein) and will be out on June 2 via End Hits Records.
The band, made up of Dave Smalley (DAG NASTY, ALL, DOWN BY LAW, DYS) on vocals, bassist Garrett Rothman (Junction), drummer Jim Bedorf, and guitarists Tom McGrath (Very Americans) and Tony Bavaria (The Commercials, Very Americans), has released the first single “Promise Made,” along with a Josh Nesmith-directed music video, which is now streaming HERE.
Of the track, Smalley says, “”We believe in the promise made — keep in mind the promise made!” This is a song about hardcore and growing up in this music, one that is much more than just notes — hardcore means taking care of each other, and trying to make things better, one day at a time, against all odds, starting with ourselves. As a line in the song says: “It shaped me, and it shaped you!” Chances are if you are reading these words, you are a hardcore lifer. That is awesome! It doesn’t mean you have to listen to hc 24/7 — although that is certainly cool too — and there is huge value in other genres of music — metal, reggae and ska, jazz, you name it, But for sure, punk rock and hardcore refined us, from putty into steel. This song is sort of the grown-up continuation to that idea, which is: we’re still going. We believe in the promise made. In that way I guess it’s kind of a love song to hardcore.”
He adds, “The video for “Promise Made” depicts a day in the life of a fictional young band called Fear of Failure getting ready to play a big show in their hometown.
We follow the DIY band as they put up flyers around town (including handing out flyers in a cameo appearance to Don’t Sleep members Tony Bavaria and Garrett Rothman), rehearse their set, load equipment into the venue and finally rock out on stage. The twist at the end of the video is one that anyone who’s ever started a band can relate to.
The fictional band includes Evan McGrath on guitar, whose father Tom McGrath plays guitar in Don’t Sleep, Garrett Rothman’s son Theo on bass, and Izzy Howard on guitar, whose father Josh Howard plays bass in legendary punk band The Virus. The video was directed and edited by Josh Nesmith.”
Whoever said lightning only strikes once clearly has not met Dave Smalley.
From being right in the middle at the birth of US hardcore punk with DYS to creating the blueprint of melodic hardcore with DAG NASTY, from helping to invent pop punk as we know it with ALL to finding himself in the middle of the west coast punk explosion of the 90s with DOWN BY LAW: Smalley was always on the forefront every time hardcore punk stretched its envelope.
While others may use a legacy like that as an excuse to take it a little slower Dave Smalley has no intention to rest on his laurels and keeps writing new music and releasing records.
When he founded DON’T SLEEP with fellow east coast punk rockers Garrett Rothman, Tony Bavaria, Jim Bedorf and Tom McGrath in 2017 the world was more than excited about seeing him front a fast yet melodic hardcore band again.
Being motivated by the immense positive feedback DON’T SLEEP was finally ready to release its debut album “Turn the tide” in 2020. And then the world came to a grinding halt. But after the dust settled all five members decided that DON’T SLEEP was too important to not overcome all obstacles thrown in their way.
The five piece went back into the rehearsal room, finished 8 original songs and added an amazing TOM PETTY cover to the mix. The result is DON’T SLEEP’s second full length “See Change” and it will see the light of day on JUNE 2nd, 2023 worldwide via End Hits Records.
It is a record that combines all elements you have liked about Dave Smalley’s music in the past while sounding incredibly contemporary in the here and now.
“DON’T SLEEP is very much a combination of five distinct friends coming together and making a unique sound”, Smalley says. “It is a rare thing to have such cool synergy and energy and end up focused like a laser beam. It is powerful, melodic and purposeful. We respect and love the common roots we all grew up in and are coming together to make a sound with that as our foundation, but also looking to the future and growing.”
Big help to make “See Change” sound so fresh and current came from an unlikely pair of producers, the Grammy award winning team of Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland.
Guitarist Tony Bavaria explains the unusual choice:
“While they’ve worked a lot in the metalcore world (i.e. August Burns Red, Polaris) they’ve also done some really great sounding rock records for bands like Live, Candlebox, and Everclear. But they are also local hardcore / punk guys we knew for almost twenty years. Knowing how talented they are and the diversity of their work, we really wanted to see what they would be able to bring to the table. It was awesome to have the opportunity to work with them in a world class studio that would probably not be available to a hardcore band like us!”
The end result couldn’t be more of a testament to the shared chemistry between band and producers. From the blazing hardcore opener “Harrisburg Graves” to the catchy mid-tempo punk rock of “Promise Made”, from the epic chorus of “20.20” to the subtle off beat and reggae leanings of “Love is the suture”:
There is something here for all Smalley and punk fans, no matter what of his projects you first fell in love with while the powerful modern production sounds very rooted in the here and now.
Along the catchiness and amazing musical energy DON’T SLEEP’s “See Change” is also full of lyrical inspiration – as you would expect from a band fronted by Dave Smalley.
Bassist Garreth elaborates: “I think we’ve always had the perspective of seeing music and punk/hardcore as a positive force, where the people involved can make a difference in the world around them. It’s been reflected in our name and in our album title “See Change”. If you see injustice or something that needs to change in your surroundings, make it happen, visualize it, “See Change”, know it’s possible, and work to make it better.”
So, let’s just hope that this lightning will strike again and again.
“See Change will be released worldwide by End Hits Records on JUNE 2nd 2023 on limited colored vinyl with two different cover options (one for North America and one for Europe/UK). The digipack CD version will contain 8 bonus songs that have not been available on compact disc before.