Interview with Jared Cunningham of Sing Me Insomnia

Photo: Brett Arthur

What does Sing Me Insomnia mean?

It’s definitely open to interpretation, but what it means to us is that we just want to make music that gets people excited and wakes them up, as opposed to music that just puts people to sleep. So it’s like fun, exciting music that gives people energy. Especially with our live shows, it’s so much about energy.

Nice. When did the band’s self-titled EP come out?

That came out a year ago. It was February 16, 2010.

David Pavluk from The Downtown Fiction produced it, right?

Yeah, he produced it.

Did you go back to him for your new EP ‘No Time To Waste’?

No, this new EP we did with a producer from [Washington] DC named Paul Barber. He’s worked with My Favorite Highway, Steve Moakler, and The Bigger Lights. We really liked a lot of his stuff. Once we started talking to him, we both wanted to go in the same direction.

Cool. When were the songs for the EP written?

While we were finishing up the first EP, I was writing more songs. I would write a song and then be like, “Man, I really like this song. I wish it could have been on the EP.” By the time we released our first EP, I was already itching to record more and get the new songs out. They were all written — if not in their entirety, then partially — this summer. I just kind of locked myself in my bedroom and pumped out 20 to 25 demos. Then we just narrowed it down to the top three. After that, we added an acoustic song.

Did you have all the songs written before going into the studio with Paul?

Yeah, I had all the songs written before we went to the studio. We started talking to him in July and we wanted to get working with him that summer, but he was busy and we had a tour. We ended up not recording till October. It took us two weeks once we were in the studio to get the three songs down. We probably could have gotten it done a lot quicker, but we wanted to make sure everything we were doing was exactly the way we wanted it to be. We didn’t want to rush the product. We wanted to be able to say that we’re really proud of it — and we definitely are.

Compared to your EP from a year ago, is ‘Not Time To Waste’ coming from a different place?

I think we’re definitely in a different place. On the first EP, all the songs were written while I was still in high school. I had much more of a narrow mindset in high school. These newer songs were written after a year of college and living on my own. I think you can tell that I’ve opened my mind up a little bit to things besides just girls and love songs.

Totally. Would you say there’s a theme to the new EP?

I think the theme for the new EP is escaping. Whether physically getting away from where you are, or escaping from habits, or escaping from someone you don’t really want to be. That was something I definitely wanted to do while writing this — have a theme. All the songs are about getting away from something.

Tell me about the song “We Are Young.”

“We Are Young” is like the rebellious love song that’s about getting away from authority and being irresponsible. The other songs are more about physically getting away from the small town and doing bigger things.

The town that you’re in right now is pretty small?

Yeah, in Charlottesville there’s a college and then there’s nothing else going on. There’s also nothing going on around Northern Virginia.

Do you guys have any upcoming touring plans?

We definitely want to get on the road. We’re a little limited right now with how much of that we can be doing because our youngest member Marshall [Cunningham], who’s my brother, is still in high school. So we have to wait until he graduates. We definitely don’t want to stick around Northern Virginia forever.

Who do you see yourself on the road with in the future?

When we started actually going hard and doing it right, the guys from The Downtown Fiction completely took us under their wing and taught us most of the stuff that we know. They taught us all about the right way to do marketing and all that stuff. So, definitely doing some more stuff with them in the future would be awesome because they’re like our big brothers. I think one of our favorite bands is Relient K. We all really look up to Relient K and we like some of their messages. I think it would be awesome for us to eventually play with them. That’s one of my dreams at least.

Have you seen them live a few times?

Oh yeah, I saw them last fall with Paramore and it was awesome.

Do you think that you’ll eventually expand on the idea of this new EP and turn it into a full-length?

I definitely would like to expand on this idea. I think when we first went into the studio, we were like, “Well, these are the three songs that most accurately depict the direction we want to take.” The three songs I’m referring to are “We Are Young,” “At The Wheel,” and “Getaway.” We tracked “Stand Your Ground,” the acoustic song, as a bonus track later on. We were originally planning on doing a 5-song EP and then we decided to narrow it down to those three, just to give whoever is listening an idea of where we want to go next. Hopefully it gets people’s attention and they want to get involved and help us evolve towards that. The EP is definitely a stepping stone — I could see those three songs on a full-length.

What’s up next for the band?

We’re going to keep writing. We actually have a whole bunch of demos already ready for another release.

Awesome. Thanks for taking the time to chat, Jared.

Thanks a lot, man.

Pick up Sing Me Insomnia’s new EP, No Time To Waste.