State of the Nation: Sleepyboy share their playlist for Brexit Britain

Like most of us, regardless of which side of the argument we’re on, Peterborough based duo Sleepyboy have had enough of Brexit.  However unlike the rest of us they’ve distilled their frustrations into a three and a half minute grunge-punk anthem in the form of new single ‘iSlAnD’.
“The song, plain and simply is about the current state of the UK,” say the band. “It plays on the fact we are literally on an island, we are on our own, we import everything and we need all of the help we can get”.

In keeping with its subject matter, the song was recorded across multiple locations: the drums in an old church hall, the guitars and bass in the games room of Stanley Kubrick’s Manor and the vocals in a village hall where the band used to put on metal concerts as teenagers.

We caught up with Sleepyboy to talk about current issues in our national politics and asked them to curate a playlist of the bands capturing the state of the nation.


It’s been a long, twisting and largely unpleasant road on the journey to whatever Brexit may or may not end up being, let alone everything else that’s been going on in our politics in recent years.  What was the final tipping point at which you felt compelled to write a song about it?

I think honestly it’s been brewing for a while.  Let’s be honest it’s an absolute joke, no-one has a clue what’s going on and 3 years later it’s still the same. I guess the tipping point was after the hype around the online petition calling for a second referendum, this was a real example of the people speaking out and trying to do something against this monstrosity.

Being based in London, surrounded by people who voted remain back in 2016, it’s pretty easy to get a skewed vision of where the country stands at the moment.  What’s the mood like in Peterborough, where the vote was 60% leave and The Brexit Party topped the polls in the EU elections?

Honestly the mood is not great, I’d say it’s fairly divided but sadly it seems to have succumbed to that horrible small town/city mentality which is extremely infectious to the passive masses, most people live in their little bubble and refuse to acknowledge anything outside of it. The other week there was a promotional UKIP stand in the city centre and I’m sad to say it was gathering a sizable crowd – not good.

How’s the track been going down at live shows?  Have you noticed any difference in the reaction from place to place?

It’s been going down well, we’re heading out on a few shows later this month and more towards the end of the year so we’ll see, should be good fun in the places with a leave majority haha.

Given the seemingly relentless pace of change at Westminster in recent months is there anything that’s happened since recording the track that you wish you could have included?

Honestly it’s a mess isn’t it? The song would have to be a year long fit everything in – I didn’t want the song to be an endless rant, people are pretty sick of hearing about it so I wanted to keep things fairly general and relatable.

Do you think that there are enough bands and artists speaking out about the current state of society and our politics?  Can music really make a difference?

There are a lot of bands speaking out about it at the moment, but the more the better. At the end of the day Brexit is going to make things a lot trickier for the music industry and it’s going to hit the small unsigned touring bands the hardest.

I think it definitely can make a difference, it often unites a common ideology – there’s a lot of anger around the whole thing and music is definitely one of the best ways to express it.

Ok, we’re going to wave our magic wand now – you’ve been installed as Prime Minister with the sort of powers to override Parliament that the current incumbent seems to think he has.  You can introduce one new proposal on any topic and it will be guaranteed Royal Assent – what’s it going to be?

Plain and simply cancel Brexit –  we have the power to call this whole thing off right now, so let’s stop messing around trying to construct an impossible deal that’s inevitably going to damage our country and get back on with our lives.

Check out Sleepyboy’s State of the Nation Playlist below, featuring tracks by Idles, Slaves, Cabbage, Wargasm, Shame and The Rhythm Method alongside their new single ‘iSlAnD’.  You can catch them live at the following dates:

27.9.19 – The Fulford Arms – York
28.9.19 – Sunbirds Records Weekender – Darwen
5.10.19 – Our Mutual Friend – Stevenage

Interview by Paul Maps


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