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Brett Constantino of Sleepy Sun

Weird and Simple

After spending most of this year touring the U.S. and Europe and recording new songs, Sleepy Sun vocalist Brett Constantino is regrouping in the shadow of the Sierras, shoveling dirt and working on landscaping projects on his parentsí property. ďItís so beautiful up here,Ē he says. ďItís a different kind of paradise.Ē Whatís next? More touring this summer, more recording and eventually maybe enough money to afford a permanent residence, Costantino says. But first, a celebration of the official release of the bandís debut album, Embrace, at Great American Music Hall on June 19th. Costantino spoke with SF Station during a phone interview.

SF Station (SFS): Is it hard to be in close quarters on the road with the band, and then come back to San Francisco and live with everyone in your shared house?

Brett Constantino (BC): We actually ditched the house at the beginning of the tour in February. We have about two weeks off before we see each other again, so we are just doing our own thing during the break.

SFS: Why did you get rid of the house? Did you need space?

BC: Yeah, naturally. We were around each other 24/7, and when we were in Europe, we played every day for 25 days. If you are around anyone for that long, you are bound to get irritable. We were mindful of that from living with each other, but I can see how easy it is for bands to get worn out after extensive touring. But, we are feeling really good and we are excited to go back in July.

SFS: What did you like best about living in the Outer Sunset?

BC: The Sunset kind of sucks for people who are active and young, but it was good for us because I guess we were less distracted by the social life of young people who live in San Francisco.

SFS: Did you have fun on your tour, despite the grueling tour schedule?

BC: I didnít mean for it to sound grueling; you have to give me a break. You are in the van for 24/7, smelling everybodyís butt and their feet. Itís not necessarily a bad thing. You learn from it and isolate yourself for a bit before you get back on the road. I guarantee you, in a few days Iíll be ready to get back on the road.

SFS: Any highlights?

BC: We played the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, which was one of the biggest in Europe. We saw Sonic Youth, Neil Young and so many other great bands.

SFS: Isnít that where the guy from Wavves had a meltdown?

BC: Yeah, speaking of melting downÖThat guy somehow let the sadness overtake him, to quote The Neverending Story.

SFS: Did you plan to have Embrace sit on the shelf for so long before it was released?

BC: No, we recorded it in January 2008 and we were anxious to show it to people so we kind of self-released it last year. Then we had to follow the industry clock, and it took a year for its official release.

But we didnít really stick to that clock because we just recorded another record that was basically ready by the time Embrace officially came out in May. No one really knows us outside of San Francisco, and they havenít heard Embrace, but itís hard because the people who support us in SF are going to have to probably listen to that album for two years before the new one comes out. Itís kind of a bummer. I would probably be complaining if I were a fan of Sleepy Sun.

SFS: Is it strange to promote those old songs when you know that you have new material?

BC: We are going to release the second album as soon as we can and half of the songs we play live are new songs. Thatís how you get to hear them, so bring a bootleg recording device or something.

SFS: Do you try to maintain a level of anonymity with the individual members of the band? You donít list any real names on your web site or MySpace.

BC: Yeah, I guess so. There is no reason to really distinguish individuality within Sleepy Sun because itís the minds of six different humans. But that wasnít a conscious decision; we are not trying to be mysterious, or anything.

I also want to address the ďLetís get weirdĒ slogan that people always write about. That is the same kind of thing: We came up with that as a way to break the ice, but it was kind of blown out of proportion. I think we are going to change it to ďLetís get regularĒ and be as simple as we can.

SFS: Can we hope for one more weird night at your release party?

BC: Oh yeah, it will always be simple and weird. Iím beginning to come to terms with the two parts of being a touring musician: you are an entertainer and a recording artist, which are completely different things. We perform to entertain, so whether itís simple or weird, it will be worth your ticket.

Sleepy Sun performs June 19th at Great American Music Hall. Tickets are $13. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm.