Given they describe their sound as “love songs about delay pedals”, sleepmakeswaves might just be the post-rock band's post-rock band. Yet the Aussie instrumentalists have never been ones to rest on pure soundscapes alone, fusing lush reverbs with driving rhythms and crushing crescendos.
On 7 April, the band drops Made Of Breath Only, their third album and an astonishing refinement of the SMW sound, with a widescreen production courtesy of Bruce Springsteen and Rage Against The Machine producer Nick DiDia.
Otto Wicks-Green is one-half of the group's sinuous six-string assault, and we quizzed the guitarist on everything from his first instrument and most essential pedal to the merits of having a good tech by your side…
1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?
“At age 13, I fell in love with a Silvertone Paul Stanley Apocalypse Special in the window of a London shopping mall. That's right: the pointy-ass KISS guitar. I persuaded my dear parents to buy me this ridiculous instrument for my next birthday and proceeded to learn a bunch of Metallica riffs and generally make a lot of fizzy overdriven noise.”
2. The building’s burning down – what one guitar do you save?
“My Electrical Guitar Company Series 5. It's all-aluminium so I'd probably wanna use gloves if it had been in a hot room for a while.”
3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without?
“Strymon BigSky. Nothing creates a vibe more than a drenched reverb chord swell and this bad boy does it all.”
4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?
“I bloody lost my TS808 Reissue pedal somewhere. I really liked that thing. If anyone sees it please let me know.”
5. When did you last practise and what did you play?
“I've been practising pretty hard for this tour with Underoath. I played lot of old sleepmakeswaves material, but if I want to work on chops, I've been learning Protest the Hero songs off their amazing record Fortress.”
6. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?
“Downpicking. Dat chug.”
7. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be?
“Satriani. He's taught for a long time and would probably teach me new ways to approach the theory side of the instrument.”
8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?
“A nice steel-sting acoustic. Maybe a Maton.”
9. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
“I've fallen over a bunch. And mysterious signal failures that take forever to troubleshoot mid-set aren't fun. Nothing horrendous comes to mind, thankfully. Plenty of cool stories, though.
“One time we were touring with Karnivool in Australia and my lead broke mid-song on stage. Karnivool's guitar tech Nick picked it up, soldered it back together and had it working for me by the time the next song started! Thank you, sir.”
10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?
“Learn more difficult songs note-for-note. It pushes your guitar playing into new directions and opens you to interesting songwriting techniques.”
Made Of Breath Only is out on 7 April via Bird’s Robe Records. sleepmakeswaves play ArcTanGent festival on 17-19 August.