By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Local band looks to jolt music scene
Placeholder Image

The hard-rocking band Sleep Nation has caught the attention of at least one executive in the music industry.
Tropic Heat Studios CEO Gigi de Lugo is working with the McMinnville-based group on a West Coast tour as Sleep Nation looks to perform outside Tennessee.
“I haven’t heard a new band like this in a while,” said de Lugo, who was in McMinnville on Saturday night to hear Sleep Nation perform at Collins River BBQ. “I’ve waited my whole life and 25 years in the music industry to discover a band this good.”
Sleep Nation includes founding members Bran Merritt on vocals and guitar, and Justin Swingler on drums. They first started playing together in 2010. Guitarist Seth Bouldin and bass player Garrett Roper were added last year.
Sleep Nation has a five-song EP it sells at shows and the band recently produced a music video for its original song “I Want You Back,” which can be seen on YouTube. The song has gotten considerable radio play on 102.9 FM on its “Local Buzz” program and made the Nashville station’s top 25 list of Tennessee songs for 2014.
“The video is online and it’s really gotten a lot of feedback,” said Merritt. “We worked with the Nashville Film Institute and used a Western setting. Parts of it were filmed at Warren County Fairgrounds.”
De Lugo said it was during a late-night music search when she first heard Sleep Nation.
“It was midnight and I was online from my Nashville farm and this music came pouring out of my speakers igniting my soul,” said de Lugo. “I immediately searched for every bit of Sleep Nation music I could find online and just kept it all looping for four non-stop hours. It absolutely blew me away. The following morning I was on a mission determined to get in touch with the band and start sharing their music.”
Merritt said the band’s performance schedule will pick up once the weather starts to get warmer. He says Sleep Nation will play four or five times a month in the summer and is looking to expand outside of Tennessee with the help de Lugo.
“A West Coast tour is something we’re looking at later this year,” said Merritt. “We take our music very seriously and if something more comes from this we’ll be happy if it happens.”
Sleep Nation members have a variety of musical influences. Merritt says he’s a big Phil Collins fan, while Bouldin likes Queen. Swingler likes Blink 182, while Roper likes the band Bush.
“It’s funny how we can agree on things,” said Merritt, who first picked up a guitar at 14 and taught himself to play.
Among the band’s fans are actor Santiago Cirilo, who plays Julio in the TV show “The Walking Dead.” Cirilo was in McMinnville on Saturday to see the Sleep Nation show.
I never thought an actor of this caliber would be rocking out to Sleep Nation,” said Merritt.
De Lugo believes Sleep Nation has what it takes to succeed in the highly competitive music industry.
 “These days it's more challenging than ever to impress music industry professionals,” she said. “There's a lot of white noise, not a lot of substance out there. These guys are writing and developing all their own songs and dedicated them-selves to the art of that, not the five minutes of fame. I want to hear music by a new band I can imagine will still be tour-ing 25 years from now like some of my generation's legends, The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, The Eagles, Aerosmith. Those are artists."