Todd Kaden of Asleep: Unpleasant Tweeting and A Companion of Robotics

Asleep, that’s what I should’ve done last night when my eyes were weighed down by stress from the day’s events. But instead I was sitting there getting in touch with my “hip” side listening to Childish Gambino on MLK Jr. Day and remembering a nice chat I had with Todd of oddly enough, the band Asleep.

Both probably looking forward to the weekend, Todd and I sat across the country from one another for a tennis match of Q&A’s. I was led to believe Todd wasn’t American when he couldn’t name a drink at Starbucks. Even a poor soul like me knows vanilla bean. Then things turned, well just weird…But in the best way possible when a 20 foot robot that paraded around with Asleep at SXSW last year was brought into the mix.

This isn’t a Barbara Walters interview, just a chick and a dude. A dude who sings and plays guitar in a rock band that has a trippy, we play our instruments with a purpose in mind, feel; think a softer Deftones or a less entrancing A Perfect Circle. So what Todd had to offer me other than laughs was the war on poop tweets, live music and well…do you need anything else to convince you to read on?

Kendra: 13 days into 2012, are your resolutions still intact or have you broken most of them?

Todd Kaden: Nah, my resolutions are still pretty intact. We’re trying to push forward and start booking more dates, getting more publishing done. You know just really try and work on the new things to come. We’re still in the right direction.

Kendra: Since you mentioned right direction, how’d you manage to sell over 10,000 copies of your previous records?

Todd: We did a lot of internet work. We did the whole MySpace thing and I mean you can’t do anything without the internet anymore, but it’s really a good tool to have. Pushed the iTunes that we have, and just doing it through networking online. And playing different shows out of town, building a following. It really turned out for us really well.

Kendra: Any advice for artists looking to sell that many?

Todd: Just keep networking; always talk to people, especially after shows. Meet them at the merch table and always push the iTunes, always push the Amazon sales, anywhere you can get it online. It’s a great tool to have; the internet and people are usually nice, so they usually buy the album.

Kendra: Now on to Unpleasant Companion. Was the decision made before recording to give it that live feel, or was it right when you stepped in the studio it was apparent like, we have to do it this way?

Todd: No, the decision was definitely made beforehand. We wanted to get that live sound and we knew the best place to go was Steve Albini, and he gave us that great live sound. He’s got a great live room and he knows how to use his mics really; good acoustics all the way across the room. We got a really good sound, a really good natural live sound.

Kendra: Will all albums be like that from here on out?

Todd: We plan to yeah. We really like the feel of it. It was a good vibe and you know when you play it together it really does sound much better, in our opinion.

Kendra: How do you prepare for an albums release? Do you have a party, a show?

Todd: We usually go out to different cities and have shows, do an album release in those cities. We have a couple coming up. We have one in Cleveland at the Beachland Tavern on February 6th. After that we’re heading to Chicago on February 18th. Then we’re playing the Ultra Lounge in Chicago on March 2nd. Then one is at Cedars Lounge in Youngstown where we’re from. That should be a pretty good show. And last one is March 10th in Cincinnati at Mainstay Rock Bar, and we’re still booking you know constantly every day to get this album out to new people, new ears. We’re really excited about it.

Kendra: We had a lot of fires here in California over New Year’s Eve, so that made my head wander to this…if you had to save only two songs from the upcoming album from a fire, which would you choose?

Todd: It would be the first song “Hip to Deaf.” That’s pretty much the single we’re releasing and another one would be “Deserted.” That’s another single that we’re releasing. You gotta save the singles!

Kendra: Unpleasant Companion is all about this idea of being so connected in this world through I’m assuming, technology, but so separated at the same time. Are you a victim of this yourself? Those people constantly tweeting and on Faceboook?

Todd: You know, I don’t do that at all. I mean you kind of have to do that with that band; shows, your new t-shirt comes out, new album is coming out. You have to let everybody know. But me personally I do not do that at all and I really get upset when people check me in places. So yeah, I guess I am a victim!

Kendra: How do you not tweet though?

Todd: It’s not something I got into. I really don’t want to write down that I’m pooping for everybody to see.

Kendra: Haha, some people want to know those details. Those people aren’t normal, but…Well other than the shows for the new album, where else can fans expect to see you in 2012?

Todd: We’re trying to hit the road as much as possible. We have stuff going up on Vevo and Fuse TV, so you can expect to see us there. We have a new video coming out and you can check that out on the Vevo, just search “Asleep Hip to Deaf.” Other than that, just seeing us at shows, and on the road.

Kendra: Any SXSW?

Todd: We’re working on that right now actually. Nothing’s confirmed but yes, we’re looking to go down to SXSW.

Kendra: Last one for you, if your dreams had a mixtape, which 5 songs would be on it?


Radiohead “Everything in Its Right Place”

Some Nirvana from the In Utero album

Something from Smashing Pumpkins…

Originally published Jan 17, 2012

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