OSHAWA -- Music columnist Will McGuirk interviews Sleep When You're Dead vocalist Alex Leech. September 2012

OSHAWA -- Music columnist Will McGuirk interviews Sleep When You're Dead vocalist Alex Leech. September 2012

OSHAWA -- For Alex Leech, vocalist for Sleep When You're Dead, it was important that the band's visuals reflect the band's harder rock sounds. Their video for the new single, Bust At The Chino, was filmed at Docville, the Wild West frontier town replica in Newcastle. Cole Kidd of Hello Beautiful directed.

"The idea was a mix between Cole's and mine, our brainchild," says Leech during an interview at the Rehearsal Factory in Oshawa. "I had the initial idea. I knew what I wanted to do. Cole came in and we worked together from that point on and pieced it altogether.

"It had to be something Western and gritty. That is the only place where we could have captured that exact feeling. The song is all about gambling. It has metaphors about gaining and losing in life. The style we are going for is real Southern rock. We're talking good, old blues like Muddy Waters all the way to Led Zeppelin then to new age stuff like Monster Truck, Cancer Bats. We are influenced by everything. I love bluegrass. I will listen to Tex Ritter and Hank Williams Sr. and it translates into our music."

On its latest recordings, SWYD has evolved in its sound from the grimy hardcore of the earlier work to one that is more melodic but still heavy rock.

"We started out heavy, much more screaming," says Leech, "but now I find we are lightening up because I want more flavour. The screaming is to get the point across. For the people who listen to our type of music they just get that. What's a better way of getting out a message except belting it out."

For Leech, the screaming is not a gimmick: the emotions in the song dictate whether the intensity in the vocals is ratcheted up.

"When I am writing a song, writing lyrics, I am thinking of a general emotion and then I relate it to an experience. The song Bust At The Chino goes two ways. I love gambling so I wrote about the temptations, the morals. But it also relates to life experiences for me with my own ups and downs. It is an angry song so I am really going to belt it out. But we have a song Hoop Dreams. In that song I don't do as much heavy screaming but more bluesy rock vocals."

Sleep When You're Dead also includes Matt Szigeti on lead guitar, Jake Stauffer on guitar/vocals, Frank Daly on bass and Mark McCabe on drums. The Oshawa-based band released its debut recording, Directions, in 2011. The band has shared stages with Protest The Hero, Architects, Emmure and Structures.

For now, Bust At The Chino will only be available via YouTube while the band readies a five-song EP for release.