March 30, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 32°F


Sleepy band awakens for spring tour

After ending a tour with funk rock group Cage the Elephant, garage-rock band Sleeper Agent is getting a new reason to rock with the release of its first album, “Celebrasion.”

Sleeper Agent, a Kentucky-based rock band, will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday at The Haunt. The band recently released its first album, “Celebrasion,” after a tour with Cage the Elephant. Courtesy of Sleeper Agent

Sleeper Agent, a six-person rock band from Bowling Green, Ky., is gearing up to begin its first independent tour, which will include a stop at The Haunt in Ithaca. The band is a collection of hometown friends who came together after their individual Kentucky-based bands broke up.

Accent Editor Shea O’Meara spoke to lead guitarist Josh Martin about the band’s Southern roots, East Coast tour and experience producing its first record.


Shea O’Meara: How did Sleeper Agent originally form?


Josh Martin: The idea has been around for a while. It started with our drummer Justin [Wilson] and one of our singers and drummers Tony [Smith], who were both 21 before a lot of their friends and decided to start a side project, and they would play in bars and get rowdy and drink.


SO: How would you describe the music on your upcoming album?


JM: It’s rock ‘n’ roll. We’ve always had difficulty naming it anything beyond that. We’re the young garage rock band — we play fast, kind of punkish music, and we want to be fun. We hope people hear us and think of us as a fun band.


SO: Which of your songs are you most invested in?


JM: The biggest connection I had to any of the songs I had on the record was “Far and Wide.” That was the first song that the six of us created together. We recorded it last-minute and it almost didn’t make the album. They’re all our babies.


SO: What is the atmosphere of the band like?


JM: We are totally a family. That’s one of the reasons why Scott and I were included in the band in the first place. Between ourselves and the entire music scene in Bowling Green, it is very much like a family matter — you don’t want to leave anyone behind. We treat each other that way, like siblings, we joke around and we’re playful. You’ll bicker from time to time, but you really know you’re a family.


SO: What do you consider your greatest success as a band?


JM: The highlight moment of it for me so far was New Years of 2011 when we played in Chicago with our friends Cage the Elephant and our friends Morning Teleportation and our friends Company of Thieves in the
Aragon Ballroom, and it was to a huge crowd, about 5,000 people. None of us had any expectations about this project, the first meeting of Tony and Justin; it was just going to be a band that played in bars and got paid with free beer — that’s the origin of this project. The biggest success is just these slacker kids from Kentucky creating this record and convincing some people in New York to put it out and taking it on the road.


SO: What can students expect from your show?


JM: We’ve always liked to think that whether we’re playing to five people or 5,000 people, it’s always the same show. We like to make it high energy, and we like to make it fun.

SO: You’ve been on break since December, and you are about to begin an extended tour. Are you excited to get back on the road?


JM: This is the first tour we’ve done in 2012. It starts just a few days before the Ithaca show, in Boston. This will be the beginning of the tour with our second single, “Get Burned.” We’ve been home since before Christmas, and you tend to get restless staying at home and staying in place for too long. It’s been a very welcomed rest, but we’re road people, we can’t wait to get back out there to play shows and meet new fans.