It’s fun to go see your favorite band play at Madison Square Garden for hundreds of bucks. Those looking for a cheaper “alternative” and still longing for amazing sound, we suggest Wild Sleep. They’re a Latino, Astoria-based alternative rock band worthy of lending an ear (or two). Sam Camejo (guitarist/singer, 24), Edgar Cruz (drummer, 20), Freddy Rosales (guitar, 26), and Christian Santana (bass, 28) comprise the current and proclaimed final incarnation. Santana hails from East Elmhurst and the others claim The Bronx.
Wild Sleep’s been “jamming” for a year, and they just released their latest EP, Glass House. As a preamble, they released the single “Nvm, Nvm” on their SoundCloud back near the end of June. The nearly three-and-a-half-minute song is packed with emotion, structured beautifully, and really captures the energy that emits from them offstage. HangTime caught up with the quartet in Astoria to get more context on the band. Here’s what they had to say:
HangTime: The first thing I like to ask any band or group is how did you all come together?
Sam Camejo: Myself and Freddy met through a previous band. We met off Craigslist–
Freddy Rosales: I didn’t meet Sam. Our drummer met him because we were looking for a singer. Then, the bass player didn’t like Sam, so we kicked him out. Literally two weeks later, I was like “You guys fucking suck,” so I left myself. I didn’t make music for like six months and then Freddy hit me up and was like, “Pull up. Let’s jam.” And that’s how we became Wild Sleep.
SC: From there, we had a multitude of people come in and out of the band. Then we met Chris.
FR: I was really cool with his girlfriend, and she was like, “My mans’ is trying to be in a band.” I was like, “Say less, pull up,” and he did.
SC: And then we met Edgar through him.
Christian Santana: Me and Edgar used to be in a [different] band together, so I kind of just grouped him in.
SC: Essentially we’re a supergroup.
HT: What group were the two of you in?
CS: It went through mad different names.
Edgar Cruz: The original name was “Duende.”
CS: It was a very small-time band. We never played any shows.
EC: We just rehearsed, really.
HT: Would you consider this the final roster for the group?
FR: After this, there is no more.
SC: This is the final lineup. We’re not looking for anything else after this.
HT: Now that you all found each other, tell me about the decision to make Astoria your headquarters.
EC: I feel like one of the main reasons is because a lot of rehearsal spaces are in Astoria. This building, we call it “Bakeway,” has this whole entire shit. It’s become a sort of a meme at this point. Honestly, it’s for a reason, because a lot of bands do come here. And a lot of the bands that come here to rehearse are bands that play shows within the area.
SC: It’s really become a scene. The people who pull up; the bands and their friends, they pull up to rehearsals and chill. Those are the same people that go to shows and put their friends on. It just became a thing.
CS: People will chill on the couches in the lobby. We’ll have people in our space. Sometimes we’ll jam here with other bands. All four of the bands here play with each other, know each other outside of this.
HT: Why is this location called “Bakeway”?
SC: The [real] name is “Underground Studios,” but everyone calls it Bakeway because of the abandoned bakery upstairs.
EC: The store that’s next to here used to be a bakery literally three months ago. It got shut down by the health department.
HT: Who are some of the other bands that rehearse here?
CS: The Lo-Fi’s, DaPop. Pretty much all these bands are part of the same collective, Blue Machine Records. They’re either part of Blue Machine or adjacent.
HT: You spoke about how all the bands perform together sometimes, at venues in this area and in The Bronx as well. As of now, what are the crowd’s reactions to your music? Tell me about their energy.
FR: It’s really hit or miss, honestly.
SC: To be real. We always play our hearts out. We always go mad hard, try to bring a lot of energy, try to give them a show. It just depends on the crowd. We’ve had shows that are insane, people pushing each other and shit. That’s what we like to see, that energy. One thing we’re appreciative of is that people do come out. I remember at one point, we used to ask people, beg our friends, “Please come out, this is important.” Now, people are coming out because they want to.
CS: We don’t have to beg people anymore. I feel like we found a dedicated core of people that pull up to our shows.
FR: Sam’s mom is one of those people.
SC: She came to one show.
FR: I have her recorded. She yells pretty loud. She was like, “Go, Sam!”
SC: Where do you think I got it from?
HT: It’s good that you guys are finally finding your rhythm as a group. One could say your latest song “Nvm, Nvm,” is the perfect embodiment of that sentiment. I’m very interested to know how that song came into fruition.
CS: I think that was from the very first jam that we did. It’s gone through various incarnations since then. We’ve kind of pulled it apart, redid it here and there. But the core idea is from that jam.
EC: It’s mostly Sam’s song. We were just jamming one day, and from that point on it took a week or two for that song to completely finish.
SC: At the end of the day, it wouldn’t be what it is without everyone’s input. It’s really cool that it’s being well received. It’s really telling of this lineup because we haven’t gotten this reception to a release ever. This is the strongest we’ve ever been.
FR: People are listening to it now, but when we first started jamming in general, this is what we were jamming on. It’s a really weird form of validation that everyone fucks with it because that’s who we are now, and who we’re going to be.
HT: You’re on the verge of releasing your new EP. How has the band matured since your last project, Adult Swim?
FR: Adult Swim was literally just me and Sam. The little pieces that became the big picture were just me and him just jamming. At the time, everyone who was in the band was fleeting; not really into it.
SC: They were just coming in and out. We lost members because people wanted to move on to different things. Adult Swim was just a prototype of what we became. It was pretty cool. I think it was a necessary step. Also, Chris played bass on it, we had him by then.
CS: It was interesting because all the songs were recorded and voice memos. I’d have to watch them play and try and follow along. It took a lot of me piecing shit together.
SC: Edgar wasn’t born yet.
EC: I came at the last 10 percent of that being recorded. I have nothing to do with that EP.
Glass House is now available on all streaming platforms, so you can get a taste of what’s brewing in the West End side of Queens.