By Stephanie Amy Collazo
Dubbed a band to watch for 2011 by Rolling Stone, Sleeper Agent has generated an insane amount of buzz for themselves since adding female vocalist Alex Kandel to the group. With a sound comparable to that of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the six-piece band’s dueling male/female vocals bring life to their lyrics. Recently dropping their first full-length album, Celabrasion, the members of Sleeper Agent, comprised of drummer Justin Wilson, female singer Alex Kandel, singer-guitarist Tony Smith, bassist Lee Williams, guitarist Josh Martin, and keyboardist Scott Gardner, have toured coast-to-coast promoting the release, but Alex took some time out from the road to give YRB a call to fill us in on the band’s history and what they have planned for the future.
YRB: How did you guys come up with the name Sleeper Agent?
Alex: Sleeper Agent is named after Battlestar Galactica.
YRB: How would you describe your sound to someone’s who’s never heard of you before?
Alex: Just really energetic rock, I guess. We thought everyone was so bored, so the music reflects that.
YRB: How did you become part of the group?
Alex: I was 15 when I first opened up for Sleeper Agent with my other band. Later on, I posted a song online and Tony heard it. Then we met up and they asked me to be in the band with them and I was for it. It was around the time they needed someone else to come into Sleeper Agent, and so it just kind of happened, actually.
YRB: What was your first show with them like?
Alex: I was really nervous. It was at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville. I kind of overdressed because I was trying to give off this persona like [I’m the] girl in a rock band, and it came off really bad. As soon the show was done we felt really good about it. Besides, we wanted to record some songs in Nashville and we recorded, like, eight songs. That’s kind of what got us talking to labels.
YRB: What’s it like being the youngest member and only girl in the group?
Alex: I guess it’s just pretty normal with me. They don’t treat me any differently. I’m totally an equal. They are protective of me when they need to be, but I’m just one of the guys I guess [Laughs].
YRB: You’re going to be a part of the Weezer Cruise, what are you the most excited about?
Alex: I’m a huge fan. Pretty much all the bands on the lineup are acts I’d kill to tour with, which is awesome. And it’s on a ship, so hopefully it’s more like a vacation than just shows.
YRB: Have you ever played any events like this before?
Alex: No, especially not on a cruise ship [Laughs]. I mean [we have been on tours that have been] as successful, but this going to be something totally different.
YRB: What’s it like touring with such a big group?
Alex: Oh, you mean because there [are] six of us? We all lived together in a house at some point, so it’s like the extension of a house…on wheels.
YRB: You were labeled the band to watch for 2011, has that added any pressure?
Alex: No, I wouldn’t say it’s any more pressure than we put on ourselves before a show. I think it’s a great praise and I think we try to live up to it every show, every night.