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Sleep Whale's Joel North Explains His Band's Name Change

Just caught up with Joel North of Sleep Whale, which, at this point is still probably best known as the ambient instrumental Denton act fromerly known as Mom, to talk about his band's name change. What it boil's down to, North says, is simply a matter of clarification for North and collaborator Bruce Blay's project.

"Bruce and I just exchanged a lot of confusion with mum, the band from Iceland," North says. "Even last night at the Granada, people showed up looking for mum. The people at the Granada told them it was Mom and not mum, but they didn't believe them. And when we were in Europe, it was that way at every show. It was tough to communicate the difference to people who didn't speak our language."

As such, North says, last night's gig from the act is the last in which people can expect to see the band billed as Mom. This Saturday, for instance, the band will formerly makes its Sleep Whale debut during Gutterth Productions' "Waving Hands" event at Rubber Gloves in Denton.

But the difference between Mom and Sleep Whale isn't solely in the name, North adds.

Also new to the act are two members: Paul North, Joel's younger brother who also performs around the region under the moniker of Sunnybrook, and Spencer Stephenson, a musician from Weatherford that Blay and North met through mutual friends in Matthew and The Arrogant Sea. Both additions were made as a result of North and Blay's desire to expand their band's sound.

"We wrote [our upcoming] record for four people," North says. "And the next record, we're going to write with all four people contributing."

As for the record the band is currently writing? "I've got four more songs to play the cello on and then we're done," North says. And, after which, the songs will be sent John Congleton's way for mixing in March. The disc should then be available at some point in the summer.

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OK. But why then choose to name the band after one of its own songs?

Says North: "That song in particular, when I moved to California for a few months before we started recording... Bruce wrote that song and I was like, 'OK, I'm coming home."

No one ever said these guys weren't sentimental.

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