I first heard Alt-Ctrl-Sleep in the film adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story The Midnight Meat Train. Their dream pop song ‘A Song for April’ was playing during a vicious scene where the film’s killer murders his first victim with a meat hammer. It goes without saying that pretty love songs together with horrific scenes of violence make a memorable cinematic experience, but this song was particularly effective. This soundtrack inclusion won them a contract with Lakeshore Records leading to appearances in other movies. Their sound can be described as dreamy, relaxing, ambient and also tender. I recently interviewed the Huntersville, North Carolina natives to find out more about their sound, their future plans, and the experience of being both a band and a married couple.

Alt-Ctrl-Sleep – Take Care
Alt-Ctrl-Sleep – Good Times
Alt-Ctrl-Sleep – Divine Beloved (Ho Hum Song)

Louis: I heard the song ‘A Song for April’ in the film The Midnight Meat Train. I found it very romantic and beatle-esque. Could you tell me the history behind this composition?

Joe Diaco: This is a song about encouragement more than anything else. I’ve been performing music since I was 4 and April’s been playing guitar and drums for just a couple of years, so it was frustrating on both ends of the spectrum in terms of writing/playing/practice experience with each other musically and mentally. In my case, I had to learn a lot of patience. On April’s part was the inexperience with playing in a band. In the end, we both had to learn to work and encourage each other if we were going to get anything done with our music. It was a great challenge for both of us, and I think we accomplished and learned a lot from each other. ‘Song for April’ was the first song I uploaded onto MySpace and it was the song that got us recognized by Brian McNelis of Lakeshore Records. That is another crazy coincidental story all by itself.

Louis: People got to hear the band in three different feature films before your debut album even hit record store shelves. I understand your record company Lakeshore Records has a good relationship with the film industry. How do you feel about music reaching an audience using this medium?

Joe: Actually, we had 2 songs in Midnight Meat Train, ‘Song for April’ and ‘Catching Up to You’. The other 2 songs, ‘Silhouette’ from Henry Poole is Here and ‘You Alone’ from Feast of Love, were exclusive to the soundtracks and never appeared in the movies. We tried really hard to get ‘Silhouette’ in Henry Poole, but being pushed for time because the Sundance Film Festival was coming up, the director Mark Pellington decided to stick with his a-list musician, in this case we were up against Bob Dylan. There’s always going to be politics and other hoopla involved as well.

When we started, getting music in movies was our main goal. Some of our favorite movies have some of our favorite music. Take for instance The Truman Show. In a scene where Truman is sleeping, Philip Glass scored the perfect song. That’s what we want. We think there’s a cosmic connection that people feel between artist and audience when hearing a piece of music in a particular scene of a film. We’re still waiting on a movie that spotlights more of our music. We think it’s the best way to reach out to people, especially for our style of music.

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— , May 8, 2009    2 Comments