Ultimately developed as the brain-child of Sean VanDommelen, SleepyPilot has evolved from experimental songs, to full-length album and performing group.
Sean VanDommelen (guitar/vox/keyboards) has been actively playing music in the Pacific Northwest for roughly 19 years. His adventures in music began in 1991 by playing in his first band Deadly Effect, in which he was the lead guitarist. A few bands later under the same role, VanDommelen began experimenting with the electronic aspect of song creation. Ultimately, Sean figured out how to blend his love for rock & roll with his heavy influences from The Beastie Boys and various 80’s electronic pop-rock artists.
In 2005 Sean joined ASCAP and became a writer/publishing member through his collaborations with the electronic group Beatseed. These collaborations inspired Sean to explore the world of music publishing and songwriting which resulted in the birth of SleepyPilot Music – ASCAP. It was after these accomplishments that Sean began to focus on singing and songwriting. He has written a library of material, and entered The John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 2009 in the electronic category. Sean was awarded the Grand Prize during session one of the contest, and went on to win the coveted Lennon Award for session two. Sean was one of twelve finalists for the entire contest ending in 2010.
Also during this time, Sean was a member of a local group named VIII Days Clean, which went on to secure a heavy following in the area. Sean recorded with them on their second album in which a song and video was nominated for a Prizm Award in Hollywood, Ca. The video was one in which the musical material was co-written by VanDommelen.
The Birth of SleepyPilot
After leaving his previous band and being awarded the chance to do a full-length album from The John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Sean formed SleepyPilot. VanDommelen wrote, arranged, produced, recorded and engineered SleepyPilot’s debut album, but he needed a band to manifest his project.
Sean recruited Jason Bair for his creative vision of music and innovative drumming perspective, as well as his close friend Greg Magee for his bass stylings.
Greg Magee began playing electric bass in 1990, and quickly moved to the upright bass as well. Greg performed as a bass player in several groups in high school, and earned a scholarship to play upright bass with the University of Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra. Greg was introduced to Sean in late 1997, when Greg joined All Kinz as their bass player. In the year 2000 Greg went off to law school in Seattle, and became an attorney. After a break from the bass, Greg was deeply interested in reforming a new band with Sean Vandommelen. The opportunity came in the summer of 2011, when Greg was offered the bass chair in Sleepy Pilot.
With this vision of Sleepypilot, the new members are bringing to life a project that was once just a thought. The album in which VanDommelen wrote is a mere starting point for the group and they are quickly expanding on the style of the album.
Sean VanDommelen - Programming/Sequencing, Guitars & Vocals
Jason Bair - Percussion & Drums
Greg Magee - Bass
SleepyPilot - Self Titled Full-Length 2011
The Baggage EP - 2012
Energetic, Real, Music. Northwest Music Scene
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The Baggage from Sleepypilot, Energetic, Real, Music. By Casebeer – March 5, 2013Posted in: Album...The Baggage from Sleepypilot, Energetic, Real, Music.
– March 5, 2013Posted in: Album Reviews, News, Reviews
The Baggage is the latest from a super talented trio named Sleepypilot from the 253. Their name might lead you to believe they are tired but we can assure you they are anything but that. The baggage is full of energetic real music. One moment it’s a swampy roots/blues-rock influenced tune and the next moment it’s musical manna from electronic heaven.
This 5 song EP is the second release from the singer and guitarist Sean “The Dominator” VanDommelen and his bandmates Jason Bair (drums, electronic sounds) & Greg Magee (Bass).
I have followed this band very closely since the beginning, well, in fact from before it was an actual band. Sean had started with this Sleepypilot idea when he was still in another local band. He would send me the rough tracks that he’d record on his own and let me listen to them. From the first tune I heard, I knew he was onto something great and to watch it further evolve into a roots-rock monster like this is quite rewarding. I for one love the direction this band is heading. If the The Black Keys and The Black Keys had a kid…it would be Sleepypilot.
The band drops the throttle out of the gate with the guitar driven rocker “Control” and then they back off just a touch for “Follow You” , which is heavy roots rock. VanDommelen is a fantastic guitar player and he leans on that heavily throughout this release and why not? But…he is not a one-trick pony, he has mad skills when it comes to electronic music. He does a brilliant job of combining two completely different styles, in fact this could have been a serious disaster. I don’t think just anyone could pull this off but he did. Make no mistake, Sean is as talented as they come in the northwest, hell anywhere for that matter. With Greg and Jason providing a super tight and solid lower end, Sean has the ability to roam freely and that he does. They end this great EP with a fun song called La La La, which has great retro sound and an intro that is Zeppelin-esque.
Do your ears a favor and get this feel good release.
Pop Vulture Magazine Feature
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popVLTR: You've been making moves in Tacoma, how'd you get into music? SP: I (Sean – Vocals/Guitar) ...popVLTR: You've been making moves in Tacoma, how'd you get into music? SP: I (Sean – Vocals/Guitar) began playing guitar about 21 years ago. After a few lessons I was encouraged to just go for it, start writing songs, join a band. I began my musical journey at the age of 16 playing in various bands and performing in the northwest. I was heavily influenced by MTV and its plethora of music videos. So many styles and genres were played on a daily basis that it was hard not to be influenced by it. Our individual paths range from classically trained to self-taught, with the ability to switch instruments, so music has been a mainstay for all of us throughout our lives, and we know this is what we want to do for as long as we possibly can. We will definitely never stop the journey.
popVLTR: Congrats on 'See Me Alive', who are some of your influences? SP: This is one of the elements of the band that we value most. All of us have a wide variety of influences and inspirations, yet we can synthesize many influences as well. Some of our influences include: The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Trans Am, The Black Keys, Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Rage Against the Machine, Jaco Pastorius, Muse, Jimi Hendrix, Gary Clark Jr., etc… The list goes on and on, and we stress the importance of staying current as well as drawing from the greats in music history. We have all played in many bands, but this is the one we hold dear to our hearts. It is important that we find a balance in manifesting our inspirations, while simultaneously taking a leap into the unknown.
popVLTR: What are some of your proudest moments in music so far? SP: For only being together for about 18 months, we have exceeded our own expectations (which wasn't hard since we didn't have a bunch to begin with). We are most interested in having fun and doing what we do best: playing and creating music. We have played a ton of shows in the 18 months we've been together and plan to keep that momentum going. The catalyst to the formation of SleepyPilot was winning the session 1 Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (JLSC), and the session 2 winning of the Lennon Award. The session 2 win provided me (Sean) with the chance to do a full-length album with 1000 complimentary copies produced by DiscMakers. Naturally, I wanted to form a band to bring the album to life, and as a result I sought out Jason and Greg to begin this beautiful journey. Aside from our regular club shows, we have spent a great deal of time doing benefit performances for local charities and causes.
popVLTR: What cool stuff is on the horizon for SleepyPilot? SP: We are currently in the process of filming two videos for songs that come from the self-titled debut full-length. Production for those should be finished in time to blast the internet this summer. We are also submitting to many local festivals in an attempt to fill up our summer calendar and gain more local exposure. We released a 5-song EP in November in which we are seeking reviews both locally and nationally. In March we will be competing in the 2013 Hard Rock Rising battle of the bands at the Seattle Hard Rock Café. We plan to do a small west coast tour in 2014 to support the EP and gain more widespread exposure.
Following his muse wherever it takes him
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Sean Van Dommelen began playing music when he received an electric guitar and amplifier on his 13th ...Sean Van Dommelen began playing music when he received an electric guitar and amplifier on his 13th birthday.
He took lessons for a while.
“I was reluctant at first, but I jumped right in.” After a year his instructor told Van Dommelen he should start writing his own material. While he went on to take a music theory class in junior college, learning by ear has been his primary method.
At 15 he joined Mona Lisa Shines, a band active in the local scene in the early 1990s. He remembers having to wait in the kitchen at the old Red Roof Pub in Lakewood until the band took the stage because he was not otherwise allowed in the bar area.
In 1995 he discovered sampling and rap became his muse. With the Beastie Boys as a major influence, he and a cohort started a rap project that was active until 2000.
After that Van Dommelen got into drugs and went into a downward spiral. He got clean and sober in 2005. While in a treatment center, his mother bought him an acoustic guitar
He began performing as a solo act. At one gig he opened for local metal band VIII Days Clean. About a year later he connected with one of the members on the Internet, learning the group was looking for a new guitarist. He was asked to learn two songs and show up for an audition. He joined the group and played on their latest album, “Angels Of Nothing,” which was released in November.
Van Dommelen continues to do his solo work. He lists Muse and Radiohead among his influences. “I want to broaden my horizons, and not be a typical singer/songwriter artist,” he said. “I have so many ideas it is ridiculous,” he said, noting his goal is to write 200 songs.
He entered one of them, “Lonely Girl,” into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. He won in the electronic category. “That re-ignited my passion to do something with my original material.”
His latest song, “Sacrifice,” is a touching ballad inspired by the fatal shootings of four Lakewood police officers in November. He is donating 50 percent of proceeds from Internet download sales of the songs to the families of the slain officers. For a direct link to the song go to www.broadjam.com/artists/home.php?artistID=71085.
Van Dommelen lives in Lakewood, in an apartment behind a business along one of the main thoroughfares in the city. One or two of the slain officers used to get permission from the business owner to park in the driveway to watch for speeding motorists.
He has been told that Lakewood Police Independent Guild appreciates the song and that someone will use it as background music for a video montage being made about the officers.
Van Dommelen dropped out of high school. He earned a general equivalency diploma and went on to Tacoma Community College, where he was named student of the year for 2009. He graduated in June and now attends Evergreen State College.
Onstage with VIII Days Clean, Van Dommelen can lay down some heavy riffs within an aggressive rock format. For his solo work, he creates in the solitude of a spare bedroom in his apartment with his instruments and computers with recording software.
“With this I have complete control,” he said. As an example, he played a recording of a rap song he recently wrote. “I go all over the place. If I hear something in my head, I record it, then figure it out later.”
He has considered forming a band to play his original material, although he does not want to do so unless he finds the right people.
After he earns his bachelor’s degree, Van Dommelen may pursue writing music for movies and television shows. He is also interested in producing other artists. He is figuring out how he can be artistic and serve the community and help other artists as he follows his muse.
John Lennon Songwriting Contest -Winner Update
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In early 2009, Sean VanDommelen entered his electronic song, “Lonely Girl,” into Session I of the J... In early 2009, Sean VanDommelen entered his electronic song, “Lonely Girl,” into Session I of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. He was later named a Grand Prize Winner for that category, and after competing in a fan-voted head-to-head faceoff against Session II Electronic Grand Prize Winner Junsu Kwon, VanDommelen earned the highly coveted Lennon Award, making him an eligible candidate for the Maxell Song of the Year.
When VanDommelen isn’t busy excelling in the JLSC, he resides in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. He formed the Sean VanDommelen Project in 2006 and continues to hone his songwriting skills through that outlet, but he has also worked with other bands in his area, enriching his local music community. VanDommelen currently plays as the lead guitarist in VIII Days Clean, a band from Tacoma, WA that has a large following throughout the West Coast. Additionally, VanDommelen has previously collaborated with alternative rock band Mona Lisa Shines, as well as hip-hop group All Kinz, with whom he released five EPs.
Recently, VanDommelen has directed his creativity toward important societal issues; he has been working with filmmakers to incorporate his music into a variety of documentaries that investigate topics such as social justice, the criminal justice system, and substance abuse.
Clearly VanDommelen’s musical talents are widespread, and it will be exciting to watch how he continues to grow as an artist in the coming years.
Posted by The John Lennon Songwriting Contest at 10:49 AM
Thursday, July 15, 2010
GA GA *
SEE ME ALIVE *
LONELY GIRL *
DON’T WAIT* ----Capo
Girl is on my mind* ----Capo
La La La
|May 22, 2013 Wednesday||8:00 PM||Jazzbones||Tacoma, WA, US|
|Jun 1, 2013 Saturday||8:00 PM||The Central Saloon||Seattle, WA, US|
|May 11, 2013 Saturday||8:00 PM||Fuel||Seattle, WA, US|
|Feb 8, 2013 Friday||8:00 PM||The Central Saloon||Seattle, WA, US|
|Jan 19, 2013 Saturday||8:00 PM||The Mix||Seattle, WA, US|
|Jan 18, 2013 Friday||8:00 PM||Bull Market||Parkland, WA, US|
|Jan 12, 2013 Saturday||8:00 PM||Flights Pub||Everett, WA, US|
|Jan 4, 2013 Friday||8:00 PM||The Hard Rock Cafe - Seattle||Seattle, WA, US|