Q: “All The Best Intentions” is a very adventurous song. Describe the thought and songwriting process for this song.
COUCHSLEEPERS: One of the more important things I’ve learned is that it’s not sufficient to just mean well, you have to actually do well if you want to count yourself as an effectively good person. And that’s a difficult thing to manage, really. Rarely in my life have I actually intended to cause harm—more often, it’s just the result of being careless or negligent or irresponsible, even while trying to do the right thing. I’ve got all the best intentions but that’s not enough.
I was imagining what my life might look like if I had never learned that. And in a lot of ways, it sounds sort of happy and carefree. You offload all your problems onto the people around you, shrug off criticism and complaint, and the moment anyone figures out that you’re nothing more than your good intentions you just drop them and find someone else to drag down instead. Does this ever make you or the people you love happy and fulfilled? Certainly not. But you can probably get a few years out of it before you realize. “All the Best Intentions” is a party scene in a reckless and haphazard existence.
Q: I love how songs, in a way, mirror an artist’s personality. Your song is about knowing you shouldn’t do something but doing it anyways. Do you think “All The Best Intentions” somewhat mirrors your personality/attitude?
COUCHSLEEPERS: I don’t know if it’s that I worry I am this way or that I wish I could be this way sometimes. I feel like there’s a selfish and impulsive side of me that I have to constantly keep my eye on. There is a certain appeal to not worrying about anyone else and just doing what you want all the time.
These songs really are all about me at the end of the day. “All the Best Intentions” is a version of me that could be. But I am trying hard not to be that person.
Q: What was the best part of writing “All The Best Intentions”?
COUCHSLEEPERS: It’s nice to write something that feels carefree and upbeat! For better or for worse, I tend to be a songwriter that focuses on conflict, so I don’t always make the opportunity for myself to write something that just feels good. “Best Intentions” feels good to me.
Q: Why the name “Couchsleepers”?
COUCHSLEEPERS: I’ve always had very disordered sleep habits. Things got even worse when I was in high school and just beginning my songwriting journey because I was self-conscious of trying to write. I’d stay up till maybe five in the morning, down in the living room with my guitar. Eventually I’d fall asleep on the couch, only to wake up a few hours later, still in all my clothes, for swim practice or school. The name Couchsleepers occurred to me back then, and I just carried it around in my back pocket until I felt confident enough to use it.
There is some extra satisfaction in how accurately it describes our lifestyle, now, too. You spend a lot of nights on couches (or futons, or floors) when you’re a young band on tour.
Q: What inspired you to become a musician?
COUCHSLEEPERS: I don’t know that there was ever a conscious decision, really. I’ve always been drawn to storytelling in any medium—when I was a kid, I wanted to be an author or an illustrator. I still do, and the list has only gotten longer. Music is just something I think about incessantly. That said, I think there’s a lot of nobility in being an artist (of any medium). Art is inherently compassionate and an incredible effector of change, be it personal or political or whatever. So there’s an aspirational element to this as well—it’d be really cool to be an artist. I’m trying!
Q: What are some of your hobbies?
COUCHSLEEPERS: Admittedly most of my free time connects somehow to music—playing, listening, working on my audio engineering chops. There are a lot of different playgrounds. But I love to read, all kinds of things. Right now I’m reading Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology” and Kirstin Valdez Quade’s “Night at the Fiestas”, a short story collection. I really enjoy cooking, especially with my friends, and I’ve recently discovered a deep fascination with the game of chess (I’m terrible; I’m getting better, slowly). And I enjoy running, or I’m trying to, at least.
Q: I know this is a random question, but I have always wanted to ask someone this. If Walmart gave you the opportunity to take three items for free, what would you take and why?
COUCHSLEEPERS: This is interesting. I haven’t been to a Walmart in a long, long time, so I don’t fully have an idea of what’s available to me here. Strategically it’s probably best to take the three items with the highest resale value, right? Given that I’m not sure if Walmart has what I want. Or maybe they have everything I could ever want. Well, here are three things that I want: more books; a Hammond B3 organ; and I haven’t seen my grandparents in a little while because of the ongoing pandemic, so it’d be wonderful to find a safe way to do that somehow. I want a lot of things, though.
Q: What are you working on now that you would want your fans to know?
COUCHSLEEPERS: More music! And other, more secret projects that we’re excited about.
Interviewed by Taylor Berry