Sleeping At Last
About Sleeping At Last
Sleeping At Last’s sweeping orchestral-pop soundscapes are the stuff of starry-eyed daydreams and otherworldly aspirations. Since forming in 1999 in suburban Chicago, the project has evolved from an alt-rock trio championed by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan to an ambitious solo outlet for singer/songwriter and composer Ryan O’Neal. After securing a record deal with Interscope and releasing their 2003 emo-leaning debut, Ghosts, the threesome quickly returned to their independent roots. They began expanding their sound by softening it: hushed acoustic melodies dominated 2009’s Storyboards. By 2011, the band were reduced to one, with O’Neal transforming Sleeping At Last into a vehicle for his blossoming composer career. The prolific polymath kicked off this new phase with his Yearbook series—releasing three songs per month for one year—and the first of two Covers albums, in which he turns hits like “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” into ethereal elegies. This type of conceptual work would become his obsession: 2014’s Atlas: Year One journeys through an all-encompassing study of the universe with O’Neal’s aching vocals soaring over a meticulous weave of folk, pop and classical layers. The 2019 follow-up, Atlas: II, has him focusing inward, translating emotions, senses and the nine Enneagram personality types into equally lush compositions. Going forward, his ambitions remain boundless, with projects like 2020’s Astronomy—featuring ambient instrumentals inspired by astronomical events—offering more riveting peeks into O’Neal’s infinite vision.