Sleeping at Last’s Ryan O’Neal is getting ready to celebrate. Close to wrapping up the first year of his impressive Atlas EP project, he enthuses, “It feels so wonderful to reach this milestone!”
O’Neal, a solo artist working under the name Sleeping at Last, talked with us about Atlas, art, faith and what he sees in his creative future.
Life, as Explored Through Art
Sleeping at Last describes Atlas as, “An ongoing series of EPs, inspired by the origins, emergence and experiences of life.” It’s an artistic approach to diving deep into creation and life in all its many forms.
And art it is. Sleeping at Last’s indie rock style is expressed in through a varied repertoire of instrumentation and vocals. Some of the numbers are moving instrumentals, but most include O’Neals poetic lyrics as well. Guest artists add extra musical elements, such as strings, brass and unique percussion instruments, to the songs.
In regard to the spiritual aspects of songwriting, O’Neal relates, “All forms of creativity are a practice of faith. You pick up your pen or guitar or paintbrush and you wait for something bigger than you to show up. In that difficult space of waiting and doubt, there is so much beauty in that display of faith.”
He continues, “In that way, songwriting is very spiritual, and for me, the process runs parallel with my faith.” In fact, faith and spirituality, love and life and grace are underlying themes in Sleeping at Last’s music. The honest, emotional songs will challenge listeners to seek greater intimacy with God and new expressions for living out their faith.
One Year, Six Parts
Atlas: Year 1 is more than just a single album. Rather, it is comprised of six individual EPs, each with a particular theme. The first installment, Darkness, came out in January 2013 and was followed by Light, Space 1, Space 2, and most recently, Land. The final EP, the all-instrumental Oceans, will be released soon.
Each has four to six songs, whose focus and style is shaped by the theme of recording. With each release, the Sleeping at Last blog puts out song notes that give fans a fascinating glimpse at the artistry behind the songs.
More to Come
The first year of Atlas will be wrapped up shortly, but that’s not the end of this project. Next up is Atlas: Year 2. In fact, listeners can expect Sleeping at Last to continue releasing Atlas EPs for at least three more years. As O’Neal puts it, “It’s been a wonderful year of making music, and it feels so great to be nearly at the finish line. But, since Atlas is an ongoing series… I can’t get too comfortable!”
And after that? He admits, “I haven’t even imagined what life might look like after Atlas, but I can guarantee that whenever this massive project ends, I’ll always have an itch to keep writing and releasing music.”
For Your Own Copies
Atlas EPs or songs can be purchased individually in digital format from most digital music retailers.
Alternatively, if you want to own all of the songs, consider a $24.99 subscription to Passport. Subscribers receive all six of the Atlas: Year 1 EPs, plus bonus features, including liner notes and early access to new releases. The subscription service also includes digital copies of a painting by artist Geoff Benzing for each song. Passport can be purchased through the Sleeping at Last online store.
For a product that you can hold in your hands, upgrade to Passport Plus. For $64.99, you receive all of the digital content, plus CDs, a storage box and 4×4-inch prints of the paintings.
Sleeping at Last plans to continue the Passport option for future years of the Atlas project. O’Neal assures listeners, “The Passport subscription option will definitely be a continuing part of it!”
For fans both old and new, Sleeping at Last’s Atlas project is one to follow. With exquisite instrumentation, emotional lyrics and beautiful artwork, there’s something new to appreciate every time you listen.
What’s your favorite Sleeping at Last song? As you take in the music, if a line especially resonates with you, share it here with us.