Courtesy of Shervin Lainez
Singer and guitarist Paige Brubeck and drummer Evan Sult make up the St. Louis rock duo Sleepy Kitty, and they also were named The Riverfront Times best poster designers in 2011.
By Jonas Weir
Sleepy Kitty has already achieved the near impossible. In an age when funny feline videos rule the internet, the St. Louis indie rock duo, made up of drummer Evan Sult and guitarist and singer Paige Brubeck, has become the first Google result and the first YouTube result when you search for “sleepy kitty.”
“If our band starts elbowing out their cute faces in search results, I’m okay with that,” says drummer Evan Sult. “Those kitties don’t know how good they’ve got it online.”
On the 2014 release of the album Projection Room, you can hear why Sleepy Kitty is beating out adorable kittens for top spots on YouTube. The album offers melodic songs, such as “Don’t You Start” and “What Are You Gonna Do When You Find Bigfoot?” And the band’s sound is wholly original, yet rooted in inspiration from great alternative rock.
The band’s name, though, was actually inspired by the very same online cat videos they’re now topping. After meeting at a party in Chicago, Evan and Paige started playing music together while Paige was working on a class project at the Art Institute of Chicago. After coming up with the name for the band, the two extended the name to all of their creative endeavors.
“The first time we started playing music together, it was kind of just a side project for fun,” Paige says. “Then, we began working on print projects, and we just called everything Sleepy Kitty.”
Although Paige was still in college when she and Evan started creating music and art together, Evan was already a seasoned rock veteran. At the time, he was playing drums in the acclaimed indie rock group Bound Stems. Previously, Evan saw wider commercial success with his band Harvey Danger—a very ’90s alternative rock band whose single “Flagpole Sitta,” known by the lyrics “I’m not sick, but I’m not well,” made it onto the Billboard Top 40 and into movies, TV shows, and the fabric of American pop culture.
“It’s bizarre to hear something from the person I was then, two thousand miles and seventeen years ago in Seattle or whatever, leaking into the air,” Evan says. “I was just at a Cardinals game, which is something the twenty-three-year-old-me would have never been at, and they used our song as the soundtrack to the bloopers reel.”
Despite Sleepy Kitty’s Chicago roots, the band has called St. Louis home for quite some time now. The two moved into a three-thousand-square-foot live-workspace on Cherokee Street in 2008 when rent prices shot up in their Chicago neighborhood. Paige, who grew up in Millstadt, Illinois, was well aware that St. Louis is an artist-friendly city.
“We looked at that place and realized we could do whatever we wanted to do here,” Paige says. “It’s been amazing to watch the neighborhood grow in the meantime.”
Cherokee Street has now been transformed into a culturally hip neighborhood—a sharp change from its nearly abandoned state in 2008. And over that time, Sleepy Kitty has become much more than a college art project. Evan and Paige are some of the most prolific poster designers in St. Louis. They’ve released two full-length albums, and their music has garnered national attention. Evan and Paige are an industrious duo. They do everything from designing and printing their concert posters to writing and recording their own music to making their own music videos. It's hard to call a band this productive sleepy.