2017 saw Sleeping Lion deliver what would turn out to be their breakout single, "Stop It" -- but acclaim came at a cost. The song found its genesis in the dissolution of Nate Flaks' relationship, an emotional ending that still weighed heavily upon him and, by extension, the band. To shake free of that frustrating fallout, they needed an action of true significance, something to force that first step towards whatever came next for Sleeping Lion. So Flaks and Noah Longworth McGuire packed up their car, wrote their next single, and left Boston for the sunny shores of Los Angeles.
In so many ways, Sleeping Lion's newest song, the lean and cuttingly catchy "Easy For You", is about forward momentum. At its lyrical core, it articulates the transition from remorse to indignant self-acceptance that marks the conclusion of a break up. "The first verse is very apologetic," Flaks explains. "I'm this way, I'm sorry for being this way and making it easy for her to want to leave... But as the song progresses, it becomes more about taking ownership of that sort of stuff. It moves from this song for her to this song for me." Step one is understanding who and what you are; step two is deciding which parts to own and which to change.
For Sleeping Lion, that transition meant returning to a simpler way of songwriting. Sitting outside with an acoustic guitar and tapping out the rhythm on their knees, the duo were able to draw from a previously neglected raw folkiness on "Easy For You". 90% of their 2016 debut EP, Patient Creature, had been written over Skype, with Flaks in New York and McGuire in Rome; creating together gave their music a sense of movement that had only been hinted at before.
And so the band was able to progress towards more melodic songwriting with more personal lyrics. Flaks began to move on from his last heartbreak while he and McGuire looked ahead to their new lives and career in LA. It's never clear what comes next -- step three -- but what's important is actually lifting your foot so you can find your stride. Realizing this, Sleeping Lion is a project just awakening to their potential, and they're not slowing down.
"During this move, driving to Los Angeles with Noah, it was this long, straight road," Flaks says pensively. "And it didn't matter if you were going 30 miles per hour or 100 miles per hour, it was just this one straight road for hours and hours and hours. And I just had to believe that I'd eventually be in California. That's how I feel about my life right now. I could go 30 or 100 and it would be the same road right now, but I have to believe I'm moving towards something. If that's the case, you might as well go 100."
"Leaving wasn't easy," Flaks adds, "but hopefully whatever comes next will be worth it."