by Taylor Roy
“Sorry I’m late, guys. I was practicing piano,” said James as he entered Stage Right at the patio outside Bobby B’s coffee shop.
Three members of the alternative-rock band Sleepless Pacific — James Bishop, Esteban Cervantes and Taylor Eldreth — met in elementary school and are now PLNU freshmen together.
As Eldreth continued to drum a beat on his legs, Cervantes explained how they all connected through middle school band and high school marching band, along with their friends Robin Morris, a high school senior, and Logan Nelson, a college sophomore.
“Our high school was putting on battle of the bands, and I really wanted to be a part of it,” said Cervantes. “We practiced a couple times, went to sign up, and they said it was cancelled. I was like, ‘Well, are we still going to be a band?’”
The show went on. Cervantes was just learning guitar as the group started practicing every Sunday at Eldreth’s church, thanks to the generosity of his father. They were dedicated to their collective musical growth, but their sound was not traveling far.
The band started seeking out gigs. Booking shows at the San Diego County Fair, House of Blues, Lestat’s Coffee Shop, Whisky a Go Go of Hollywood and several local San Diego spots, Sleepless Pacific has rocked approximately 30 stages.
The band came close to achieving their dream of opening for their biggest inspiration.
“We played before Switchfoot,” Cervantes said, “but didn’t open for them.”
Sleepless Pacific finally received their second chance to vie for winner of battle of the bands. This time proved successful; the band won PLNU’s battle of the bands on October 25, hosted by the Invisible Children club.
“It’s good for us because we have a whole new fan base,” said Bishop. “It’s also really accessible for our friends to come watch us.”
Bishop explained that while each has grown as a musician individually, they have not been able to collaborate together as often.
“It’s tough to stay focused practice-wise,” said Bishop. “Not having a practice room, first of all. And keeping focused academically with a whole social world.”
Though they hope to share their music with the campus, they are interested in integrating PLNU’s community into their work. Though sound checks and harmonies do not happen frequently, the band recognizes a different kind of preparation fostered by PLNU.
“The values that we’re learning here and growing as people is going to overflow into our music,” Bishop said. “Our music has changed … mostly lyrically and music-wise. Going from writing all about girls we have crushes on to things that we want to change.”
“But we still write about girls,” Cervantes interjected.
The concept of the band’s name, Sleepless Pacific, captures their desire to transition to this next stage of life.
“We’d grown up in the same town for 18 years,” said Bishop. “I felt sleepless, anxious about wanting to get out there.”
Their song “Sleepless” explores this feeling.
“Taylor came up with this other part of the name,” said Bishop. “We really wanted to incorporate the ‘Pacific.’ We’re San Diego kids.”
Their first album, Breaking Ground, will be released January 11, 2013, and features 12 professionally-recorded original songs. Their current focus is enacting a publicity plan and sending the album to record labels. Until then, Sleepless Pacific hopes students will keep their ears open for a release party.
“For me one of the coolest things about being in a band together, is being in a band with my best friends,” reflected Bishop. “We grow in music and grow in love … all for the glory of God.”