Artist Spotlight: Sleepy Gonzales

Catch this band of (mostly) KPU students performing on campus

From left to right: Beni Hobson-Dimas, Allyson Lowry, Cristian Hobson-Dimas, and Nick Moniz strike a pose in the KPU Surrey campus parking lot. (Aly Laube)

It’s not every day that an indie rock band plays at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The chances of being able to watch live music anywhere near the Surrey campus are usually fairly abysmal, with only open mics and special performances popping up from time to time.

That’s why, when Sleepy Gonzales played at the Grassroots Cafe this year, the band made waves in the community. Shortly afterwards, we started seeing their gig posters between housing ads and survey call-outs on our campus bulletins.

The band is made up of Surrey locals, three of which—Beni and Cristian Hobson-Dimas and Allyson Lowry—are students at KPU. The other is their bassist, a punk rock devotee named Nick Moniz, who is the most recent addition to the band.

Sleepy Gonzales say that they’re happy to be a part of the university’s culture.

“There were actually quite a few people here for the open mics. Everybody who goes here has something they want to express, whether it’s a song or a poem or whatever, and they get to have a stage here to do it,” says Hobson-Dimas. “Being more open about how we’re in a band, people from Kwantlen actually come out to our shows that are not at Kwantlen and it’s really cool to see people I’ve seen at school come because we bothered to put posters up.”

“The creative writing department has a sense of community because I always see the same people, so it’s nice to get to know them,” says Lowry. “Doing the open mics kind of added to it as well because it wasn’t just like, ‘I’m going to school and I leave.’”

You might also recognize Cristian from one of KPU’s promotional ads, or Beni as your friendly neighbourhood tutor in the learning centre.

Drummer Beni and guitarist Cristian are twin brothers and the primary songwriters for the band. The three boys were in a punk rock band together before deciding to dedicate their energy solely to Sleepy Gonzales.

On their social media, they describe themselves as “suburban sadness drenched in reverb” or, alternatively “dreamlike melodies backed by raw, tired energy.” While the former may have been truer of their early releases, the latter is becoming increasingly more fitting, especially with their new Crash and the Boys-esque single, “IFHY”.

On March 30 the band dropped a six-song, self-titled EP including some never-before-seen material and a handful of revamped renditions of old releases.

“There’s a punk song called ‘I Fuckin’ Hate You’ but there’s also the opposite end of the spectrum with a song called ‘Close Enough’ which is just a groovy dance love song,” says Beni. “The songs in between those build a bridge between them because there’s more energetic songs and softer songs.”

“I feel like a large range of people will enjoy it because of that,” adds Lowry.

“With this one, I’ll be proud to show anyone who asks,” continues Beni. “Usually I’m kind of shy because I’m not completely proud of something we’ve made, but this one I’ll toss at all my profs, at all the people I tutor. I’ll throw it at them.”

Their sound is becoming heavier and more danceable as the band gets comfortable in their role as a gigging Vancouver band.

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