The drummer of Sleep Token, known only as II, has granted the first video interview with any member of the mysterious UK alt-metal band.
II spoke with drum-training platform Drumeo, which featured an hour-long video of the drummer discussing his influences and playing style, as well as running through 12 playthroughs of Sleep Token songs.
Considering the band’s music draws comparisons to classic alternative metal acts such as Slipknot and Deftones, it’s no surprise that II cited those bands’ percussionists among his core influences.
“These days, I would describe my playing style as a mixture of that signature Abe Cunningham, Deftones inspired, heavier sort of grooving with a linear style gospel influence,” II said, later adding: “When I first started playing, I — like many others in my generation — was heavily into drummers such as [late Slipknot drummer] Joey Jordison, Matt from the band Mudvayne, as well as the more extreme speed players such as Derek Roddy.”
One of the more notable aspects of Sleep Token is the group’s multi-faceted sound. While their heavier inclinations have endeared the band to fans of metal and goth rock, tangible elements of R&B, electronica, and post-rock are equally prominent in Sleep Token’s music, especially on the acclaimed 2023 album Take Me Back to Eden (which was included on our ranking of the 30 Best Metal & Hard Rock Albums of the Year).
“I’ve always personally taken a lot of inspiration from the UK dance music scene,” II elaborated. “And listening to various subgenres of drum and bass specifically, allow me to incorporate stylistic traits from those genres into my vocabulary as a drummer.”
He continued: “I’m also a big fan of R&B and pop which has worked its way into my playing. I grew up primarily playing metal, so the next obvious step for me was to blend these other styles in amongst heavier playing to add versatility to my drum parts.”
II admitted that while his “stylistic approach and goals have generally stayed the same” throughout the development of Sleep Token as both a studio and live act, he says his “vocabulary on the kit” has expanded, allowing him to add more variation from song to song.
“I tried to work on not always using the same phrases, or using those phrases in the same voicing, to ensure the parts remain somewhat interesting,” he said. “However, this in itself is a continual work in progress. As a player, I will admit that I, like others, don’t always achieve this. But to me, that is very, very much all part of the journey itself.”
Sleep Token are set to play a handful of select US dates in 2024, starting with an appearance at the Sick New World festival on April 27th in Las Vegas. From there, the band will play the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado (May 11th), before a stop at the Sonic Temple festival (May 18th) and a sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City (May 22nd). Get tickets to Sleep Token’s upcoming concerts here.
Below you can check out Drumeo’s full 54-minute session with II of Sleep Token.