The Loud Ring of Sleigh Bells
Published May 22, 2010When Brooklyn's Sleigh Bells exploded across indie music blogs in late 2009, one surprising fact about the noisy dance pop duo was that guitarist/producer Derek Miller was in Floridian metalcore innovators Poison the Well. Wait, what? "In Poison the Well I was always trying to mix heavy stuff with melodic stuff," Miller explains. "I think Sleigh Bells have the same goal. You have this harsh, rhythmic, blown-out sound, but then you have these sweet melodies and female presence to balance it out."
The sweet melodies come courtesy of Alexis Krauss; together they have found a unique sound that brings together candy-coated vocal hooks and violent metal riffs with crashing drumbeats. What's most intriguing about Sleigh Bells, however, is Miller's production style, which uses extreme levels of speaker-blowing dissonance. Surprisingly, for their debut album, Treats, the two chose to reuse their demos.
"We did a new version of 'Crown On the Ground' and we didn't like it as much," Miller says. "So I just put a heavier kick-drum underneath the demo and mastered it. It's identical, but with a little more bottom end." M.I.A. couldn't agree more with what they're doing. Not only did she sign Sleigh Bells to her N.E.E.T. label, but she also hired Miller to produce a track for her upcoming album. "It really gave me the confidence to do the Sleigh Bells record because I was maybe going to get a co-producer. But I just felt so good after that."