Over the last couple of years, Sleep On It has been hard at work on solidifying their rightful place within the alternative music scene. Just last year: they refreshed their lineup, released the incredible Lost Along The Way EP, signed to Equal Vision Records and have been touring nonstop with equally great pop punk acts across the U.S.

Along the way of their well-deserved meteoric rise, they also wrote a record – one that I would qualify as one of the best pop punk albums of the year. Released earlier this month, Sleep On It’s debut album Overexposed, available on Equal Vision Records, is moving, cohesive and a wide-eyed look into the talent the band wields as a whole.

We chatted with TJ Horansky, guitarist and vocalist of Sleep On It, about the making of Overexposed, tour life and he shared some favorite hometown bands – plus some additional hot takes on the greatest song ever written (it’s a good one). Read our interview below.

Congratulations on your debut album! How has the response been so far from family, friends and fans?

The response has been totally humbling. It’s our first full-length record and we had no idea how people would respond. We put a lot of thought in to the track listing. We finished the album way back in February, so we had to wait almost a year for everyone to actually hear it.

It was only a year ago that you released Lost Along The Way, but to your fans it feels like much longer – they have seemed eager to have new music. Have you been working on Overexposed since the EP or beforehand?

We wrote a few ideas for Overexposed while we were writing for the EP. We held on to some of those ideas for the full-length because we wanted to keep the EP more concise. The wait for everyone to hear Overexposed felt incredibly long for us too.

Tell me more about what it was like to work with Seth [Henderson] and having Derek [DiScanio] on production for the album.

We feel like Seth and Derek are the dream team. We immediately felt so comfortable with Seth at the helm. We have a lot of similar influences, so he understands exactly what we are going for. Derek really helped with song structure and vocal melodies. We’re all fans of State Champs, so bringing him on board was a no-brainer.

There are lots of different themes about loss, heartache, life on the road, but also a sense of sanguineness throughout the album. What would you say is the overarching message you’d like for your fans to take from these songs and album as a whole?

I think a common theme throughout a lot of our music is simply wanting to become a better person through all of our faults and shortcomings. Life is filled with it’s share of heartache and loss, but you have to find a way to accept the pain and say “Okay, now what am I going to do about it?” Even through the sadness and frustration, I think our songs have a positive message of hope.

Sleep On It has done a lot of touring in just this past year alone supporting As It Is, State Champs and now Waterparks. Has that been an adjustment for the band or do you enjoy being on the road?

It’s definitely been an adjustment but we do enjoy being on the road. This year has been a lot of work. I love traveling, but the tour grind can be very grueling at times. Meeting new fans and friends around the country helps make it all worth it.

You’re about to embark on your biggest tour to date with Waterparks and previous tourmates As It Is, even playing your biggest hometown show (excluding Riot Fest), do you still get jitters before going on stage?

I usually get jitters at the beginning of tour because we haven’t quite hit our stride yet. After a few shows though, we fall in to a rhythm and it’s a lot easier. We’ve also been playing much bigger rooms on this tour, so that has been an adjustment for us.

Let’s talk about your fans and stans! Since you catapulted into the scene stronger than ever with the new line up and EP, you have amassed quite the number of fans who create all kinds of content about you guys and they ship with former tourmates Grayscale. How have you adjusted to coming to terms with having a legion of fans to answer to?

It’s been incredible. Our fanbase has recently deemed themselves “Pillowcases.” I love that. Our fans have been so kind and generous and supportive, and we love seeing that community grow. We really try to make the extra effort to meet fans after shows and answer their questions on social media. We could not continue to do this without them.

Can you share what is next post-Waterparks tour? Do we have a Sleep On It headlining tour in the works perhaps? 

We are currently working on some touring plans for 2018 but nothing is set in stone yet. We really want to head overseas. The international SOI fanbase has grown exponentially and we can’t wait to hit those markets.

As a band that is still very much ingrained in the Chicago music scene, what are some local bands that you’re really loving at the moment and want everyone to know about?

We love Highwire, Davlin, Tiny Kingdoms and Marina City. They’re not from Chicago, but everyone should listen to Capstan and Embracer as well.

Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

We’d just like to thank everyone for the support surrounding Overexposed thus far. If you enjoy the record, share it with a friend or ten! Also “All Star” by Smash Mouth is the greatest song ever written. Except maybe “Africa” by Toto.

Listen to Overexposed below and catch Sleep On It on tour this winter with Chapel, As It Is and Waterparks – see dates near you here.