Student Spotlight: Sleeping Pilots


Until recently, local band, Sleeping Pilots, has been flying under the radar. Now, the loud, fast-paced, three-piece band is gaining popularity and ready to rock.

Roughly three years ago, in their freshman year, juniors Alex Stoitsiadis and Ryan Werner were brought together by their love of music. Both had been attending the School of Rock in downtown Rochester when, one day, they decided to jam. It wasn’t until their sophomore year that they became the Sleeping Pilots. After adding Troy Athens freshman Claire Davis on bass in February, they’ve become “your friendly neighborhood three piece jam band.”

“When we first started jamming, we were both on guitar, and Alex hadn’t started playing drums yet. I remember thinking ‘wow, we have a really good thing going.’ We were playing Thickfreakness by the Black Keys, and I remember thinking in that moment, ‘this is going to work,’” said Werner.

Since the very beginning, the Adams community has been involved with the Sleeping Pilots. When the band was just starting out, they narrowed the possible band names to five that they liked and left the rest up to their future fan base. Thus, the band became known as the Sleeping Pilots.

“We definitely weren’t named after the band 21 Pilots,” said Stoitsiadis. “A lot of people think that, but we didn’t even really know they were a thing.”

For the members of Sleeping Pilots, there is no lack of musical talent. Alex has been singing and playing drums and for four years, while Ryan has been playing guitar and bass for six years.

“Music is everywhere, and we wanted to contribute to the soundtrack of life with our skills and awesome band chemistry,” said Werner. “It’s just something that we’re really passionate about. To me, music is painting the air with sound.”

Right now you can catch Sleeping Pilots playing weekend gigs at different battle of the bands competitions and smaller establishments, like bars and coffeehouses. However, it is the hope of the band to one day make it big.

“We want to be big, but still stay small enough to be close to our fans. Overall, though, we want to have fun,” said Stoitsiadis.

Their fans clearly mean the world to the Sleeping Pilots, as their appreciation and love for them is written all over the Sleeping Pilots Facebook page – literally. Besides updates on performances, the band posts nuggets of appreciation like:

“Well guys, we had a great night – that’s what it’s all about. Thank you so much to everyone who came and supported us. There’s more shows on the way!”

Although the band loves their fans, they also love the other perks of being in a band.

“We really just like the creativity it gives us, and just jamming and playing in front of people,” said Werner.

The Sleeping Pilots are heavily influenced by rock greats like The White Stripes, Radiohead, The Doors, the “original” Arctic Monkeys, Fulani, and The Strokes. Although the members of Sleeping Pilots draw inspiration from such iconic groups, they have a sound that’s all their own.

“We have a kind of bluesy, new-age or post punk feel,” said Stoitsiadis.

There’s no doubt, with the level of dedication and passion for music, the band will make it to the level they want to achieve. For more information on the Sleeping Pilots, visit their Facebook page and make sure to support them at their next show. To find the band’s previous performances, check out the “motorcty1” YouTube channel.