Ahead of this year’s Best New Bands showcase in the Mainroom on January 18, we’re getting to know some of the bands performing that night. Here, we ask Nick Elstad of Sleeping Jesus a few questions. 

By Emily Hoar

Emily Hoar: You’re from Winona, MN…which has kind of a twin cities vibe with La Crosse, WI. Can you tell us a little bit more about what the music scene is like over there? What do you like? What would you change? 

Nick Elstad (Sleeping Jesus): I am from Winona! Winona has a really tight knit music scene, everybody is so lovingly supportive. There are so many great festivals that happen throughout the year that bring in musicians from across the nation. Folk and bluegrass are very much adored in the area but there is a love for all styles. I hope more and more college students decide to choose Winona as their place to create. It would be so great to see Winona’s scene become more and more diverse, which I think is happening now! It’s so exciting! 

EH: How long have you been the Booking Manager at Midwest Music Festival? Has that exposure to a variety of artists influenced your music in any way? 

NE: As I mentioned before, Mid West Music Fest is one of the great festivals in Winona. I have been working with the fest for the past few years but have been a fan since I moved to the city in 2011. I owe so much to the festival and those who have continued to build it. The diversity of the fest opened me up to some of my favorite acts. I saw Tapes n’ Tapes, Halloween Alaska, Zoo Animal, Carroll, and so many other amazing acts from the Twin Cities through the years. It has been so humbling to work for the fest. And now it is surreal for me to get to share the stage with so many amazing groups for the show at First Avenue. I feel so honored that we are apart of it, Minneapolis continues to feel like another home to me. 

EH: Who do you look to for an honest review of your work? 

NE: Leah, my partner, who also sings in Sleeping Jesus, is the one who always gets to hear the rough takes and trials. I love how honest she is, she isn’t afraid to say “I don’t like it” or “not my favorite”. It saves me a lot of time, as I can find my self dwelling on different versions of songs and melodies for months at a time. I still do plenty of dwelling though!