The brothers Zac and Ethan Holzman were fans of vintage Cambodian music. Singers like Sinn Sisamouth, whose music was banned during the regime of Pol Pot in 1975, were among their favorites. When they met Chhom Nimol, a karaoke star from Cambodia who had moved to L.A., the band they had dreamed of for years was created: Dengue Fever. The Oriental voice of Nimol along with the psychedelic sound of guitars and keyboards, is the characteristic seal of their music. They were successful in Cambodia, where Khmer Rouge, a communist political party, killed some of the musicians because of the mix of pop and cambodian music they played.
"Sleepway through the Mekong" is the name of a documentary that shows the trip to Cambodia that the members of Dengue Fever had to do in order to perform at the Water music festival. The name of the band was inspired by a trip to Cambodia that Zac did. He was in a car with a friend, who was sick with dengue, and the music of Sinn Sisamouth was on.