Posted August 28, 2017 by Jeff in Tunes

Why Sleeping with Sirens is Now Age Appropriate

Sleeping with Sirens
Sleeping with Sirens

Gossip, the latest effort from post-hardcore heroes Sleeping With Sirens, doesn’t drop until late September, but the release has already yielded several successful singles. In fact “Legends was been named the official song of Team USA for the 2018 Olympics. The band performed the anthemic track at this year’s Teen Choice Awards. Sleeping with Sirens kicks off a four-week tour in support of the disc on August 31 in San Francisco at Slim’s. Singer-keyboardist Kellin Quinn spoke to us from his Michigan home as the band was preparing to head out on the “B-market tour.” After the current small hall tour, the band will go overseas to tour with Rise Against.

Did the band first come together in Orlando?
We did our first record in Orlando and spent about six months there. Some of the earlier members were from Orlando. Now, the only remaining member is [guitarist] Jack [Fowler]. It is what it is. Our band came from the Internet. Justin and Gabe have been friends of mine for a while. The rest of the band is people I have met online. We don’t really have a home base. If Orlando claims us, that’s fine with us.

You had been in previous bands. What did you try to do differently with Sleeping with Sirens? Did you have a game plan?
Not really. I got hit up by the original guitar player who wanted me to sing on a project. He was working with a producer Cameron Mizell, who’s worked with a bunch of bands I had known.  I wanted to give it a shot. I wasn’t doing much on my own, but I didn’t think it would go anywhere. I took the chance to go out there and give this band a shot and here we are seven years later.

Did you have any sense that it would last?
I could tell it was a lot more professional in terms of how the music was sounding. I felt like our music was on par with the other bands who had recorded where we were recording. Cameron was also in A&R and helped us get in the door. It felt special, but it felt like I was acting a part. With the band now, it feels more like me. It’s more my vibe as far the music goes. I’ve been into older bands and pop and acoustic music.

Coming from a post-hardcore scene, it felt like I was acting out a part. Now, it feel like we’re just a rock band, and it feels natural and right.

As you were writing the songs for Gossip, what did you set out to do?
I just wanted to sound 31. I still feel like our fans are such young kids. I feel like it’s my responsibility to make a record that’s more mature . . . for my sake. I don’t want to feel like an impostor. I feel like there are bands that try to hang onto being 18 even though they’re really not. I wanted to make a record that felt my age. I wanted to relate to the songs. That was number one for me. Everything else fell into place.

You worked with producer David Bendeth (Paramore, All Time Low) on the album. What was that experience like?
He has a clear vision, sometimes a clearer vision than we do. He just showed up at these shows of ours in New York for like three years. He has a deep scratchy voice and would go, “Hey, I wanna do your next record.” He’s known for doing these heavy bands like Of Mice & Men. And he did Paramore’s Riot! record. Everything he’s done up until our band has been heavy. We weren’t sure. We had some influence of heavy in us, but we’re definitely not Of Mice & Men. What I loved about him was that he would always show up and he really wanted to work with us, so it just made sense to do it.

“Empire to Ashes” features some really poetic lyrics. What is that song about?
That song is about the world we live in. I think we feel like we could be trapped in this cage that we can’t escape. We wake up every day and worry about how to survive and support our families and forget how to live. That’s what that song is about. The lyrics aren’t so literal. I am very literal and that song is more metaphorical. It’s nice to just paint a picture. That’s how it took form. People say it reminds them of Game of Thrones. I didn’t mean that, but there is stuff in there that comes off as very Game of Thrones. If you’re an avid watcher, it’s pretty funny. Some kids have taken quotes form the song and correlated them with the show.

Did something in particular inspire “Legends”? I take it you didn’t write it with the 2018 Olympics in mind?
Not at all. Me and Stevie Aiello and Dave Bendeth worked on that. Stevie plays bass in 30 Seconds to Mars. I got the chance to work with him. He had this music and different lyrics and a whole vision for the song. He was singing me the words and I wasn’t really feeling it. I did get inspired by the song. I wanted to write [something that] felt anthemic and gave people hope. I think everyone has a dream they want to follow but the important thing is about climb and the work you put in and how that will help you become a legend at some point.

The vocals in “Cheers” are particularly snotty. Talk about your approach to that song.
When I was working on that song, I told the guys in the band that I wanted it to feel like we were in a dirty, grungy bar. It’s like you’ve been working all day and going through the motions and it’s like a Friends or Seinfeld episode and you get home from work and your friends are there, and it doesn’t matter how shitty life is. As long as you have people around you, you can make anything happen. It’s also like if we could write our version of “Party Hard” by Andrew W.K., what would it be?

This band lineup seems really solid.
This is the final lineup. I’m at the point now where if there are any more member changes, it would be the end of the band. I don’t see anyone being replaced. I love everyone in the band and I think they’re meant to be here.

The current tour finds you playing some small halls.
We wanted to focus on starting off the whole campaign with the CD and the record with some shows that you’ll need to buy tickets in advance for. We didn’t want people wait. We’ll have some back catalog songs we’ve either never played or only played a few times. We did an acoustic tour about a year ago and we’ll have a breakdown where we do something like that. We’ll talk about the songs and give the back story about how we wrote them. It’ll be up close and personal, like a behind-the-music episode. We want it to be really special for the fans who have been there from the start.

Since you wrote the new songs as a 31-year-old, what’s it like to play the songs you wrote when you were in your twenties?
It’s a trip. We did some pop-up shows and played Chain Reaction in Anaheim. I remember walking in the Green Room there, and it brought me back to the first time we ever played there with our van and trailer and being so wet behind the ears and not knowing what the hell we were doing. When you’re in it, you don’t appreciate everything that’s happened until you step away from it. We’ve been doing this for eight years. That’s a feat. Many bands can’t say that. It’s good to remember why you’re doing it. This tour will help us realize that. When you’re playing big shows with other bands that draw big crowds, it’s hard to remember why you started.



Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.