Today is the day!! Sleeping With Sirens has released their Warner debut ‘Gossip’ and i was lucky enough to chat with their bassist Justin Hills about working with produce David Bendeth, being the big boys in the scene and the possibility of an Australian tour next year.
The band is on the road as we speak with a few weeks left of tour. How does it feel having the album come out next week and you’re playing your older songs, is there a temptation to play a lot of these new songs although they’re not released?
Oh of course. That’s all we really want to do, play these new songs. It’s kind of a tease cause we’re out here and we’ve got to wait to play them. But we are playing a few of the new tunes.
When it came to writing this album what were the influences this time around?
Well now that we have put out a few records we just signed with Warner and you know we kind of had to put our big boy pants on and get serious about it and write some stuff that is more gettable. I feel like we had a second chance to restart and revamp the whole sound and make the band a lot more gettable, have like a regular single or two. We kind of went into it all with a bit more maturity, you know?
Now that you are one of the longer lasting bands on the scene do you feel a type or responsibility within the band to keep creating the uniqueness that is Sleeping With Sirens?
With the things that have been happening with the songs it really puts you in a situation where you’re kind of looking at it like “wow this has already happened. The possibilities are endless”. It’s one of those things where you get a taste of it and you either don’t go back or you keep pushing forward. And honestly, I don’t want to cheat the fans and put the same record out twice. With our fan base being a bit younger it may take them a while to get it but if you start backing it and claiming it’s the best record you’ve done to date, once that gets into their heads they go “ you know what? You’re right” and they start to catch on.
With both the band and fans being younger you’d get to grow together not just in age but also in music taste.
We were actually asked that question the other day and I think it’s amazing and so cool seeing a lot of the fans coming back and one telling you they have gone to 26 SWS shows. I feel like we get to be mentors and an example for some of the fans that have been listening the whole time. Now they’re getting older and experienced a bit more of life they understand they weren’t alone back then. They aren’t the only ones who have been through that hell.
The band worked with David Bendeth, who has so many great albums behind him, how was that experience for the band?
To be honest he’s always wanted to work with us and we’ve always been so close to choosing him as producer but I feel like it didn’t work out before because it wasn’t the right time. I feel like this time our stars finally aligned and it was a meant to be thing. He really, really helped our band come together as a group and help us realise it wasn’t about drums being super cool or a guitar solo being super loud and in your face. It was more about good song writing as a whole and I remember sitting down with him at his house the first day, before we even started recording, he got everybody in the band on the same page and we sat down and had a little therapy session to make sure everybody was on the same page and to see what he was getting himself into and what we were getting ourselves into. He made us work for it and it wasn’t easy at all. There were points where everybody was pissed off and upset or felt like they weren’t doing their part right etc. but he likes to take you down to those lows and build you up and tell you that you did a really great job and that makes it seem like it’s all worth it. I did a good job because I was good not cause the producer says, “ Yeah that was alright I can work with”. Everything we played is real and all the sounds were made from something. He made us work for it but in the end it was worth it.
When it came time to choose ‘Legends’ as the lead single, how did you go about narrowing it down to that song?
It was hard for me because I’m always the one that picks the personal favourite and I got stuck on that one but David was pretty good with that as well. We sat down after we had gone through 23 songs and took that down to 12 or 13 and started putting into a list of pop, rock, adult contemporary and David suggested that we had a better shot at being an alternative band and when he heard ‘Legends’ he said it was going to be a total smash and kept telling us it needed to be one of our singles. David is the smartest man alive when it comes to music so we put a lot of trust in him and it worked out.
You’ve announced shows over there for the release of the album but as cliché as it sounds when will your Australian fans be seeing you?
I can’t say everything that is about to happen but what I can say is all of next year we’re going to be very busy and we won’t be home much so if that says anything…
I can speak for the band when I say Australia is one of our favourite places to play and we definitely need to come back and we definitely will be coming back.