Floridians Sleeping With Sirens have always stood apart from their post-hardcore brethren. Vocalist Kellin Quinn’s unique tenor and the band’s adventurous songwriting are points of difference to the hordes of cookie-cooker contemporaries inhabiting a crowded scene.
Fourth album Madness finds Sleeping With Sirens fully embracing those differences, teaming with noted hit maker John Feldmann to boldly reinvent their sound, utilising Quinn’s otherworldly abilities as the basis for a whole new world of sonic experimentation. The result is a shiny pop-rock record full of radio-hits-in-waiting which has the band ideally positioned for mainstream success.
In the lead up to the release of Madness, the band’s “new guy”, guitarist Nick Martin, gave Music Feeds an insight into the rather unorthodox creative process that unleashed Madness upon the world.
Listen: Sleeping With Sirens – Kick Me
Music Feeds: Your new full-length Madness is about to be released, and it features quite an evolution musically. You’ve mentioned elsewhere that you ‘found your sound’ on Madness. Was that the result of a concentrated effort or was it more a natural progression?
Nick Martin: I think it was an extremely natural progression. This is my first album with the band, but we wrote a whole other album before this that we ended up scrapping. Going into the Madness sessions, we were at a point that we just wanted to write and record whatever we wanted to. No boundaries. No rules. That was beauty of Madness.
MF: You worked with producer John Feldmann, who has an incredible track record across all genres. How much did his input influence the sound of the record?
NM: I love Feldmann like a brother. I did a record with him in my previous band, DRUGS, which was the last record I had done before joining SWS. His musical input, and overall presence, is unmatched in this industry. He’s such a brilliant individual and being able to work with him is a dream come true. And he makes killer coffees.
MF: John is infamous for having some rather unorthodox methods. Tell us how he was able to draw out your best performances.
NM: Unorthodox is an understatement. He really understands and knows how to create a “vibe”. He senses when everyone maybe isn’t on the same page or someone isn’t having the greatest day – and he can spin off of that and make you feel inspired to write. If the environment doesn’t feel right, we’ll hop in his car, he’ll drive 120 MPH to get your adrenaline going, stop at a coffee shop, shoot the shit, and then end up at a beach writing a song with him.
It’s never a strict writing/recording regiment everyday. It changes every day with him. That’s how he’s able to continually keep the creative juices going and allowing different scenarios and environments to create artistic nuances.
MF: Lead single Kick Me and its follow up Go Go Go are markedly different songs – Kick Me seems to act as a bridge to the more ‘pop’ oriented sound of Go Go Go. Were those two songs deliberately chosen to display the two sides of Madness?
NM: Madness is a conglomeration of so many styles of music, without being completely out of control. We could write an album full of Kick Mes. We could’ve written an album full of Go Go Gos. But there’s no fun in that. There’s no challenge as an artist doing that. It would be such a boring record, to us. We are all such eclectic music lovers and listeners. We want that to be conveyed. Madness is many sides and many faces. That’s the beauty behind the record.
MF: Did you have any fears that fans might not be ready to embrace these changes?
NM: Any artist would be lying if they said they didn’t fear how fans will react to new material. But that feeling is a minuscule feeling, especially when you’re so confident in what you’ve created. We know that not everyone will like our new stuff, and that’s OK. You can’t please everybody. But at the end of the day, it’s important that we love what we are doing and what we are putting out to the world. It’s just a bonus when the fans do get attached to it.
MF: Is there one song on Madness that you feel defines the record?
NM: I don’t know if one song defines the record since it’s such a wide array of songs and sounds. I love the title track. Holds a dear spot in my heart. It’s such a beautiful song with so many things going on throughout it. It’s such a journey of a song. Maybe that defines the record, being the title track.
MF: Lyrically, Madness seems to be a rather uplifting record, despite covering some deep topics. Is it important to you to be a positive influence?
NM: Of course. I, myself, am an extremely positive and optimistic person. But we all have those moments in our lives where it can be hard to stay positive. It’s important to us that we touch on those subjects and show that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
MF: You’ve developed a reputation as a killer live act, and your Australian fans love you. When will we be seeing you back in Australia to support Madness?
NM: This year. I can’t say when. But it will be this year. I love Australia!
‘Madness’ is out now via Epitaph.