Interview: While She Sleeps

While She Sleeps is currently playing the last few dates of their first ever headline tour. The band had a very successful year, so we sat down with them in Eindhoven to catch up.

It’s been less than a year since we sat crammed up in the backstage of Bibelot, where you played your first Dutch show. You’ve been playing shows non stop, doing the Metal Hammer Razor tour, BMTH dates, the secret show at Groezrock, almost a first US tour and now your first headline tour. Can you explain the success?

We sort of just stuck with what we wanted to do. Last year we played to a bigger audience by doing different tours like the Silverstein tour. We did the best we could on every stage, to every crowd and it seems to work. WSS is not a typical metalcore band. Over the year, it seemed like a lot of people switched to listening to pure hardcore bands, though it’s those kids that also still support us. I guess we’re aggressive and hard enough for the hardcore kids, and have enough melody to also satisfy the metalcore kids. Sort of the best of both worlds…

Your lyrics are a lot influenced by where you’re from. How do you think the traveling, visiting new places, meeting new people, etc. influence your personalities?

Yeah, I don’t know if it has changed our writing, but definitely our personalities. The traveling and meeting new people just gets you more experienced and open minded. It also made us more stationary to our relationships with people. There’s been people drifting away and people staying. You really get to know your real friends if you’re constantly on the road, the people that will always be there to have a drink with or just hang out when you get back, or give you a call.

You’ve tasted a bit of what’s possible in this industry and what the future might hold for you. What are your expectations?

All eyes on the new album, on the next step… If people like it we’ll see where it will lead.

The new record is not loads different. It still has the Sleeps edge, but the melodic parts you’re used to will be more melodic and the heavy parts heavier. Even if we’d put out an album that not everybody would like, it will be an album we really like, you know what I mean? And hopefully that will show in everything we do.

Can you already give away some details?

We don’t know specifically how many tracks will be on there, as we’re still in the working process. There are some interlude pieces and we still have to figure out how we’ll use them. All together there will be about 10 or 11 tracks on the record, though we’re still putting the songs together. We’ve been working on pre-pros, but things will change once we’re in the studio. We’re not a band that gets a track fully finished before recording it, but we’ll have a clearer view on it once the rough lines are recorded so we can still make some final decisions in the studio. So songs we wrote might still change.

After the tour we’ll have a week off, and in November Adam will start tracking drums. We’ve never been in the studio before since we produced all our previous stuff ourselves, so that’s sick. We plan on releasing the record in Spring 2012.

Are you putting the record out yourselves or have you been talking to labels?

Yeah, we’ve been talking to a few labels, but we don’t know exactly who’s gonna put it out yet. But it’s good [laughs]. It’s the good ones.

The North Stands For Nothing has also just been physically released in Australia, so we’re planning on also releasing the new record there and in Japan, The Sates, etc. The more, the merrier.

The new untitled track (in the London Tour update) is quite a bit faster and has a super  raw but catchy chorus. What can we expect from the new record?

That’s definitely one that’s more funky. The songs will be more melodic, the heavy bits heavier and more catchy. We got a lot of different stuff on the new album and it will be overall darker and heavier. The new track is probably the lightest song on there. We just want to show people how diverse you can be and not to just mix up the old songs a bit.

Do you see WSS as progressive?

Yeah, I mean we progress don’t we. We’re pushing ourselves constantly and music wise… well we could create our own genre called Sleeps hardcore [everyone laughs]. Nah we’re not about labeling our music or ourselves at all, but we do want to expand our current boundaries. It shouldn’t be about putting a label on a band or their music like “they’re this” or “they’re that”. If you like them, you like them. Just listen to their music and enjoy.

Are you aiming to reach a wider crowd?

We do! The new record is gonna be more diverse so it will open things up for a wider crowd. We want to play different tours to reach new people. The Silverstein last year opened the eyes of younger people and I think we have enough melody to reach a more mainstream audience with the Kerrang! tour in 2012 as we’re playing with Sum 41 and New Found Glory.

You’re playing tons of shows. Mat mentioned that the London show was probably the funnest show you’ve ever played. What’s a “good” show according to you guys?

Atmosphere. The London show was probably our biggest crowd that pretty much all knew the lyrics to the songs. That, combined with people crowd surfing and the whole room bouncing is just perfect. There were also management and industry people at the show, and it’s just nice to have everyone together to watch a good show.

Can you share some of the best experiences of the past year?

On our first tour, there was this church on a hill… and once we drove up there you could see the city through the clouds. That was really majestic man. Show wise the Bring Me The Horizon show in Sheffield was ace. There were a lot of people there. Also Sonisphere… we opened up at half 11 in the morning and we didn’t expect anyone to show up, but once the tent opened kids ran in all wearing our t-shirts. When we went on, the tent was packed. Groezrock was also insane. We weren’t even supposed to play, and just went there to hang out and drink beer. When they asked us we were just like: “sure”! So people were on the terrain with signs that said that we were playing around 3 pm, and once we hit the small McBeth stage at 7 pm a couple hundred kids were going crazy.

With what bands would you still like to tour with?

Cancer Bats, The Ghost Inside, Bring Me The Horizon, Architects, Comeback Kid. The list is endless man.

Last year you guys recommended Bury Tomorrow and Burn The Fleet. What bands would you recommend a year later?

Did we? [everyone laughs]. Feed the Rhino. They were supporting us on the UK dates and they’re really good guys.

Photos by © Tom Welsh •

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