Sleeping with Sirens is an American post-hardcore band from Orlando, Florida currently residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The band was formed in 2009 by members of For All We Know, Broadway, and Paddock Park. They are currently signed to Rise Records and have released three full-length albums and an acoustic EP. The group is known primarily for the versatility of vocalist Kellin Quinn's tenor leggiero vocal range.
Now three years into their existence, the post-hardcore quintet Sleeping With Sirens continue to evolve and mature as artists, gradually shaping their unmistakable blend of fury and melody into a sound that’s wholly their own. The band’s new five-song acoustic EP, If You Were a Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack, presents another crucial step on the band’s ongoing journey toward their sonic destiny.
Featuring three new cuts as well as two previously recorded songs radically re-arranged for the acoustic setting, the EP showcases the group in a different venue than their usual, high-volume environment, while also giving new subtlety to the re-recorded tracks. Sleeping With Sirens are famous for their informal acoustic shows—usually performed outside venues for fans after gigs—and now that magic has been captured for listeners everywhere to enjoy.
“We wanted to put out a record you can listen to while chilling at night and kind of winding down, or while doing your homework, or of you want to have some quality time with your girl or your guy. We wanted to give fans an album to listen to then, instead of just something that’s always in your face and heavy,” explains vocalist Kellin Quinn. “We don’t want our band to be defined to a certain sound or theme; we want to be able to dabble in everything and accomplish different styles of music. This acoustic album was a way for us to grow up and show people that.”
Sleeping With Sirens—which also includes guitarists Jesse Lawson and Jack Fowler, bassist Justin Hills and drummer Gabe Barham—was formed in 2009. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based group’s first album for Rise Records, With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear, debuted in March 2010 at #7 on Billboard's “Top Heatseekers” chart, and at #36 on “Top Independent Albums.” Guitarists Nick Trombino and Brandon McMaster departed after the album, and were later replaced by Lawson and Fowler, who first appeared on the retooled band’s second album, Let's Cheers To This. Released in May 2011, the record peaked at #78 on Billboard’s “Top 200” chart, as well as #13 on “Top Independent Albums” and #5 in “Hard Rock.” The band has toured extensively, sharing stages with fellow scene stalwarts like We Came As Romans, Falling In Reverse, Alesana, A Skylit Drive, Blessthefall, Emmure, For All Those Sleeping and Motionless In White.
To record If You Were a Movie, the band traveled to Los Angeles for sessions with veteran producer Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World, Finch, Blink-182). The result was five rich, stripped-down cuts loosely presented in the structure of a film, with each song title starting with a scene number. Even the album cover illustration, which pictures a couple seated in a car overlooking a sweeping skyline, reinforces the EP’s cinematic theme.
“When I started dating my fiancée, we spent all our time watching movies at home, hanging out at the house. We’re both fans of movies and the cinematic portion of life,” remembers Quinn. “I made her a mixed CD a long time ago called If You Were a Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack. I just thought it would be a cool name for an actual album. It’s got a little history.”
Quinn utilizes the moody, dynamic textures of If You Were A Movie to reach new heights of lyrical depth and intimacy, tackling topics like love and relationships with a more nuanced approach than past recordings. The constant amorous tug-of-war that most couples inevitably face is given particular emphasis in the previously unreleased “Scene Four: Don’t You Ever Forget About Me.”
“I was thinking about a fight I was in and decided to write a song about it,” says Quinn. “I had the idea that ‘no matter how hard we fight or how tough things get, just don’t forget about me. Don’t go to sleep without thinking about me,’ just clinging onto that idea that anything can work as long as you put forth the effort.”
On a different note, Quinn and company take a moment to acknowledge their good fortune as artists, and blast other bands who aren’t as humble, in the new track “Scene Two: Roger Rabbit.” “’Roger Rabbit’ was written about just feeling really uninspired with everything that was going on with music. Everybody wants a hand-out; they want everything to come easily,” says Quinn. “I think that’s the wrong vision and the wrong understanding of what it is to live. Sometimes things take time, they’re not easy, and that’s ok. That’s part of the adventure of everything.
“It’s important to use the time you have and take advantage of it, because you never know when it’s all going to go away,” continues Quinn. “You never know when you’re going to take your last breath, and all your fame and everything you’ve worked for will disappear. When you have the day, you should say all you have to say.”
Fans will also be pleasantly surprised by the two stripped-down rearrangements of prior recordings that appear on If This Were A Movie. Both “With Ears To See And Eyes T]]o Hear” and “James Dean & Audrey Hepburn” take on a new life on the EP, and in the process, convey entirely different emotions as acoustic recordings. Quinn says the new version of “James Dean,” which was written in a moment of homesickness, is even more powerful than the original.
“It was the first time I’d been away from home for a while, the first experience of the band, I was just missing home, missing my fiancée and our life together, because you have to sacrifice a lot of time apart to be in a band and be a musician and be on the road,” Quinn reflects. “It’s a sacrifice because you’re doing good things for the people that want to come out and see you and love you, but you’re sacrificing the person you want to be with all the time. It was cool to rewrite that song acoustically, because I feel like it really shows the emotion that you can’t really capture with screaming. The real passion and longing comes through in the acoustic track.”
The remainder of 2012 and all of 2013 promise to hold even more exciting new developments for Sleeping With Sirens, starting with the band’s first-ever run on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. After more touring in the fall, the group also plans to head into the studio in winter 2013 to begin work on their forthcoming third full-length. Until then, If You Were A Movie will serve as the latest reminder of the dazzling directions in which Sleeping With Sirens are headed.
“Get excited for 2013: There are a lot of big things coming, and this acoustic album’s something to tide you over. Listen to it and enjoy,” says Quinn. “Get ready for the new [full-length] record, because it’s going to be insane. It’s going to be the best thing we’ve ever done. We’re going to go 100% into next year. We’re excited for our band, and our fans, to be part of it. We’re making music that is still going to be the Sleeping with Sirens that everyone loves, but we’re definitely also growing and maturing. We’re always moving toward bigger and better.”