"This was a fun challenge for us to release it independently and it’s been an amazing experience..." hmv.com talks to While She Sleeps
Since the release of their sophomore album Brainwashed, Sheffield-based metalcore band While She Sleeps have taken the plunge and parted ways with their former record company to independently fund and release their third album, You Are We (you can preview and purchase the album on the right-hand side of this page).
With the album in stores this week, we caught up with guitarist Mat Walsh to talk about crowd-funding the album, why they chose the title, and rewarding their fanbase...
How did you want You Are We to move on from what you did on Brainwashed?
"We never really start with a conscious goal or direction when it comes to writing a new album. We knew our favourite parts of Brainwashed & just wanted to create something that reflects us honestly. We write what feels good and don’t think to much about whether it’s ‘right’ or ‘correct’ for our genre. "
You decided to do this album independently and without the backing of a label, why did you decide to take that approach?
"We’ve spent the last 5 years learning more about the music industry and working within it, there’s a few areas we didn’t like and we’ve learnt that it’s important to craft a system that works for you rather than just do things the conventional way. This was a fun challenge for us to release it independently and it’s been an amazing experience."
How did you find the PledgeMusic campaign? Did it take you a long time to decide what rewards you’d set up?
"The rewards were really fun to come up with. When we first started talking about doing it this way, we brainstormed for a while about how we could utilitise the supplies we need to make the music & how we could up-cycle them into cool things that our fans would want. I’ve been obsessed with bands and their equipment since I was a kid, so I just tried to imagine the items that I would have been excited by."
Which of the songs on the album took the longest to get right?
"We’re generally a pretty slow band when it comes to making music. We don’t like to rush and we want to create naturally so nothing is forced or done because we need it finished. We spent 2 years working towards this album and hopefully you can hear the time & effort we put into it."
And which came together most quickly?
"Some parts came quickly, and are exactly the same on the finished record as the second we wrote them. The last chorus to 'Silence Speaks' is pretty much exactly how we wrote it, in the back lounge of our bus in November 2015. But it still took us another year at least to get this song to a ‘full’ song structure."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a common theme?
"It covers quite a lot of different ground lyrically, we never start out and decide what we want to write about, we just speak our minds & use the lyrics as a way to express our views. We talk about our issues with the world, our opinions on how it could be changed for a more positive future. We also talk about being content with what you have right now and not always searching for the next best thing."
When did you settle on the title of You Are We?
"Sean actually said the title ‘you are we’ in a statement he had put out a few years ago. The words and sentiment behind them had connected with me and as we were searching for the title we dug back and found these words, they encompassed everything we we’re doing with the self funding and also the message behind a lot of the album that we’re in this whole thing together."
Where there any other titles in contention?
"Nothing that felt right. We had a huge bunch of ideas but nothing we felt powerful enough to use as the title. We tried to use the titles we liked but didn’t feel strong enough for album titles as song titles so some of them can be found in the tracklisting!"
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We want to take the album out to as many places and as many people as possible. Watching people connect with the songs that have been so private for us for so long is a great feeling. Finally letting something you’ve had so close out to so many people, it’s scary but super rewarding when the response is so positive."
You Are We is available in hmv stores now, you can also find it in our online store here