Sleeping With Sirens' Kellin Quinn: A lot of people don't understand me

This is Six Pack, our mini compendium of the informative or the quirkier aspects of rock music. This week: Kellin Quinn lets TeamRock take peek inside his head…

On writing lyrics

“I get some comments about that are just funny. One of them was, ‘Kellin Quinn has the vocabulary of a 12-year-old girl’. A lot of people don’t understand. But for me, it’s always been important to write straight up about what I’m feeling. You don’t have to search hard for the meaning, it’s not covered in symbolism or different words or big words. The most important thing is to put out exactly what I’m saying. The people that are into this band will always know that – and I don’t really give a fuck what the other people think. In our realm of music there are people who are uncomfortable with telling it like it is. We feel that, as artists, we should say what we want to say so we’re putting things out there. In the songs Congratulations I sing, ‘We’re sick of all this so-called shitty music that you play, could you please do us a favour and stay out of way’. That’s basically a call-out to some of the music that’s coming out – there’s so much bullshit music that’s written to make money. It’s never been about money for us, it’s about being part of the web of music and doing something different.”

On being the centre of attention

“I’m weird about people thinking I’m a star. It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m not an attention seeker. All of that it secondary. Everyone in my band knows I’m pretty quiet now. I used to be a pretty yelly, in-your-face, rambunctious kid but now I put that energy out onstage and we’re relaxed offstage. I don’t like people focussing on me more than the music. A lot of entertainers get so caught up in trying to be an icon and that’s not the point of music. I’ve never wanted it to be about me. It’s not about me – it’s about the kids buying the music, the t-shirts and the tickets. That’s the most important thing. Ultimately, if you’re famous it’s because the people that believe in you put you there. We had to work our asses off to get where we are. I mean, it happened in a short period of time but that’s because we went out there after shows and played acoustic songs and listened to our fans and tried to get into their heads.”

On growing up

“My father had full custody of me and my sister and my mom ended up moving away. We only saw her for two weeks of the year during summer vacation. But my father never really understood me and doesn’t understand the music and creative part of my life. He’s a very literal person. So I touch on the way I was raised, then how I’m raising my daughter so that I don’t follow in my father’s footsteps. Humanity starts with how we raise our children. If we keep an open mind as parents we can really change the world in how people understand respect and love.”

On being a father

“I get worried about what kind of world I’m raising my daughter and kids in. I worry about what kind of world I’m in. That keeps me up at night dude. When I was young, I used to ride my bike for two miles by myself and my parents would never worry about it. Or I’d play outside until 9pm or 10pm and I’d be ten houses down the road. My dad would just yell my name. You can’t do that with kids anymore. It’s not fair that we don’t have that freedom anymore. Everything has to be super protected. That bums me out. I don’t think having a kid changes you into a completely different person, but you definitely become more aware of what’s going on around you. You concentrate on things other than your own selfishness. I feel lucky that I’ve got to experience the world already before becoming a father. It’s OK with me that I don’t get to go out and party now because I’ve already done that. I like being a dad.”

On himself

“My mind is always going, I’m always thinking about things, then re-thinking them. I’m always going a million miles an hour. I have my music and my band, then I’m a father and I have my home life. There’s so much shit in my head all the time. When I get to go home to be a dad, I almost feel like that’s less exhausting than it is being on tour and taking care of my band. Sometimes I just need to find a way to slow down because I overthink everything. I’m always questioning what I do and trying to be the best person I can be. I’m the type of person who likes to buy lunch for people and give people gifts. As you get older and make more money, you should collect more belongings but I’m the sort of person who buys more belongings for everyone else.”

On being different

“I feel a huge connection with my fans. I may be older than some of them, but I know what it was like to grow up in high school and to feel weird about being different. People get offended and insecure about people being unique and I want to tell people it’s OK to be different. Nobody should be able to talk you out of being who you are. I think I wrote a record that everyone can relate to.”

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Tom Bryant

Tom Bryant is The Guardian's deputy digital editor. The author of The True Lives Of My Chemical Romance: The Definitive Biography, he has written for Kerrang!, Q, MOJO, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, The Mirror, the BBC, Huck magazine, the londonpaper and Debrett's - during the course of which he has been attacked by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass player and accused of starting a riot with The Prodigy. Though not when writing for Debrett's.