Yorkshire favourites While She Sleeps are unleashing their third album You Are We on April 21, and have just given us another taster of what to expect. Following on from Civil Isolation, Hurricane and the title track, WSS have teamed up with another Steel City boy for their boisterously anthemic track Silence Speaks. Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes joins While She Sleeps frontman Loz Taylor on vocals, uniting two of the most powerful voices in Sheffield. And it slams.
But how did this meeting of the mouths come together? And what does the song actually mean? To find out, we chatted to the two singers for an exclusive look into a song you’re not going to escape this year.
What is the meaning behind Silence Speaks?
Loz: “I think a lot of the running themes that we have in While She Sleeps come across as slightly political. With the new album there’s a lot of personal feelings in the songs that in a strange way balance out a lot of the political vibes. We started writing stuff about the personal feelings that we’ve had, the past few years have been quite difficult for a few band members.”
Oli, how did you end up recording with While She Sleeps?
Oli: “There has been some tension between our two bands for a while due to some personal stuff, and it just built up a bit to the point where neither band really knew why we were still being so hostile to one another, so we put it all to bed, and that was around the time they were working on the crowdfund campaign for their album. Hurricane was the first thing I’d heard from them since the first album, and it honestly blew me away how much they had progressed as a band. It got me really excited and I just wanted to help out in any way that I could. I offered them my home studio for some vocals as I knew they were doing it all themselves, and were up against it time-wise, and Mat [Welsh, guitar] asked me if I’d be interested in doing a guest on the album.”
How much input did you have on writing Silence Speaks?
Oli: “For the part I sing on, I suggested a change in the structure. I made a quick sloppy edit on Logic as Loz’s lyric ‘Where is your heart’ gave me the inspiration for the lyric ‘I think the silence speaks volumes’, and I thought it would be cool to illustrate the line with an actual dead stop in the song. It felt a bit cheeky fucking with someone else’s song, but luckily the guys loved it so I cracked on with the rest of the lyrics for my part and Bob’s your uncle!”
The new album You Are We is very defiant and rebellious. Where does this song fit in?
Loz: “With things like Brexit being fresh in everyone’s mind and still being up in the air, people have a lot of different views on different topics. Like when we say ‘Your silence speaks volumes’ people can’t expect anything to be changed if nobody’s going to make any effort to change it, or work toward that change. I think people like to whinge about the way things are done but aren’t willing to reach out and change anything.
“Another thing that comes into it is a real Earthly feeling. When you’re walking round trying to take things in, you realise that everything feels like it’s on the edge of something weird. I don’t know if that’s always been the case, but when you’re watching the news it’s always pushing doom and gloom like you’re on the edge of existence in a hopeless kind of way. The song itself reflects that whole feeling with some personal emotion and trying to bring back a sense of unity to everyone. Our live shows try to encompass unity with everyone, we want everyone to have a great time and be a part of something cool. The unity vibe is something While She Sleeps has always had, it came out in Brainwashed and poured onto this album a little bit.”
Do you get involved in any kind of protests or community activity?
Loz: “I don’t get too involved in protests as such, I tend to hold back and keep it for a musical thing. In a community sense, when I’ve got some spare time I focus on the community I grew up in that shaped my musical interests. I put shows on for bands that can come in and influence people, like I was when I saw Kasabian play our local bar in front of 80 people. I try to inject that into my local area to feel a part of something and make a difference to people’s lives who want to get involved in music.”
What was your reaction when you heard the new While She Sleeps record?
Oli: “It really did blow me away, and I find it incredibly difficult to find anything in the heavy rock scene that excites me any more. I loved how they managed to balance the old school influences that made the metalcore/hardcore – whatever you wanna call it – so good in the first place, with something new and fresh, and accessible.”
From the outside, it felt like there was always some animosity between While She Sleeps and Bring Me The Horizon?
Loz: “Not originally. There’s been a few ups and over the past years, but nothing crazy, and I think that we can sweep it under the rug a little bit, turn away from things that have happened in the past, build relationships and tour with the band. That’s a really special thing. It was nothing mental, just every now and again things got a bit weird and it’s nice to be able to turn it around. It’s not always been plain sailing between the two groups of people, but you get over that stuff. It’s nice that we can all get on with it now and get on with being mates and having a good time. It’s nice to have that friendship group again.”
You Are We isn’t as heavy as previous While She Sleeps albums. Why?
Loz: “Each album that While She Sleeps have done has been different. This Is The Six was the more metal record, Brainwashed was a bit more punk rock record, and this one we wanted to bring in other band members singing. Sean (Long, guitar) started doing vocals and got really into writing hook lines. In a similar way to how Alexisonfire throw vocals around, we wanted it to be more like that live. Stepping off the gas a little bit more, it makes the heavy bits feel really heavy. That was the aim, to hold off on it being constantly screaming on one track, we wanted to experiment vocally and craft something different to our other albums. We never want to be a band that sits in one box, we want to push ourselves, and this is a natural progression. We want to keep it fresh for ourselves and keep our fans guessing. There wasn’t too much much thought into purposefully making it light, there are just different shades in there now that really build the songs. We utilise what we have in the group.”
While She Sleeps UK and Ireland tour dates
Apr 14: London Old Blue Last, UK
Apr 15: Kingston Hippodrome, UK
Apr 20: York Fibbers, UK
Apr 21: Sheffield Plug, UK
Apr 22: London The Dome, UK
Apr 23: London The Dome, UK
Apr 25: Brighton Concord 2, UK
Apr 26: Southampton Talking Heads, UK
Apr 27: Oxford O2 Academy 2, UK
Apr 28: Bristol The Fleece, UK
Apr 29: Manchester Academy 2, UK
May 01: Dublin Academy, Ireland
May 02: Belfast Oh Yeah Centre, UK
May 03: Liverpool Arts Club, UK
May 05: Stoke Sugarmill, UK
May 06: Norwich Waterfront, UK
May 08: Newcastle Riverside, UK
May 09: Glasgow Garage, UK
May 10: Nottingham Rescue Rooms, UK
May 12: Birmingham Asylum, UK
May 13: Leeds Stylus, UK