2017 has been a landmark year for While She Sleeps. Not only have they gone out on their own, reverting back to the DIY ethos, crowdfunding their new album in their own purpose-built studio, but the resulting record You Are We absolutely slams. In fact, it made the top ten of Metal Hammer’s Top 100 Albums Of 2017.
We sat down with While She Sleeps’ frontman Loz Taylor to talk about the album, the risks involved, and patching things up with Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes.
What’s been your high point of 2017?
“It’s been a good year, but for me personally, it was managing to get two albums out back to back. I think people are aware of the problems I’ve had with my voice, and after having surgery on it in between This Is The Six  and Brainwashed , I don’t feel like maybe we’ve been given quite the crack of the whip that we should have done, so to have been able to just carry on like a proper band has been a huge relief to me.”
How risky was it for you to crowdfund You Are We?
“Well, there’s always a risk with things like that, isn’t there – you might end up with no one buying your product and then you feel a bit stupid. But, for us, it was just something that made sense. We’re not these really militant punks, but there has always been a very strong DIY ethic to our band, and it felt like the right thing for us to do at that point in our career. So, you can see it as a risk, but we were confident that our fans would buy into what we were doing, and they did.”
What was the most surprising reaction you had during the crowdfunding campaign?
“Our fans have been amazing. I can’t, and wouldn’t really want to, single any one person out. It was just, as I said before, the way they just bought into it and really understood why we made that decision. I mean, we’ve been really lucky that the sort of people that do like our band are very loyal and willing to trust us.”
Was that true of the people within the industry too?
“Yeah, I think so. I saw a lot of people within the business and other bands retweeting it and talking about it in a very positive way. It’s cool, you know, I think there was a little element of ‘sticking it to the man’ with attempting something like this, so that’s always going appeal to people isn’t it!”
What have you been doing with the studio you’ve built during the album’s making?
“Haha! Well… we have this thing in our band where whenever we create something cool, we fill it full of stuff! We’re hoarders! So, at the moment it’s full of stuff… really cool stuff, don’t get me wrong, but we need to give it a right sort out!”
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So what are the plans with it for the future, once you’ve cleaned it up?
“Well it’s there now, and it’s a really cool thing for us as a band to have, we’ve had a few mates in bands that have been by and they’ve needed somewhere to stay, so they stay there. And it’s a place where they can rehearse and write, so it’s actually a really cool thing for the scene in Britain as well. We hope that it can be a great resource for bands in the future. It feels like a good investment.”
Were you surprised at the success of the video for Silence Speaks?
“I don’t want to sound arrogant or anything, but no, not really, because we really believed in the song, and we had Mat’s [Welsh, guitar] brother working on it, and he’s an absolute genius when it comes to making videos. He’s got an unbelievable eye and is great at creating these concepts. And we had Oli [Sykes] in there as well. It just felt like everyone was really working together at a really high level, you know – a bunch of people all united in that goal. So, it was nice, but we really believed it would connect with people.”
How important was Oli’s involvement on the song?
“Yeah, massive. I think it worked out really well, because you had our band doing something that we’ve never really done before, you know, that falsetto vocal part was very new for us, and then you’ve got Oli sort of going back to a style that he hasn’t really done for a while. So, it was something a bit different for both of us, and it was two bands who came through the same scene that had come good as well, and I think that was a factor for people, too.”
Presumably you guys are back on good terms now?
“Yeah, it’s been no secret that there was some pretty bad blood between us before, but it was at Tom Searle’s wake that we saw all of these people from down the years that you have so much in common with, and you start to think, you know, it’s a cliché, but life’s too short. You look around and you realise how far our scene has come and how connected you are to these people, so we decided to make peace with it and having Oli on the record just made sense to show that.”
How do you feel about the state of the world in 2017?
“The short answer? We’re all fucked, mate! No listen, I’m not the sort of person that can speak about politics really eloquently, but I think it’s very important for bands like us, Enter Shikari and Architects to be able to give a voice to people who are disenfranchised, to talk about how we feel and what we believe, and hopefully let people know that there is a place and scene where your opinion and beliefs are respected. It’s a mess, and I know just writing a song isn’t going to change the world, but we have to express what we feel, and I feel like we’re speaking for quite a lot of people at the moment.”
You can read exclusive interviews with all the bands that made 2017 – from Myrkur to Satyricon to Avenged Sevenfold – in the latest issue of Metal Hammer. Buy it directly here (opens in new tab) or become a TeamRock+ member to read it right now.