…And The Sirens Sang
Red and blue flashing lights often cause as stimulating an effect as the eardrum shattering screams that interrupt the regular murmur of everyday life. While the sensory alarm often drives us to quickly attempt to identify where the blitz is coming from as well as where it is going, the sight and sound of sirens clearly communicate that something is going on. Music can similarly serve as a beckoning to recognize and engage the opportunities within our lives. If we fail to participate music can become absorbed into the backdrop of life rather than ringing out as a soundtrack to accent our lives. Music is not life but it sure helps to make life more interesting and in special cases can even inspire. If you identify with pain and have a consuming drive for an expanding depth in sound then you may have no closer musical avatar than Portland, Oregon based melodic hardcore band …And The Sirens Sang. Combining screaming vocal harmonies, breakdowns from dueling guitars, layers of emotive keys and an ingenuity that filters through every aspect of their collective expression through music …And The Sirens Sang is hard at work in the studio and on a stage near you.
You mention in your bio, “We’ve gone through some member changes, genre changes, and we’ve gone through more hardships than any band should and more than most bands have.” Would you care to elaborate on what you’ve gone through as a band and where you are at now?
Will Breitner (Guitar/Vocals) Well, we’ve gone through a total of about 15 members to finally find the right lineup which we currently have. A lot of bands have the luxury of only having to change 1 or 2 members, but we have had two different full lineups so it is very difficult in that sense. Also, we went down to California to play a single show last December because we were told that a Record Label A&R was going to be there to check out our music and hopefully work with us. Unfortunately, this was a lie and he really just wanted to steal all of our equipment, clothes, laptops, etc. after our van exploded and left us stranded in Southern Oregon with no money or transportation. After that happened, we had to buy all new equipment, a new van, and a new trailer so that set us back incredibly far.
What is the significance behind the name …And The Sirens Sang?
WB I came up with the name to tie into the first full length album where a girl dies. The name refers to ambulance sirens on this first full length. Possibly after our second full length (which will be a continuation and conclusion of the concept on the first full length), we are thinking about having it refer to the ancient sirens that lure sailors with their beautiful voices and features. That way, our name will have more than just one meaning.
Is there something other than the common drive to create music that musically and lyrically wrestles beneath the surface of And The Sirens Sang?
WB Our music deals deeply with heartbreak, both lyrically and musically. Our music is very melodic and we have a lot of really big parts that are meant to be very heart-felt. We write about sorrow and the music is very emotionally driven.
We’ve seen, or more aptly, heard the use and misuse of keys within the hardcore genre where there are bands who accent their sound with synth, And The Sirens Sang has really brought out and made keys a consistent layer within your sound. Did you purposely set out to push the limits of key-core or how did your sound in that sense evolve?
WB Well when I started the project, I wanted to make it very big and dense sounding and I wanted it to be as melodic as homanly possible. I love it when bands have parts with strings and piano under the other parts in the song, those are always my favorite parts! That said, I wanted to be in a band that had that kind of sound the whole way through the album. Our keyboardist Brady is a phenominal pianist and has a great mind for writing keyboard parts into metal music, and because of that, we definitely do try to make the keys a main focus in the music.
Patrick Shannon (Vocals) I actually remember Will saying how he at one point wanted an orchestra in the band. Kind like an Apocalyptica sound.
Brady Johns (Keys) I would love to have at least a string quartet involved in our music along with my piano parts. It would be epic!
With as much work as you all do within And The Sirens Sang and your projects outside of the band (IE Siren Studios and King Arthur Booking), what seems to be the key to getting local fans engaged in the music?
WB Constant promotion and playing shows as much as humanly possible! We’re really working hard on building up a local fanbase, but honestly it’s difficult to get kids around here interested in anything that isn’t deathcore or hardcore. Kids around here just don’t show up and represent for melodic music with heart in it like they used to, so it’s really difficult right now.
Will Terada (Guitar/Vocals) Also, being in multiple bands/projects is a great way to get your other musical ventures heard. So if people go to the ATSS myspace, they will see our other projects on our top friends, and hopefully want to check those out as well.
Do you ever take it personally when a crowd is slow to interact?
WB Not at all. Like I said above, I don’t see a huge appreciation anymore around here for melodic music so when kids aren’t throwing down to us I’m not really worried about it. We just try to mix it up and throw breakdowns and two steps in here and there to get the kids pumped up.
WT I sometimes get a little bummed, but I realize that not everyone is going to like our music. We have a lot of pretty parts in our music, and not all the people in the crowd are going to want to hear it. However, I think we do have a well rounded set since we do have the pretty, melodic parts but we also incorporate breakdowns, some metalcore riffage, and even a few slight elements of thrash.
PS Not at all. As the vocalist, I try and be as active as possible to bring energy to the crowd, as does the rest of the band. I’ll tell people to move around and actually have some fun! When we do have kids moving it definitely gets us all pumped!
BJ I could really care less how the crowd reacts. I personally prefer it more if the audiance just watches, but if they throw down thats cool too.
In assessing the scene, do you think that hardcore has become too cool for its own good?
WT Yes and no. Because on one hand it is music. And while I believe that all music should be respected whether I personally like it or not, it can get overplayed to the point of it losing it’s flavor. I am a fan of the hardcore scene. I wouldn’t consider myself to be one of the “Hardcore Kids,” but I do like the music. I just think that it’s at the point where it’s cool to be in a hardcore band, and most just do the same thing over and over again.
PS Yes I believe so. The only thing that grinds my gears about this, is at Will T said, ‘It’s at the point where it’s cool to be in a hardcore band…’ therefore there are too many bands out there with the same sound! No originality or talent.
As fans of music, as people and performers, how do you combat the pressure to be a certain something for the purpose of attaining success as opposed to doing what comes naturally or creating what you truly want to express?
WT Well as fans of music, we listen to what has already been done to attain success and feed off of it, instead of just copying every other band out there. For example, some of our main influences are As I lay Dying (AILD HC:Interview), The Devil Wears Prada, and Emarosa. We try to take influence from all those bands and throw it in a blender to create our own style and sound. That way it truly does come out as how we want to express it lyrically and instrumentally.
You’ve recorded an EP and are currently working on a full length album. How soon do you expect to have this work released upon the nation?
WB Well we are working as hard as possible to get it released extremely soon! It all boils down to money really. We’re poor and we’re doing our best to get our EP printed, but I don’t think it’s going to happen until July or so. As for the full length, as soon as we get the EP in print we will be saving up to record our full length at Interlace Audio (Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance) in Portland, OR with engineer Neil Engle. It is going to cost us over $4,000 to record the album, so realistically we are aiming to do it around February of 2011. We will be setting up benefit shows after we get home from our summer tours to save up for the recording of the album and we would really appreciate it if everyone would come out and show us some support so we can get this thing out as soon as possible! We also have shirts and demos in stock at all times, so PLEASE pick one up so we can order our EPs, new merch and begin saving!
You’ve mentioned that this album is almost a split of reworking several previous songs as well as adding new ones, what are the sound dynamics and lyrical themes of this album?
WB Well it is basically the first EP and 6 new songs. We are re-working all of the songs on the EP to make them more mature sounding and the full band will be working on re-writing bass and piano parts as well as some of the lead guitar parts and vocals so it will be much more full sounding. There will also be a TON of vocal harmonies on it, which I am very excited about. As far as the new stuff goes, it is faster, more technical and the breakdowns are a lot heavier. Lyrically, it is a continuation of the “Sirens” EP and it completes the first half of the concept that we have written out. I don’t want to give away the concept, but we will be posting a full story that spans this part of the concept when the album is released!
With so many members and musical influences, what does the typical writing process for And The Sirens Sang look like?
WB Well for the whole first EP, I wrote and recorded everything (minus screams) so it was just me sitting down and writing music. It has since changed since it has turned from a solo project to a full band. Now, I will sit down and write basically a skeleton for a song and then our other guitarist Will Terada will come in and change guitar parts here and there where he has a better idea. After the guitar parts are re-worked and we are both satisfied enough to show the songs to the band, we will sit down and learn the songs with our bassist Sam Okutsu so we can all start jamming it out at practice and our drummer Joey Luna can get a feel for it. Then, me and our keyboardist Brady Johns will sit down and jam on the stuff just the two of us so he can write out keyboard parts to the songs and not have a million things going on while he’s trying different parts. That’s basically how our music is written now.
WT And while all of that is going on, our vocalist Patrick Shannon listens and gets ideas down for all of his vocal patterns and lyrics.
PS Haha yeah, I pretty much just spit out nonsense in different vocal patterns until I build a good sounding structure.
How do you work the play between the guitars and divide the vocal responsibilities?
WB Well me and Will T switch off on the leads in certain parts so that there is a pretty equal balance. I play a little bit more of the lead parts, but we like it to be balanced so at live shows it’s not just one dude in the spotlight. As far as vocals go, I do the lead singing for the most part but Will T and Sam sing backup harmonies and in certain spots the leads also.
WT It’s really easy for Will B and myself to switch off on leads and rhythms because there are parts where I want to play the leads and parts where I want to play the rhythms and it’s the same for Will B. I can remember numerous times where we’ve fought over who gets to play the rhythm parts instead of the leads. haha
You are preparing to do some touring this summer, is this your first tour of this magnitude?
WB Yeah, and we couldn’t be more excited! Well.. Unless it was longer :] haha
WT Not for me. I toured once before this last summer with my old death/thrash/black metal band Bedlam Massacre. We went out for the same period of time, and the route this time is gonna be exactly the same actually, except in reverse order.
How did you get hooked up with the bands on this tour?
WB We are really good friends with Upon Departure (UD HC:Interview) and we all love the dudes in that band so it was an obvious choice to take them out with us. Brady knew We Move Mountains (WMM HC:Interview) and we all listened to them and really dug their music so we decided to ask them to tag along too! They are both really professional bands and just fun dudes to
hang out with and we wanted to get the best lineup possible but also have a ton of fun on the road so it worked out perfectly!
Who else are you looking forward to playing with in 2010?
WB Well we just played a show with We Came As Romans, From First To Last and Asking Alexandria and I think I speak for everyone in saying that these are bands that we look up to and in the case of FFTL, have grown up with musically. It’s a great honor personally to have shared the stage with FFTL, because I remember being 16 and seeing them live and dreaming about playing on the same stage as them so I’m incredibly stoked that I was actually able to do that! I also love playing with the dudes in Upon Departure, Aleen, We Move Mountains, Mourning For Memories and other great bands from around here.
Who have been some of the biggest assistants to your development as musicians and as a band?
WB Definitely my mom. Me and Will T live with her full time and then the rest of the band ends up staying over and practicing around 5 nights per week. She lets us practice whenever we want to and she also lets me run a studio out of her house so that we can make some money to help fund the band. We definitely wouldn’t be a band without her :] Other than that, Dylan Ireland who runs our lights & merch, Greg Northcutt who comes to a bunch of shows and helps with merch and tech work, and Brittini Christian who helps with merch are all HUGE parts of the band. Kendall Johns has helped us on numerous occasions with lights and getting us on sweet shows. The guys at The Standing Ovation in Longview are AMAZING- without them we definitely wouldn’t be where we are at because they are such awesome people to work with and the Standing Ovation shows are the best!!! And just anyone who listens to our music. We love the people who come out to our shows seriously more than anything and we don’t have a huge fanbase or anything, but we are more appreciative than we can ever begin to tell you for the people who listen to our music and come to our shows.
WT Yeah, definitely Mama Breitner for constantly putting up with at least 7 guys in her house at all times, my girlfriend Brittini Christian for always being willing to take pictures, sell merch, and promote us at her school, Dylan Ireland for being a great friend and lights/merch guy, and Greg Northcutt who always is out in the crowd getting them stoked on us. And everyone at The Standing Ovation for putting us on great shows and just being great people for the scene in general.
PS: Will’s mom is one of the greatest supporters I have ever seen. She acts like a mom to everyone in the band and trys to help us as much as possible seeing that this is our job, and passion and we all really appreciate that.
…And The Sirens Sang > Hardcore/Screamo > Portland, Oregon > is Will Breitner (Guitar/Vocals); Will Terada (Guitar/Vocals); Patrick Shannon (Vocals); Brady Johns (Keyboards); Sam Okutsu (Bass) and Joey Luna (Drums). Keep an eye out for their Sirens EP and full length to be releasing SOON – catch them on the West Coast GET DOWNZ TOUR summer 2010. Updates and info at ATSS Myspace.
For more information on local music, band interviews, concert updates and promotional content. Local bands, artists, concerts, venues, tours and events from rock, hip-hop, metal, pop, punk, hardcore, acoustic, indie, organic, progressive, funk, rap and more. Stay tuned to hurdcore.com, friend us on myspace and join us facebook Hurdcore is open to partnerships to promote local arts, music and entertainment as well as advertising opportunities – firstname.lastname@example.org – be specific in “subject” line.