While She Sleeps: Wide Awake on Sunset

whileshesleepsunset1While She Sleeps from the UK made their way into North America for their first tour here supporting the likes of Parkway Drive and The Word Alive. Their new album This Is The Six was released Stateside through the folks at The End Records, and its destined to be your new sonic addiction. We caught up with frontman Lawrence Taylor at the very beginning of their cross country trek to find out more about their dynamic songs, life on the road, a scary happening in Prague, their upcoming Warped Tour participation, and other very metal topics. And now from the porch at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip on a sunny afternoon in Southern California, our interview commences…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in While She Sleeps, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD.
My name is Lawrence Taylor, I do lead vocals for While She Sleeps, and the most embarrassing song I have on my IPOD is probably Justin Timberlake’s new song – because my girlfriend asked me to get it for her on my phone – so I got it – and I think that’s going to be the most embarrassing one, considering I’m in a metal band and all.

You’d be surprised all of these metalheads who have Justin Timberlake on their IPODS…
It changes it up a bit.

How has this Parkway Drive tour been going and what have been some of the highlights?
We’ve done one day so far. Obviously it’s the early days, but we’re just excited to be in America for the first time and be out seeing placing we’ve never been, and playing to crowds we’ve never played to before. And that’s basically it for us – we’re just really happy to be out here and the weather is good. At home it’s disgusting weather! So yeah, it’s just really cool to be out here, and hopefully making some new fans as we go along.

What are your overall impressions of Hollywood, and was it everything that you thought it would be?
Yeah, it definitely is. I’ve seen it on television and pictures and stuff – and it’s pretty much as I expected it to be really. I’ve seen some of the stars names on the walk – I went and saw the Hollywood sign – I did all of the touristy stuff that we needed to do. But yeah, I think it’s exactly how I imagined it really. And especially today – it’s a Saturday, so it was quite busy down there. But it was awesome, all the same.

P1200640_640Select two songs you’ll be doing tonight and what inspired the lyrics.
I’ll do the first two. One we’re going to play is Dead Behind The Eyes, which is the first track off our debut album. It’s basically about the selfishness and greed the band has come across or I’ve personally seen in people. It just talks about selfishness, and how in England, a lot of people basically have children so that they can get benefits off the government. So it’s about how that all comes around in circles and about how I’ve seen selfishness in myself. The story behind it is really quite funny, because I was away on holiday – and there was this really sort of obese family. I don’t judge anyone by anything like that, but basically they were eating ridiculous burgers and stuff by the pool. So I’m trying to write some stuff, and the woman of the family actually fell through the deck chair in the middle of the complex. And it just got me thinking “Fair enough. People are different and stuff like that.” But if that’s how it’s affecting you, then obviously chill it down a bit. And that got me writing about loads of different stuff, so that’s basically what that song is about.

And Death Toll is our newest release. We released it a couple of weeks ago in the UK. And again, that’s just about life and death and how it all comes around in circles and affects the band and things like that. Just having no regrets really by the time we’re dead I suppose – which isn’t the brightest topic – but it’s a good topic for a metal band.

What was it like working with Andrew Neufeld of Comeback Kid on Dead Behind The Eyes and have you ever performed the song live with him before?
No we haven’t actually. We met him basically through people we knew at a festival and we got on really well. We were just having some drinks and having a good time. We’re all basically massive fans of Comeback Kid and Sights & Sounds and the projects that he’s done. Basically we just asked him if he would be up to doing it. We played him the song and he seemed to really like it – and then a few months down the line he was like, “Yeah, I’ll definitely get involved.” So we sent him the track and then he just put the vocals down and sent it back. Quite simple really, but awesome! Also for us at the stage to have a vocalist that we really looked up to and respected to be on the album was cool!

P1200638_375What are you looking forward to the most about playing Warped Tour this year and how surprised are you to be on Warped Tour?
Yeah, yeah definitely! I think for us, America is really a dark area. We’ve never been before. We don’t know how in the future it’s going to progress for us here. We want to build obviously a relationship with the people here and hopefully get to come back and tour. But again, we’ve never played Warped Tour – we’ve had mixed reports about it – people say you’re not a band unless you can do the whole Warped Tour and how difficult it actually is. But this is a sort of band that will take things in our stride anyways. Again, I can’t really voice an opinion because we haven’t been yet – but we’re just excited to hopefully make some new fans and just enjoy seeing some new sights.

And strange or scary happenings while out on the road?
We were in Prague in Europe and someone pulled a knife on us, which was quite crazy. But nothing sort of supernatural, if that’s what you mean. Obviously when you’re living in a van and touring new places, you don’t really know safe spots or good places or bad places, so you learn by mistakes. We had a knife pulled out on the band in Prague – nothing like that ever happens in Yorkshire – I mean it obviously does, but not to us. That was one time where I was like, “Wow, this stuff really does happen to people in life.” It makes you re-evaluate stuff as well. Your life goes in big flashes, because he could have stabbed me right there. It was just madness. But nothing really spooky in any way. There probably is, but I might not be able to remember.

Well, you have a whole American tour to go yet…
(Laughs) Well yeah. That’s funny. Maybe next time to you ask, some weird stuff will have happened.

The Queen of England invites While She Sleeps to play one song for her and guests at a Royal Command Performance. What song would you do for Her Majesty and why?
I would like to be really punk about it and say something that she’d really be quite shocked about. I kind of sit on the fence with the royal family. I don’t really look into it too much. I’d probably play Love At War, because for us, that’s a story of our forefathers that fought in the war – which is obviously going to be history for her as well. I think there is good and bad in that song. I think that would be a bit of an eye opener for people to be like, “This is a metal band that’s actually singing about something that is quite respectful and positive” – which I think the general conception is that that doesn’t happen much. But yeah, I think I would choose Love At War off of the This Is The Six album. I think it would sit well in that environment – even though it was metal as hell! There would be a lot of the lyrics that people would probably understand.

P1200645_375How close are you to writing and recording a whole new album?
We released one song which came out recently. We constantly write while we are out on the road – we’ll just practice riffs at sound checks and we’ll record stuff into the computer –any way we can really. If we’re on the move, we’ll just jam it and have it on a computer. And then we’ll all listen back until we can actually get into a studio or a practice space where we can jam it out together. But we’re constantly writing. It shouldn’t be too long before a new album comes out. It will probably be towards the end of the year or something like that. We’ve got new ideas ready to go, so it will be exciting to get a second full length out to be honest. There are still songs off This Is The Six that we don’t play, so we need to get them playing live first. But we’re definitely rolling with it.

Do you have any messages for people reading this interview who might want to check out your music now?
Just that it’s our first time over here, and we’re having a blast. It’s down to the fans mostly in the UK that are the reason we’re here. Before we came over, we missed our flights. And obviously for a band of our size, it’s not easy to just come up with the money again. We missed out flights due to the snow being so bad in England, and our driver went a really sketchy way through a place called Snake Pass – which is basically through some sort of mountains. I don’t know why he went through that, but he did. We basically brought out a limited edition screen print of our logo and we said, “Look, if you want a copy of this print, it’s going to help fund us getting to America as we just missed our flights.” So the message is, we nearly almost didn’t come – we’re here now. We’re loving it to bits – and if you get the opportunity or you’re coming out to any of the Parkway show to come on the tour – just try to get down early and check us out. Whether you enjoy it or don’t, we appreciate the fact that you were down early to give it a chance.

While She Sleeps is:
Lawrence Taylor – Vocals
Sean Long – Guitar
Mat Welsh- Guitar / Vocals
Aaran Mckenzie – Bass
Adam Savage – Drums

(Interview and Photos by Kenneth Morton)

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