Don’t even pretend that you don’t know the words to ‘Cool Kids’, the platinum-selling track has permeated our airwaves and there’s no denying how successful these bunch of teenagers are (the oldest is only 22 years old!). One would think that Echosmith is an overnight success, but get your facts right, as the band has been playing together since they were wee kids, performing at fast food restaurants and other ‘humble’ venues no less. Evidently, they paid their dues and those years that they’ve dedicated to their career have well paid off. Ahead of their headlining show for the inaugural Good Vibes Presents show, JUICE spoke with two members of the quartet — Sydney and Noah Sierota — about connecting with their fans, the responsibility of being role models, and much more.
We read that you guys have been together as a band for seven years, why were you guys so steadfast in pursuing music as a career?
Sydney We just grew up around music and our dad is a producer and songwriter, we all picked up instruments really young and the fact that it just felt so good; playing together, especially, was really encouraging. Even for the first five years, there was nobody who really cared that much – we just loved doing music and doing it together, so that really kept us going.
Did you feel a sense of isolation from your friends and peers because you guys were working so hard with the band?
Noah We mainly find a balance because at times, we’d miss things because we’re out travelling and playing random shows around the country. But you know, we’re always at least trying to do those sort of things. But of course, you’re travelling; you’d miss out on things – it’s just gonna happen. We try to make friendships that can still work when you’re gone and those kinds of things that can still grow despite distance.
When you guys were coming up as a band, did people underestimate you all due to your age?
S Yeah, of course. We were like, “Hey, you should come to our show,” or something, and of course, they’d expect that we would sound terrible or sound a certain way or super bubble gum music. And we never had a bubble gum phase, even though we had many phases of different kinds of music because we were in a band for so long and we were so young. But, it was cool though, because when people came to our shows and saw us live, they’d be like, “Oh, oh.” You know? So we just kind of had to prove ourselves when we played live because that was what got people to appreciate us.
Even though you guys are still teenagers, do you guys get jaded by the constant touring?
S Yeah! I mean, sometimes you feel so tired – you know, you’re like, “I’ve flown 15 hours and I’ve got to play a show and do press.” You know what I mean? So, there are days when you’d feel ‘jaded’. But you know, generally, we’re not; we’re still excited with what we are doing and we’re happy with how things are going and how great things are. There are times when you — no matter what job you have — are gonna feel tired and not wanna do it one day.
How does it feel to be able to connect with your fans who are essentially your peers in a way? Most of them are the same age as you guys…
N It’s really cool to see – especially going around the world – ourselves connecting with these fans who are our age. It could be back in America with kids our age or places like Malaysia or, we’re going to Indonesia tomorrow, and it’ll be amazing to see how those kids are like. It is cool to see fans of different kind of ages, from different kinds of backgrounds. It’s cool to meet the ones that are our age and the ones who are connecting to the songs that we wrote, seeing all that and meeting all these people… Sometimes when you feel lonely and miss friends from back home, it’s nice to see people our age from other parts of the country, you know. It is kind of refreshing.
Do you feel a great sense of intimacy or pressure to somehow be a role model?
S We definitely aren’t pressured by it, just because we see the whole role model thing as something that’s super important. If you have anyone watching you, you know, whether you’re an actor, musician or I don’t know… a dad, you know what I mean? There’s always gonna be somebody that’s gonna pay attention to what you are doing. You have to keep that in mind, but live the best life for yourself, and also one that you’re okay with other people mirroring. But at the same time, we’re not gonna live for other people in a sense, but also keeping that (being a role model) in mind as we have that responsibility. I don’t think it’s too overwhelming (laughs), at least not right now. It’s just really exciting to know that we have a say in people’s lives.
Speaking of intimacy, how is it sharing the writing process with one another? Even though you guys are tight-knit, but you know, it can sometimes be awkward, especially with the love songs.
N Surprisingly not. I mean, that’s kind of like a funny thing… you know it’s a love song, or maybe we don’t think about it too much to make it awkward. I mean truthfully, we just write together… I think for us, we just like to write different kinds of stories and of course, we connect it with our personal experiences, but they’re often told in a narrative kind of sense, in a way that’s almost outside of ourselves. Some are personal, but I think we’ve just written with ourselves for so long [that] we just do it. We don’t think like, “We’re writing a love song.” I guess we don’t think too deep into that, we just create music together and see where that leads.
How was the experience working with a producer like Mike Elizondo?
N It was incredible! I mean, he has done so many different kinds of records, from Maroon 5 to Gary Clark Jr. to someone like Dr. Dre or Eminem. He’s really talented and a great musician, a great keyboard player… everything! He’s really cool to work with; he was able to capture our sound, to capture what we did. We spent a lot of time in the studio working on things, working on the keyboard parts, different tones for drums, guitars, vocals even. He was just really cool to work with. He just helped foster what we had and brought it all into the record – you know, a big record label-supported full-on album.
Having spent two years working on your debut album, Talking Dreams, where did you guys get the creative motivation to keep going?
S Yeah, it was a really interesting process because it was obviously a long time, but it wasn’t like we sat for two years saying, “We need to write an album.” It was just writing over the span of two years. I mean, of course, there were times where we had no idea what to write today, and that’s okay, then don’t write today (laughs). There’s no point in writing when you have no inspiration, but we were just trying to be inspired by life itself, just the experiences that we were having, and even dreams we wanted to happen, whether it was a dream relationship that we wanted to happen, or would like to have one day, or whatever. We just wrote all sorts of things about real life or even people we knew or whatever, we just wrote from anything we could, really.
Echosmith headlined Good Vibes Presents on Saturday 8 August ’15.