Editor’s Note: What a cold evening it was at The Truman in Kansas City as Madness To Creation was invited backstage to interview with the English metalcore giants While She Sleeps. I cannot begin to tell you how phenomenal they are live and their record “You Are We” is my personal pick(currently) for metalcore record of the year. While She Sleeps does an impeccable job of delivering each and every night live, but their arrangements and incorporating punk and hardcore elements into their music is what sets While She Sleeps apart from the metalcore world in my humble opinion. As brutal as they are live, they are extremely gracious as people. Special thanks to Amy, While She Sleeps’ tour manager, and Lawrence Taylor for all orchestrating this. While She Sleeps is currently providing support for Trivium and Arch Enemy in their co-headlining run and While She Sleeps will be heading out to Europe in 2018 for some shows. Without further delay, here is Madness To Creation’s conversation with Lawrence Taylor of While She Sleeps.
M.T.C.: How has the tour been going so far with Trivium, Arch Enemy, and Fit For An Autopsy?
Lawrence: It’s good, it’s been really nice. It’s nice because we don’t get to come out here as often as we’d like, it’s nice being on tour where not many people know the band, as a group of musicians, we like to have that challenge of going out and turning heads, it’s good to go out there and meet fresh people.
M.T.C.: In your performance, how does While She Sleeps turn heads?
Lawrence: Ever since we started as a band, we’ve always had raw energy, we have the passion for live music, so I personally use it as a bit of a workout, to get up there and to let go of some of the energy, try to have a good time and show people that we are up there to have some fun. We just do that by being energetic and the point of it is just being ourselves, we have that gritty punk rock edge, sometimes it’s nice to go up there and burn some negative energy, just to try to be as free as possible for a little while.
M.T.C.: You said that you had a punk rock edge. My favorite punk rock band of all time is The Clash. Who is your favorite punk rock band of all time?
Lawrence: Probably Rancid.
M.T.C.: What song would While She Sleeps cover by Rancid?
Lawrence: “Out Come The Wolves”.
M.T.C.: You said that without hesitation! Why that song?
Lawrence: We have a mutual love for Rancid, we just love them.
M.T.C.: Have you all played Kansas City before?
Lawrence: I believe so, we were out here a few years ago in 2013 with Parkway Drive and we came back with Bullet For My Valentine. This is our 3rd or 4th club show here. We’ve also played around here on Vans Warped Tour before. We’ve been back here a couple of times, but we don’t really know what to expect from tonight’s show because we’re at a different venue, but we’re always stoked to be out here in Kansas City.
M.T.C.: Favorite song or album from Trivium, Arch Enemy, and Fit For An Autopsy?
Lawrence: I don’t really know album to album for Arch Enemy. But I had a compilation CD that had some Arch Enemy songs and some Eyehategod songs on there and “We Will Rise” by Arch Enemy was on there, that thumping double-kick driving. It was one of the first songs I’ve heard that had that sound, so I’ve always been a big fan of that song. With Trivium, it was “Ascendancy” that I got into them with, I remember seeing them with Still Remains and 3 Inches Of Blood at Rockcity where we are all from, I tried to give the guys a CD of a band I was in. For me, “Ascendancy” was the album that I thought was awesome from Trivium.
M.T.C.: In terms of audiences for your performance, are there major differences between American audiences and audiences in England where While She Sleeps is from?
Lawrence: That’s always a difficult question, I feel like that there are so many similarities that it’s hard to say what is different about the crowds, I feel like here that the people are more open-minded and that they are more into finding out new bands, but it’s difficult for me to pick out straight differences between without being on the ground and getting to know everyone individually. We’re lucky in that sense because we sort of get to travel the world and we get to meet a lot of different groups of people, the nice thing about that is that you always get to meet new and friendly people and they make you feel welcome no matter where you go, the people that we have already bumped into on this tour are already open-minded people, hearing a new band and giving us the time of day and welcome us as family, it’s been a good time.
M.T.C.: If music didn’t exist, what would you be doing for a living?
Lawrence: Tough one. In the past, I’ve worked with children with autism in schools. I would do a job that is helping others with the basic knowledge that I have, whether it’s being stupidly clever or just the basics, and that’s what I have found doing those jobs in the past, that’s the kind of work that I have found most rewarding besides being in the band, is the basic knowledge and skills to help with someone else’s life on a very basic level, its rewarding in a job sense. I would also be a pro skater.
M.T.C.: Who is your favorite pro skater?
Lawrence: At the moment, it’s probably Justin Figour. He throws himself down like 20 stair rails, and he still plays in a rock band, he’s just a cool dude.
M.T.C.: I love the music video and single for “Steal The Sun”, the imagery, and the tempo changes in the song. Take us into that video and song.
Lawrence: I think when we released “You Are We” its about uniting people like we talked about earlier, that’s one of the many important things that we do when we do this for a living, it’s so nice to come together for the love of live heavy music, that sort of rock-n-roll and metal sounds, I feel like that should be how people can get on with it in life, that’s something that we sort of take day to day with our show. When we released “You Are We”, it was all about that unity amongst people and bringing people together, we have a lot of that message in our music. I think the idea behind the video for “Steal The Sun” was just that we wanted to show people back home that we really do take that with us when we travel, and we thought that it would be a great idea to sort of unite people that way and for them to be singing our lyrics, which is sort of English spoken lyric, but it shows that people across the world are united in this, and we’re just stoked that people like our band enough to be involved in that way, and we thought it would be a good idea to shoot a video in order to represent that.
“Steal The Sun” While She Sleeps
M.T.C.: How has the reception to “You Are We” been, has it been everything that you would hope it would be?
Lawrence: It’s been pretty crazy, we decided to self-release and to take ourselves away from a major label, it was a bit of a daunting prospect, but the more that it went on, the more we figured that we’re really behind it. I think people like to stick it to the man. *laughs* When we decided to release it there were some apprehensions, but we quickly realized that people were behind the band, and that it’s directly from the fans to the band and vice versa, that people still do get into our band and that we wanted to write about that in our music. It really showed in our pledge campaign, it was insane. We hit our target, then we doubled our target, it was mind blowing for us, for a heavy band in the U.K., we got mainstream radio, we went in at number five and finished at number 8, the album charted over there, and for that week, and recently, we received an award from a U.K. based magazine that was sort of recognizing our hard work and our efforts, it was sort of the spirit of independence, that was the icing on the cake. The whole process for us has been incredible from start to finish, we could’ve gone completely upside down, and we could’ve felt like that no one cared about the band and wonder where do we take it from here, the response has been incredible. We are humbled by it, we don’t take that for granted at all, it was crazy, but such a good time.
M.T.C.: What was the most daunting task in regards to making that decision not having a label backing your band?
Lawrence: The first big daunting thing was sort of building a studio and creating a new space from scratch. We got a hold of a warehouse in the center of Sheffield and together we decided to build a studio space from the ground up, it’s got a live studio, a kitchen, a bathroom, some small rooms in case we got back from London at 4 am, so we can crash there and stuff. That was a daunting process, and that’s what spurred us to release an album that way because we have done so much hard work, obviously we were feeling very DIY, and we thought we could take it to the next stage, and we thought it would be the perfect time for the band to do something like that, along with the pledge campaign. That is what spurred it into motion, it was really hard work. It was one of those situations where if you want to do something right, then do it yourself, that is what we sort of took from being with labels in the past. The idea just grew from there, it was very daunting, but we worked together and we got through it. It was fun in the learning process for us all.
M.T.C.: 2018, While She Sleeps is touring in U.K. and Europe? What’s the most rewarding or gratifying thing about getting to headline back in your home country and in other countries in Europe?
Lawrence: It kind of goes hand in hand with the pledge campaign being an incredible result for the band and that people care about the band. It’s also nice to go home to see loved ones and family and friends, but it’s nice to come to America in order to see crazy parts of the world, and it’s also cool to come home and play in your home city, to see friends and party.
M.T.C.: What’s your favorite place that you have stopped in America?
Lawrence: I like Huntington Beach in California. The weather is really nice there, you can smoke weed. One of the craziest things that I’ve seen was that there was a fight broke out when we were in a McDonald’s once. We thought guns were going to be pulled. I want to say it was in Chicago and it got heated very quickly. Burgers were being thrown around, fists were flying around punching people, hair was being pulled from the other side of the counter.
M.T.C.: It was between workers and customers?
Lawrence: Yeah, it was crazy!
M.T.C.: Fun question for you, one song that While She Sleeps wrote and you wish you could’ve done it differently?
Lawrence: That’s kind of a funny one. It was from a word that we kind of made up. It was a word that kind of slipped through when we recorded the song, we meant to say “assailants” for some reason, we sung it as “assailIants”, we put some extra phonetics in there for some extra fun. That was kind of a crazy thing, if I could go back, I would change how we said it. It’s one of those things that’s kind of in the past now.
M.T.C.: “Silence Speaks” brought over 10 million hits from YouTube for you all and you worked with Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon. What did he bring to the table in that song?
Lawrence: It was cool because we have known those guys for quite awhile on and off over the years. He invited us to come out and tour with them last year, so we went out and toured, and he sort of saw how we were releasing the new album, and he found that to be really interesting and sort of a cool concept with how we are trying to go at it alone and how we sort of built that warehouse space by ourselves, he sort of saw that as incredible in terms of what we have done as a band already. We went out and toured Europe and Australia a couple of times, we were just hanging out really, and we shared with him a couple of demos, and we mentioned to him if that there was a chance that he could guest on a track or anything like that. We went home and we didn’t really think too much of it, and when we were in the studio, and we thought that this could be a great part to have someone come in to do a guest in the breakdown section, it sort of rolled on from there, then he got involved. We went away as a band and wrote some bits, we just slammed our heads together and worked this process out.
I wouldn’t say that I learned too much from him directly in terms of anything new, but it was nice to have someone else’s head into that song, when someone makes something of something that you’ve had for awhile and sort of flip things and change it. Down the line, we didn’t think it was a song that we wanted to release, then his part got recorded. When we made the video for it, Oli is in there, so it makes sense for him to be in the video. It’s really cool to have him as part of that song, and for a lot of people who didn’t know about the band before, and for Bring Me The Horizon to bring their fans to us, that video helped us gain some new fans. That’s been a really cool thing for us, and reaching out to new people and how the band evolved.
“Silence Speaks” While She Sleeps featuring Oli Sykes
M.T.C.: Is there anything else you would like to add in regards to a message to the fans or where people can find While She Sleeps?
Lawrence: Thanks for the support and we try to get out here as often as possible. If you don’t know the band, I don’t know where you’ve been. *laughs*
ICYMI: Check out Madness To Creation’s review of “You Are We” here!
While She Sleeps is currently on tour with Trivium, Arch Enemy, and Fit For An Autopsy. Check out tour dates below!
Monday, November 20th- The Palace Theatre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Tuesday, November 21st- Union Hall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Thursday, November 23rd- Vogue Theater in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Friday, November 24th- Showbox SoDo in Seattle, Washington
Saturday, November 25th- Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon
Monday, November 27th- Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California
Tuesday, November 28th- The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California
Wednesday, November 29th- The Wiltern in Los Angeles, California
Friday, December 1st- Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona
Saturday, December 2nd- Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Monday, December 4th- Gas Monkey Live! in Dallas, Texas
Tuesday, December 5th- Alamo City Music Hall in San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, December 6th- Warehouse Live in Houston, Texas
Thursday, December 7th- Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama
For tickets and further information, click here!
On Friday, December 8th, While She Sleeps has a one-off date at the O2 Academy in Sheffield, England. Tickets and further information, click here!
Beginning January 2018, While She Sleeps will be touring Europe. Check out tour dates below!
Thursday, January 11th- La Maroquinerie in Paris, France
Friday, January 12th- Bt59 in Begles, France
Saturday, January 13th- Santana 27 in Bilbao, Spain
Sunday, January 14th- Hard Club in Porto, Portugal
Monday, January 15th- RCA Club in Lisbon, Portugal
Tuesday, January 16th- Bafo De Baco Rua Afonso de Albuquerque in Loule, Portugal
Wednesday, January 17th- Teatro Barcelo in Madrid, Spain
Thursday, January 18th- Razzmatazz 2 in Barcelona, Spain
Friday, January 19th- Le Moulin in Marseille, France
Saturday, January 20th- Traffic Live Club in Roma, Italy
Sunday, January 21st- Legend Club in Milan, Italy
Wednesday, January 24th- X-Tra in Zurich, Switzerland
Thursday, January 25th- Forum Karlin c in Prague, Czech Republic
Friday, January 26th- Columbiahalle in Berlin, Germany
Sunday, January 28th- Gasometer in Vienna, Austria
Monday, January 29th- TonHalle in Munich, Germany
Tuesday, January 30th- Palladium in Cologne, Germany
Wednesday, January 31st- Poppodium in Tilberg, Netherlands
Thursday, February 1st- Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, Belgium
Saturday, February 3rd- Alexandra Palace in London, England
Monday, February 5th- O2 Academy in Bristol, England
Tuesday, February 6th- O2 Institute in Birmingham, England
Thursday, February 8th- O2 ABC in Glasgow, Scotland
Saturday, February 10th- O2 Ritz in Manchester, England
Thursday, March 15th- Glavclub in Moscow, Russia
Friday, March 16th- Clubzal in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Saturday, March 17th- Sentrum Shota Rustaveli in Kyiv, Ukraine
Friday, March 23rd- Principal Club Theater in Thessaloniki, Greece
Saturday, March 24th- Gagarin 205 in Athens, Greece
Wednesday, June 20th- Tons of Rock in Halden, Norway
For tickets and further information in regards to any of the European dates, click here!