Sleeping With Sirens Return to Heavy Roots With New Song ‘Leave It All Behind’
They're back! Sleeping With Sirens are announcing their fifth full-length studio album, How It Feels to Be Lost, today (June 19), and they've released their first song and video from the album, the hard-hitting "Leave It All Behind." Check out the song and video along with our chat with frontman Kellin Quinn below.
When the Sleeping With Sirens song “Legends” became the official anthem for Team U.S.A. at the 2018 Olympics, it seemed as if the band couldn’t possibly rise any higher. They’d reached the unreachable for a band that came from the post-hardcore scene, and they were in the biggest spotlight of their career. Little did the world know, vocalist Kellin Quinn wasn’t feeling so victorious.
“The year or two after touring that record,” the frontman says of their 2017 release, Gossip, “I had a really hard time going onstage and believing in the things I was saying. I didn’t feel like a legend. I didn’t feel like all those positive things that I was trying to push across to people ... After Gossip, we weren’t sure what we were going to do. We were talking about maybe doing a hiatus.”
Quinn was clearly nowhere near as happy as SWS’s most recent pop-centric records led everybody to believe. But why? He and his band had been signed to Warner Records. They had sold 1.5 million albums worldwide and their music was being listened to on Spotify by 1.2 million users per month. In terms of statistics, the band was riding high. Still, Quinn was feeling like he couldn’t sink any lower.
“It kind of all came crashing down at the same time for me, around the time that we put out our last album and started touring," he reveals. "It’s not really anything that I dealt with. We were so busy as a band, touring, making records, getting signed to a major label, switching managers. I probably should have gone on a break before making that record because I mentally wasn’t prepared to the point where I gave up the wheel. It was the first time I’d ever really done any co-writes with people. I was contributing lyrics, but I didn’t really believe everything I was saying. I should’ve said something, but I just kind of rolled with it. I think that’s my biggest regret.”
"I should’ve said something, but I just kind of rolled with it. I think that’s my biggest regret."
In a terrible irony, one of the most acclaimed vocalists of contemporary rock couldn’t speak up. Despite being so talented to the point where the band name is actually a nod to his vocal abilities, Quinn admits he has always felt insecure. No matter how big SWS got, that fact never changed—even though he tried to convince himself every step of the way that it had.
“I think that a lot of artists, especially artists within our scene, have issues with [insecurity],” he posits. “A lot of us do come from a place of anxiety and depression, and we mask that with being a singer or a guitar player. For those moments, you’re exalted onstage and you have that praise. It’s almost like you’re using that to feel more confident or to not really succumb to those feelings or deal with them. You just kind of push them aside, and that can only happen for so long.”
Even when Quinn tried to bury his insecurities by turning to the bottle, he still couldn’t shake off the feeling that he couldn’t look his audience in the eye. He didn’t know what to say because he didn’t know himself. But when SWS started to record songs for the new record, Quinn thought it was about time to figure himself out.
Reflecting on this inner turmoil is what ultimately made the band return to their heavier roots with their fifth full-length, How It Feels to Be Lost. To do that, he and his bandmates—Jack Fowler (lead guitar), Nick Martin (rhythm guitar), Justin Hills (bass), and Gabe Barham (drums)—signed with Sumerian Records and employed the expertise of two different producers, one of which was Matt Good of From First to Last.
“Matt asked me when we did our first song, which was “Blood Lines,” ���What do you want?’” And I was like, ‘I want you to go back to the Heroine From First to Last days and just write something you wouldn’t expect Sleeping With Sirens to do.’”
With that goal in mind, Quinn took his unclean vocals out of the closet and put them back to good use. The result is that every song on How It Feels to Be Lost, beginning with the opening track and first single, “Leave It All Behind,” contains as much aggressiveness as it does melody and vulnerability.
“It felt really good,” Quinn says with a sense of relief. “It’s nice to be able to scream in a way that feels like it’s meant to be there. I think a lot of bands are mainly just screamers. This isn’t discrediting them because I think that’s a different thing, but when you’re a singer/screaming vocalist, there’s become this kind of routine where it’s like, ‘I’m gonna sing here I’m gonna scream here.’ It’s like a formula. What I really wanted to accomplish with this record was making the screaming moments feel like they’re supposed to be there because emotionally [they] had to be screamed across.”
This selective approach to writing heavier music is what makes the record so poignant. Every scream and every dark chord progression is placed with great intent. The pop elements that had become so prominent on Madness and Gossip were not altogether lost, either. Producer Zakk Cervini (blink-182, Good Charlotte) was able to help SWS weave the two contrasting sounds together to achieve just the right balance. And balance is what makes How It Feels to Be Lost a worthwhile listen for old fans and new fans alike.
“Our fans let us go out and try things, and I really am thankful for that,” Quinn says. “To the people that loved our old shit, they’re gonna be stoked on this new record. And the people who loved our new shit are still gonna love this record, too. The lyrics are true and honest. Anybody can listen to a song like 'Leave It All Behind' and get behind the lyrics and what I’m saying in that song because a lot of people feel the same way, they just don’t have an outlet to say it.”
Now that he’s been sober for five months, Quinn is excited to get back onstage and play the new songs. He’s excited to sing words that aren’t empty, and he finally feels ready to look his fans in the eye.
“It’s my mission to be a positive influence to not only to myself,” he says, “but to anybody else that struggles with things like that; numbing the pain inside. I feel like I have a voice to really talk about it and be sincere and not just feel like I’m feeding them shit...It’s amazing for me to see our band from where we started to where we are now, and the growth in between and the mistakes that we’ve made and what we’ve overcome.”
'How It Feels to Be Lost' will be released via Sumerian Records on Sept. 6. Pre-orders are available now and you can check out the artwork and track listing below. Look for Sleeping With Sirens on tour this summer as part of the Rockstar Disrupt Tour. Dates for the run are listed below and you can get your ticketing info here.
Sleeping With Sirens, "Leave It All Behind"
Sleeping With Sirens, How It Feels to Be Lost Artwork + Track Listing
1. Leave It All Behind
2. Never Enough
3. How It Feels to Be Lost
4. Agree to Disagree
6. Blood Lines
7. Break Me Down
8. Another Nightmare
9. PS Missing You
11. Dying to Believe
Sleeping With Sirens Disrupt Tour 2019 Dates (unless otherwise noted)
6/21 - Dallas, Texas @ Dos Equis Pavilion
6/22 - Austin, Texas @ Austin360 Amphitheater
6/23 - The Woodlands, Texas @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
6/25 - West Palm Beach, Fla. @ Coral Sky Amphitheater
6/26 - Tampa, Fla. @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater
6/28 - Atlanta, Ga. @ Cellairis Amphitheare at Lakewood
6/29 - Charlotte, N.C. @ PNC Music Pavilion
6/30 - Atlantic City, N.J. @ Atlantic City Beach (Vans Warped Tour)
7/02 - Syracuse, N.Y. @ St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
7/03 - Toronto, Ontario @ Budweiser Stage
7/05 - Mansfield, Mass. @ Xfinity Center
7/06 - Holmdel, N.J. @ PNC Bank Arts Center
7/07 - Hartford, Ct. @ XFINITY Theatre
7/09 - Bristow, Va. @ Jiffy Lube Live
7/10 - Clarkston, Mich. @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
7/12 - Tinley Park, Ill. @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
7/13 - Thornville, Ohio @ Legend Valley
7/14 - Noblesville, Ind. @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
7/15 - Maryland Heights, Mo. @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
7/17 - Denver, Colo. @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater*
7/20 - Irvine, Calif. @ Five Point Amphitheater
7/21 - Sacramento, Calif. @ Shoreline Amphitheater (Vans Warped Tour)
7/23 - Auburn, Wash. @ White River Amphitheater
7/24 - Boise, Idaho @ Idaho Center Amphitheater
7/26 - Chula Vista, Calif. @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheater
7/27 - Phoenix, Ariz. @ Ak-Chin Pavilion
7/28 - Albuquerque, N.M. @ Isleta Amphitheater
10/12 - Manchester, Tenn. @ (Exit 111 Festival)
10/18 - Las Vegas, Nev. @ Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (Las Rageous)
Best Emo Song of Every Year Since 1998