While She Sleeps have chosen a fitting way to celebrate their tenth anniversary as a band – by becoming totally independent. It’s a bold, impressive and powerful move that both reflects the decade gone by and hints at what the future has to offer. More than that, it demonstrates that age-old cliché is still true today – if you want something done right, do it yourself. Not only did they self fund their new album ‘You Are We’ with the help of their fans through a PledgeMusic campaign, but the band converted an empty warehouse in the heart of their native Sheffield into their own multi-purpose studio. “There’s always been a very DIY aspect to this band,” explains vocalist Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor, “so going it alone a bit more now just reiterates that to everyone.”
It’s also a place where the band – completed by guitarist/vocalist Mat Welsh, bassist Aaran McKenzie and drummer Adam Savage – aim to break down the barrier even more between themselves and their fan base. As part of the new record’s PledgeMusic campaign, fans were able to head to the studio and take part in the music video for ‘Hurricane’. “That was absolutely crazy,” beams Taylor. “I’m still aching from that! But the special thing is that every kid who came down for the video shoot actually helped make the album happen. And to that extent they made this warehouse capable of living.” “Now more than ever,” adds Long, “our fans know that it’s them making all of this possible for us. The divide between artist and fan is ridiculous, because there are no fans without the artist and there’s no artist without the fans. They go hand in hand together as one absolute thing, and I really like that we can see that in play with what we’ve been doing. It’s very reassuring to see that support right in front of us.”
As much as that’s been made visible thanks to the new warehouse space, it’s also audible on the band’s new record.
The songs are full of as much force, focus and determination as ever. The likes of the new single, ”Hurricane”, and the album’s first single ”Silence Speaks”, which featured Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes on guest vocals, continue the band’s trajectory as one of the most inspiring, riotous and important voices in British music today, demonstrating both their continued musical evolution and their incisive social conscience. Yet while these are brutal anthems that paint a vivid picture of a post-Brexit Britain, they stand as both the most universal and most personal songs of the band’s career.
“I feel like these are some of the most powerful and relatable songs that we’ve ever written,” says Taylor. “These songs look at the world as a whole, but it’s also very much about us. We’ve all been through a few ups and downs over the past few years, and I think it’s important for us to express that, because our music is our healing and our therapy. There’s a lot of heartfelt stuff in there from our own personal experiences, but there’s also much more of a global view, too.”
“We’re never not going to be singing about worldly issues and politics,” says Long, “because that’s what we do without even trying. But, as Loz says, on this album it’s all housed within very personal ways of dealing with those things. We’re not just screaming about all the problems in the world, we’re screaming about how we feel about those things. I’ve never been more connected to moments in the studio when I’m writing music than I have with this record.”
“The main thing with While She Sleeps,” says Taylor, “is that we’re digging our own path and the longer we keep working at it, the more people will realise we’re not going anywhere. We’re just going to keep on doing our own thing. And if we can explore new sounds and styles and still sound like us; if we can progress but still hold onto the While She Sleeps sound, then that’s great.” “My mum even likes it,” says Long, laughing, “so I’m very happy.”