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Name: Adam Bernard
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Echosmith's Excellent Adventure
Thursday, November 07, 2013

Los Angeles pop-rock quartet Echosmith have spent more time on the road this year than their city’s baseball teams.

Having enjoyed successful runs on the Warped Tour, and Owl City’s The Midsummer Station tour, the four siblings, none of whom are old enough to order a beer, are currently on The Other Side Tour with Tonight Alive, The Downtown Fiction, and For The Foxes.

When The Other Side Tour hit Webster Hall in NYC this past weekend, I caught up with Sydney, Jamie, Noah, and Graham Sierota to find out more about their year on the road, as well as the joys of random friendships, and how the band is attempting to be a positive force with their recently released Warner Bros. Records debut album, Talking Dreams.

Adam Bernard: You are on your third national tour of 2013.

Sydney: We’ve had a couple of different things. We toured with Owl City, (done) Warped (Tour). We’ve done shows with Twenty One Pilots, Neon Trees, and we’ve done a lot of local stuff.

Noah: It all adds up to being three national tours.

Adam Bernard: At this point would you even recognize your house if you drove by it?

Noah: I hope we would.

Jamie: I think we’ll recognize LA, and our house, the moment we get there. We’ll be like, “Oh, home.” It’ll feel a lot different.

Adam Bernard: What have you learned, both about life, and each other, from your year on the road?

Jamie: Every city in America is very different from each other, so getting to go to all these different areas, and different parts of the country, it’s interesting to see the way different people live. People live out in the middle of nowhere, then people live on the East coast. It’s been really cool to get to meet a lot of different people on this tour, and the past couple tours that we’ve been doing. It’s a lot of different lifestyles, and there’s a lot to learn about.

Sydney: Appreciating all different kinds.

Noah: And it’s all brought together by music, which is pretty cool.

Adam Bernard: I noticed from your Twitter it’s all brought together by food a lot of the time, too.

Sydney: We love food and coffee. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: Do you have a favorite place to eat in America?

Sydney: Chipotle? I’m just kidding.

Jamie: New York has a lot of really great food. It’s really eclectic.

Sydney: There was some Italian food place here in Manhattan. Basically anywhere there is pretty great.

Adam Bernard: You tour mostly with bands full of artists who are over 21. Give me a moment from this, or one of your other tours, when it has been really apparent to you that you aren’t 21.

Noah: Well, they all offer you alcohol, and you’re like, “No, I can’t drink, like legally I can’t.” Usually that’s when it’s like, yeah, we’re not the same age as all these people.

Jamie: But in general everyone we’ve toured with, whether it’s Warped Tour, or whatever it is, everyone’s really cool with it. It doesn’t feel like there’s a big age gap. In all reality they’re only a couple years older than us, most of these bands, it’s just there is that 21 bridge, or mark, that we haven’t passed.

Sydney: We’ll be there eventually.

Adam Bernard: So there are never nights when you’re just like, “I guess we’re going back to the hotel” and everyone else is going out?

Noah: Usually we like going back to the hotel because we appreciate sleep. We’d rather sleep than party all night.

Adam Bernard: You’re all family. All families have their moments where they don’t necessarily get along. What’s the dumbest argument you’ve gotten into while on the road, and what eventually squashed it?

Sydney: Who stole someone else’s snack.

Jamie: Or iPhone charger.

Noah: It’s usually super early in the morning, and everyone’s like half awake, and something’s missing, and they’re like...

Sydney: “Who stole that!” And we really just left it in our backpack, or something.

Noah: Usually it doesn’t get too heated, and it lasts for like a second.

Sydney: And a couple minutes later we’re like, “I’m so sorry!”

Adam Bernard: Having toured with so many different acts, what are some of the closest friendships that have emerged from your time on the road?

Jamie: Actually, this tour we’re on right now kind of came from us becoming good friends with Tonight Alive on Warped Tour. That was really cool, and in general, when you’re traveling with people you get to know them pretty well, especially on Warped Tour, because you’re really in it together for two whole months. You really get to know people, and it’s cool that we got asked to do this tour because we made friends with them on Warped Tour. For The Foxes, too, they were on Warped Tour also, so we got to know them all pretty well before we even started this tour.

Adam Bernard: Do you have any friendships that you think people would consider random?

Jamie: Yeah, The Chariot. They’re a great hardcore band from Atlanta. We met them on Warped Tour. That’s the only instance we’d ever meet a band like that, in that sort of way, and we became really good friends with them on the tour, and that was because we were on such an eclectic thing. David, the drummer from The Chariot, would come up and do a drum solo with us, and I went on stage at one point and played guitar with him. It was a really random match, but we like each other’s music, and we made good friends. Everyone’s really the same when it really comes down to it.

Adam Bernard: What’s been the wildest moment you’ve had on the road?

Jamie: I think weather. There’s been a lot of crazy weather changes. Warped had a lot of that. Earlier in the year, touring with Owl City, it was crazy in the Midwest how cold it was. Milwaukee, we were dying.

Sydney: Falling in the snow (when) we’re trying to load gear. (The Midwest) has some crazy weather, but some great people.

Noah: We love playing the Midwest. The weather can be brutal, but the fans are great.

Adam Bernard: What’s the best thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd while you were performing?

Sydney: Fans singing our songs is pretty crazy.

Jamie: It doesn’t get much better than that, I think. Seeing people sing, especially now that we have the whole album out, seeing people sing along to all the songs, it’s kind of mind blowing that people take the time, first they go buy it, then listen to it...

Sydney: Over and over...

Jamie: To know all the words.

Adam Bernard: Let’s talk about Talking Dreams, which was released last month. When you listen to the album, what are you most proud of?

Sydney: I think it’s really important as a band to be original and not try to be like anybody else. We make the music that we want to make, (and) I think this album kind of shows we who are, and it also gets across a couple messages that we have as people, our beliefs. We just really love to love, and hope, and I think you can hear that in our songs. I mean, we have a song called “Let’s Love.” So I’m really just proud that we were honest with our lyrics, and we didn’t really conform to anything. I know it’s hard to be honest when you’re younger, but we were like, so what?

Jamie: Yeah, we’ve always been about (how) we’re gonna do what we want, we’re not gonna let all these restrictions people have in their minds (about) what they think it needs to be (affect us), we’re gonna do what we feel like we need to do.

Adam Bernard: You mentioned that maybe it’s harder to be honest when you’re younger, but isn’t that when we’re most honest? Isn’t there a certain age when we start lying about things?

Noah: I think it’s like when you’re super young you say anything, and then you get through a phase of being scared of yourself...

Sydney: That awkward phase...

Noah: And then you get to the point when you overcome it.

Sydney: There are some people who never overcome it. It sucks. You feel like you can’t be honest with yourself.

Jamie: I think no matter what age, or where you’re at in life, there’s always gonna be the pressure to not be honest with yourself, or other people. Whatever that is, whatever the age is, wherever you live, I think there’s always the pressure to do what other people think you should do, or say what other people think you should say. We want to be ourselves, we’re gonna be ourselves, and we will say what we want to say.

Adam Bernard: Have you had a moment where your honesty came back to bite you in the butt?

Jamie: Not musically. I think in the music world there’s a respect, and a liking, to an honesty in writing what you actually feel, instead of writing just what sounds good with the music without accounting for songs that have a message.

Adam Bernard: I know you spent over two years putting Talking Dreams together. What was going on in your lives during that time that inspired the album?

Jamie: Two years, I guess in the big scheme of things, isn’t a super long time, but a lot did happen for us as a band. We had a lot of really cool, new, experiences, and I think a big message in the album is a sense of adventure, and a sense of going for new sorts of things. I think that definitely came through with the album. We lived two years of a lot of adventure and new things. It was a big inspiration for us, for sure.

Sydney: A lot of growth happened.

Adam Bernard: What do you consider one of your biggest career altering moments?

Sydney: I think as a band, and people in general, we literally were maturing over those two years and becoming who we are now, and we’re still growing, but I think when we had the name change (in 2012, from Ready Set Go!) our style kind of changed a bit, too, but it evolved really naturally to get to the point that it is now. I think that was one of the biggest times for us.

Jamie: Yeah, that was a big turning point. With changing the name it was a big, like, OK, we really have found out what exactly we want to say and what we want to do for this record. So with the name change came a lot of new changes in the way we do things.

Adam Bernard: Finally, earlier you mentioned fans singing along to your songs. Do you have an especially memorable story a fan has told you about how your music has affected them?

Sydney: I think just in general it’s really cool, I think it’s really awesome, the relationship with the band and a fan, because there’s a certain level of comfortability there that you can’t really find anywhere else, which is really interesting. I don’t really know why it works like that, but it’s really cool that it does. Even after a show we’ll get to talking about someone’s life, and what they’ve been going through, and how our music helped them, and then who knows where the conversion could go. We’ve had a couple of those where it’s getting letters from fans that are like, “Wow, this song saved my life,” or “I wouldn’t be in this place if it wasn’t for you guys.”

Jamie: It’s really powerful.

Noah: We aren’t psychiatrists, we aren’t professionals in that area, but it’s like our job is, for the songs we write, it’s our job to be kind to those kids and write things that can help them.

Jamie: Music is a really good ice breaker, and a bridge to get to more deeper conversation. It’s something that we’ve really seen since we’ve been doing it.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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