[INTERVIEW] Gabe Barham of Sleeping with Sirens

Sleeping With Sirens​ are heading down under for the first time in three years. The Florida alt-rock and metalcore outfit have announced a new Australian tour for 2018 off the back of their latest album Gossip, and will be visiting fans in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane this month, beginning in Sydney. Before the tour kicks off, drummer Gabe Barham had a chat with Robbie about their latest album and their world tour.

You’ve released your album Gossip recently, how has the reaction been to that so far?
The reaction has been really good, I think that the music on this record, especially Kellin’s (Kellin Quinn, Vocals) intimacy that he put into his lyrics and his voice, wash is best to date. My favourite track is ‘One Man Army’, because Kellin’s voice is incredible and the best I think it’s ever sounded. That being said we’ve had a really good reaction, we’ve always had positive and negative views towards us and I think that kind of inspires us and fuels the fire a little bit, the haters can say what they want but that all gives us the fuel to put out the music that we want to put out. Not necessarily trying to make music to make everybody happy, but I feel that what makes an artist unique is that you make stuff that you like, rather than making it for anyone else. Overall I think it’s been good.

What were the creative and musical influences behind the recording and music in Gossip?
I think that for Gossip we were going through a bit of a hard time, people were talking bad things about the album, giving us the inspiration for the album name, because no matter what we do people are going to talk. Kellin really went through a darker phase before the writing part of Gossip, and I think that he really let that show in the album, through writing it, you can hear in the lyrics that he overcame a hard time and the record has a very positive and triumphant vibe. ‘One Man Army’ and ‘Legend’ have a very victorious type of vibe, and I think that’s what really inspired Kellin lyrically, but in terms of musical inspiration, it was a fun record because we did a lot of writing in the East Coast with our producer David. We got to do a lot of stuff on our own and wrote at a house in Nashville. We came up with a lot of cool stuff and narrowed the album down from 20 songs. As the drummer, I really enjoy hip-hop and rock and stuff like that, then you’ve got Kellin who’s really all over the place and Nick who loves classic rock and the blues, so we just sit down together and see what feels good and what comes out, comes out.

So you’ve been on the world tour for a bit now, how has the experience been playing in so many different places so far?
It’s been awesome and I’m really excited to come back to Australia. I think it’s been three or four years since we’ve been there and it feels like forever and it’s been a lot of fun. Last year we did Russia for the first time and it’s really exciting going to new places. Now with us being in the band for nearly 10 years, there isn’t many places that we haven’t been, which is really weird to say, but there’s still tonnes of places we haven’t been. It’s just like a blast and I could never ask for anything better than to be touring the world with my best friends and making a living while doing it.

You’ve been together for a long time, how has the experience of being in the band changed since the start?
I knew that we were good at the start, but there’s so many good bands out there that never get noticed. And there are so many bands out there that are so many times better than we are, but they never get a break. I guess like Periphery, they’re just amazing musicians but I feel like they’ll never get to the point where they’re ​massive but they’re respected by musicians more than the fanbase that we have, but if you told me 10 years ago that Id be touring the world and have hundreds and thousands of fans I’d tell you to get out. I feel like there’s more pressure and that we’re better than we’ve ever been. When we go back and watch our sets, I always look back and think – not to be cocky – but we sound good. It’s like a finely tuned system now that we have since we’ve been doing it for so long and have had a lot of experience. You can tell when you watch us live.

How do you go about choosing the set list every night?
Normally we pick a certain setlist and we’ll rehearse as much as possible before a tour. We’ll text each other and discuss a setlist, usually we choose a set of songs from all our albums and stuff we enjoy playing and we’ll rehearse it, then Kellin will just change it and just out of nowhere will say “we’re going to play this” and it’s made it really fun but it’s made it really scary because we might not have practiced how to play a few of the songs. *laughs&

Do you have any last words for your fans Down Under?
For our fans in Australia: we’re excited to come over there and play for you, it’s been a long time so get ready. Get ready for a cool show and don’t be afraid to ask us to have a beer with you because we’d love to!

Interview – Robbie Tannous