It’s been a few weeks since the release of SLEEPS SOCIETY, and it’s fair to say that While She Sleeps have nailed it yet again. With a single in the BBC Radio 1 Official Playlist, and their ‘unofficial’ charting at number 4, the weight of this record is still causing waves. We had a chat with Loz Taylor about the new album, the metalcore landscape and his and Christian Carlisle’s fresh new podcast, Throat.
Of course, we quickly acknowledge the elephant in the room (no pun intended) — Covid. Fortunately, it seems like While She Sleeps got dealt a lucky hand this time round. “We’ve been insanely lucky with how everything’s fallen into place for us,” Loz admits, “we were scheduled to be writing and recording anyway.” The only downside was having to cancel a busy festival season, a detail that Loz takes a moment to mourn “so… we missed out on California and Vegas…. and like, we know it’s a pandemic but fuckin’ hell…”
Bar the sour sting of missing out on Vegas, the guys are aware of just how lucky they’ve been. “We know a lot of bands have had it so tough — struggling so much being isolated more than ever before… so we really can’t grumble. It’s been great to have the album to put our minds into, but also really great that things kind of accidentally fell in place for us.”
But, let’s get down to business — SLEEPS SOCIETY. This album is cold, hard proof of just how diverse metalcore can sound. The heavy landscape is ever-shifting, and this is something Loz loves about the genre right now. “For a little while I wasn’t really a fan of metalcore,” Loz admits,” But I think, like, in the early 2000s… when bands like As I Lay Dying, Darkest Hour, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains… when they all came on the scene, it blew me away! For a long time, I was kind of sick of hearing bands put their sound through the ‘metalcore machine’… But now it’s changing into bands being experimental within metalcore.”
Loathe in particular get a shining star of approval from Loz for how they’re defying expectations — “they’re almost death metal heavy at times, and then they move to, like, a bit of a Deftones vibe. They’re really using it to chop up their sound and make it all really interesting and almost industrial!”
It must be said that While She Sleeps have always defied expectations themselves, pushing the boundaries of metalcore. “There’s one thing that we always really wanted from our band and that was to sound like no-one else.” When Loz joined the band in 2009, the scene was very much a death meal paradise, and While She Sleeps refused to be background noise. “We didn’t wanna, like, SCREECH – we didn’t wanna do pig squeals about severing heads and shit. We wanted to really talk about stuff that we’d experienced. It was always about kind of speaking from the heart…. “
This emphasis on an important message continues to be the backbone of While She Sleeps’ impact. “We speak a lot in our songs about unity and having a positive mental attitude,” Loz tells us. “We are a heavy band, but also there’s this complete other side to us… we don’t just wanna be heavy for the sake of being heavy. We want it to feel like it makes sense!”
SLEEPS SOCIETY is definitely a genre-bender, with some magnificent features from unexpected corners. “I think that the main thing for us with this record – we’ve always wanted to collab with people.” The obvious answer may have been to take on another metalcore vocalist… but where’s the fun in that? “it’d be really easy for us to get a metalcore singer involved, like Sam Carter… but we wanted to do something that people would go ‘oh, that’s interesting!’”
And we can’t help but take a moment to reflect on just how exciting Deryck Whibley’s feature was — wow! “At some stage in our lives everyone in While She Sleeps has, like, LOVED Sum 41. And, I remember skateboarding down to my, like, local record store when All Killer No Filler came out! Like, you can’t make it up can you! It was a bit of a tick box moment for us! Like, if you’d have told me when I was, like, 15 that Deryck would be guest on our record it would be crazy, like, I’d probably have a nose-bleed and fall over or something.”
Simon Neil was equally as brilliant a feature; “his whole attitude towards the song, standing by the message… It was so amazing to be a part of. And these guys who have done so well in their careers — they are so down to Earth. It really stands with the ethos that we kind of want from ourselves, y’know… we kind of feel like the guys from the end of the street that just started a garage band and are still doing it now.”
We can’t help but note the mention of Sam Carter in the same context as Simon Neil — the Biffy Clyro singer has definitely put his stamp on two of the strongest metalcore albums of this year! But, apparently, neither band knew about this; “he was like cheatin on both of us… hahaha, no… Simon Neil didn’t say anything to us about being on a Architects track so that was very naughty of Simon,” Loz laughs, “when the tracklisting came out for the Architects album… I was kinda like — what the..? But it’s all good!! And both songs are pretty different.”
With the return of live shows looming on the horizon, we can’t help but check in on Loz’ vocals. Has it been a tough transition, going back into practising? “I feel like when I do have time to be quiet and not screaming I do probably rest a bit TOO much? So I think that’s why, when I go back into it, it’s always a bit of a shock for my body… it’s like ‘OH.. we’re doing this again!’”
And what about that new podcast? Fittingly titled Throat, Loz and Christian Carlisle’s fresh venture aims to explore vocalists’s experience with their vocals. “For me it’s just really interesting to hear stories from other vocalists about their experience. I’ve had so much shit with my voice over the years — still am!” Loz admits. “I’ve got new techniques down. I’m working on that really hard – and I’m still coming away and bein like —” Loz takes a moment to cough violently “— but I think it’s just regaining a bit of strength since we recorded the record so…! But it’s just interesting for me to hear other people’s technique on vocals! Like, hearing people warming up. The first few people we’ve had on that they’ve not even warmed up… and I’m like,” Loz sighs, “fuckin sucks to be me. “
We end on a positive note, though — big plans for the future! If Slam Dunk goes ahead, we may be treated to Sum 41 crashing the WSS set (if their sets don’t clash…). AND a mighty tour in September! So, if you’ve not had the chance yet: “listen to the new record!” Loz proclaims. “If you’re enjoying it — whether you’re a Sleeps Society member or you’ve just picked up the record, or even just listened to it or streamed it or whatever — just thank you for having ears on the band!”
SLEEPS SOCIETY is out now, and you can also support the band by joining the Sleeps Society here.