Echosmith: ‘There Is No Better Way to Know What the World Is Going to Like Than by Asking’
California indie-pop rockers Echosmith keep things a family affair. Siblings Sydney, Jamie, Noah and Graham Sierota reached mainstream success with their hit "Cool Kids" and don't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
After developing a dedicated following a few years ago thanks to covers of Mumford and Sons, Adele, Ellie Goulding and Coldplay -- as well as their own catchy tunes -- Echosmith signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2012. The group released their debut album, Talking Dreams, in October of 2013 and are currently on the road for their first headlining tour.
We caught up with Echosmith before their recent show at the Shelter in Detroit for an exclusive conversation:
"Cool Kids" was released in the spring of 2013, but it really didn't blow up until last year. Why do you think it took that long for the song to catch on?
Sydney: It's really interesting to see how long it really took in the scheme of things. We really took the route of taking our time and the label was cool with that. They wanted us to put out the album and tour off of that, instead of touring forever and then putting an album and hoping for this many sales in the first week.
Honestly, "Cool Kids" wasn't even a single at the time. It was really just one song that we put out along with two others. The first year of Warped Tour 2013 people started to sing that song for some reason. We're like, "Oh, that's interesting." So I have videos of two people singing it, I have videos of 15. And then most of the crowd. Now we play these radio shows and a stadium of people are singing it.
And now we hear you in Kohl's.
Noah: You know you made it. [Laughs]
Sydney: The fact that we didn't even go for radio until June of 2014 definitely has something to do with it. We let it take its time and we're happy it lasted so long and nobody was really sick of it yet. [Laughs]
You're all incredibly young to be in a successful band like Echosmith. How has the success affected you and how are you able to manage it?
Sydney: Yeah, it's an interesting dynamic especially being this age. Anyone at any age is going to handle it different and kind of weird at first. Luckily we're family so nothing can get to our heads because we'll make fun of each other to make sure that goes away. It's something fun for us and exciting. We see it as an opportunity to share who we are with other people. Instead of, "I can get 20,000 likes on this photo," we see it more as we can reach 20,000 people with a picture.
There's days where we're super stoked and days where I'm really tired and might not want to take a selfie every second. There's different dynamics to all of it but overall we're really thankful and happy with it.
You are literally family and have to go back to the same house when you're not on tour, unlike groups who aren't related. How are you able to have time for yourselves so that things don't become too stressful?
Noah: We do a lot of different things. Jamie lives outside the house so that helps for him. If you're with a certain amount of people, no matter who it is, for as much as you are when you're touring in a band, it's a lot. We've been doing it for two and a half years already. So there's things like bunk time where we all go to our own bunks and relax. Sometimes I need a break from human beings and not interact with anyone but myself.
We do other things we're passionate about, because we're not only passionate about music even though it's a big part of our lives. I think something that helps us going home is that Jamie likes to hike and camp, I like to cook and Graham likes to hang out and get food with people. So we all have different things that we love to do. I think when we get home we all kind of disperse and do other things to kind of keep us alive. There's more than just music and that helps us get back into touring and the whole music world.
"Bright" is the second single and sounds like it belongs in a CW drama. Did it take time to decide what the follow-up to "Cool Kids" was going to be?
Noah: The way we did it was kind of just see what the fans like. "Cool Kids" wasn't chosen by suits, wasn't chosen by radio people, or numbers and statistics. It was the fans buying the song themselves and finding and spreading it. The label saw what was going on and they helped push it which was great.
So this next single we were like, "Let's think of songs that the fans really like to sing live," or tweet a lot about or ask if we're going to do a music video. We have to factor all those things in. Of course there are technical things that go into it, like maybe certain groups of fans from certain areas will love this song but the overall country or world won't like it as much. There's no better way to know what the world is going to like than by asking.
Echosmith is a brand that you're marketing and promoting. You're all CEOs of the brand. Is that a hard transition since most bands just want to be rock stars.
Sydney: It's definitely an interesting transition because most 16 year olds don't have to worry about money. A lot of people don't have responsibilities like that or things to even be aware of like thousands of people are watching you. There's definitely things to get used to that we're pretty adjusted to now. We kind of just try to forget about it half the time. Obviously use it wisely but at the same time act like we don't have all that and live like a normal person. That goes for popularity and for, I don't know, interactions with people when they know who you are. [Laughs]
It's important to forget about that for a second and to just act normal.
You said in a past interview that radio probably made the biggest impact on taking your career to the next level. There are those who say radio is an antiquated system since we live in such a digital age. How important is radio when you're planning Echosmith's next move?
Sydney: It's huge and we definitely see it as one of the biggest forces out there, if not the biggest aside from the internet. But there's internet radio and all the radio stations basically stream online. They're definitely taking advantage of every platform which is awesome. That just proves even more that radio has such an influence. I know when I'm home I'm driving my car and listening to the radio.
We see it as something that's really a big part of how this is working and why it worked so well in the grand scheme of things. We're so thankful for it and had a lot of support from radio. We love radio a lot and we're not the band who's like, "Ugh, I don't want to be on the radio," or "I hate the radio." I love hearing myself on the radio. I turn it up extra every time. I'll take a video every time. I'll be honest, I think it's so cool. [Laughs]
It's very Vine worthy.
Sydney: It is! I should post these on Vine. That's a good idea!