It’s not often that an indie pop band scores a hit as big as Echosmith
’s “Cool Kids.” If you listen to commercial radio, you’ll hear the catchy single with soulful vocals from the band’s 2013 debut Talking Dreams
in constant rotation. It gets played alongside songs from the likes of Taylor Swift
and Sam Smith
. Seventeen-year-old singer Sydney Sierota, who fronts the band of siblings, says she thinks the song’s sentiments about not fitting in still apply, even though the band’s now a household name.
“We all have felt that desire to fit in,” she says via phone as the band drives to a show “somewhere in Texas.” “No matter how old you are or how much success you’ve had, everyone feels that need at some point. I think that’s why the song is so successful. The base of the song is real and it is a story from Echosmith. We might be talking about another boy and girl, but we’re really talking about ourselves. It’s about accepting yourself and being okay with who you are. People now ask if we’re cool now. But we relate to the song more as time goes on. We’re constantly reminding ourselves to be true to who we are.”
Despite the fact that band members are all so young (the oldest member, guitarist Jamie Sierota, is only 21), they have plenty of experience as they’ve been playing together since they were kids.
“We started seven years together,” says Sierota. “That always surprises everyone. We basically just grew up in a very musical house. We were already playing music but didn’t have any intent of becoming a band. Then, somebody needed a band for a charity concert. They needed somebody who was free and young. We were both. We offered to do it. That was our first official show and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
It’s all the more remarkable that the band came out of the Valley, a musical void in Southern California.
“There wasn’t a scene where we lived at all,” says Sierota. “I don’t think there’s even a venue there. We were the only ones in school who were really doing music besides the people at the talent show. We were just playing shows together and constantly performing. We never performed in Chino, where we grew up, the first few years of our lives. We were the outsiders in a sense.”
Because their father instilled a love for ‘80s music, they infuse their music with good hooks and basic pop sensibilities. Songs such as “Come Together” feature synthesizer flourishes that were more common in the ‘80s.
“Our dad opened our eyes to some of that [‘80s] music,” Sierota says. “At the same time, we were into bands like the Killers and the Strokes and Coldplay and U2. It’s cool to see their influences come from ’80s music too. It kept coming back to that. There’s so much about melodies. It can come from anything. Now, sometimes people forget and it’s only the vocals and only about the vocals but you can have melody come from a bass line or a guitar line. Our bassist definitely takes advantage of that.”
Since Talking Dreams
is now nearly two years old, it’s about time the band started to think about a follow-up album. Sierota says the band is content to continue to tour (the shows on the current tour are all sold out) before it heads back to the studio.
“People have asked [about the next album],” she says. “We’re staying creative on the side and writing a little bit but we’re so focused on touring and there’s literally no time. If it comes between writing and sleeping, I need the sleep. We’ll push this album for the rest of 2015 but after that we’ll focus on the second album.”
The Beachland's 15th Anniversary Celebration: Echosmith, The Colourist, 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124. Sold Out, beachlandballroom.com.