Reporting Scott T. Sterling
On the Billboard 200 album chart this week, hard rockers Queens of the Stone Age scored their first No. 1 album, selling 91,000 copies of their sixth studio album, …Like Clockwork. QOTSA was followed by Daft Punk, relinquishing their two-week stand at the top of the chart with the much-discussed Random Access Memories slipping to No. 2 with 62,000 copies sold.
It was a far less familiar name in the No. 3 position, however, with Orlando by way of Grand Rapids, Mich., band Sleeping with Sirens moving 59,000 copies of the band’s third album, Feel — easily the best sales week in the young “scene-core” rock band’s burgeoning career. (The band’s second album, 2011 effort Let’s Cheer to This, debuted with 18,000 in its first week out.)
“Obviously, we’re very excited,” lead singer Kellin Quinn Radio.com told this week. “We’ve worked really hard to get to where we are, and it’s just really awesome.”
It’s a major milestone for Sleeping with Sirens, a band eager to break through to the rock mainstream after paying their dues on the indie post-hardcore circuit since forming in 2009.
“This album is about us becoming more of a rock band, and escape from the scene of music that we were in when we first started,” Quinn said, citing the Foo Fighters as a major influence. “The lyrics are straightforward, the music is straightforward, the album is easy to get into. That’s the idea behind Feel, to really put across what Sleeping with Sirens is all about right from the beginning.”
The album is led by first single, “Alone,” a dynamic track that features notorious Ohio rapper Machine Gun Kelly (aka, MGK) amidst the crashing guitars and Quinn’s distinctive high-pitched vocals and throaty screams.
“We were on the Warped tour together last year,” Quinn said in regards to the pairing. “I was sitting outside in a circle with the band and a cooler of beers. He kind of moseyed by, and he’s this really tall, lanky, awkward-looking dude. He walked up and was like, ‘I really like that one track (“If You Can’t Hang” from Let’s Cheer to This), I listened to it all last summer. It was like my anthem.’ It took me completely by surprise.”
He continued: “He was really complimentary about the band, and I’m a big fan of what he does. We ended up connecting. It felt right, so we did two tracks together. He did ‘Alone’ on our album, and I’m on his new mixtape that’s coming out. We did a cover of Rise Against song ‘Swing Life Away.’”
Sleeping with Sirens is one of the handful of bands who’ve been invited to perform on back-to-back Warped tours, following their 2012 slot with an encore run on the 2013 edition of the long-running emo-rock outing.
“Warped Tour is one of those festivals where you come out and just do your banger songs,” Quinn said. “We’re playing two tracks off our new record – ‘Congratulations’ with Matty Mullins from Memphis May Fire and ‘Alone’ with MGK coming out on a few dates. The rest of the tracks will be the hits, just get kids really amped up and excited, string a lot of energy together.”
While Sleeping with Sirens are considered a staple of the “scene-core” circuit, Quinn is confident that the band’s fanbase is eager to make the transition to a broader stage.
“I think our fans are very loyal, and they listen to an eclectic mix of music,” the singer insisted. “You get pigeonholed into a certain genre of music, and it’s hard to go on tour with different-sounding bands. We want to start bridging the gap and going on tour with some pop bands and stuff. Pierce the Veil did an All Time Low tour that was really successful. That’s kind of what we’re trying to do with our band, bring different genres of music out.”
Quinn went on to admit that he’s “always been more like a pop kid.”
“I’ve always written music to acoustic guitars and stuff,” he said. “When I joined the band, it was an opportunity for me to get out of the town I was in. Now that all of the members are on the same page, we’re just trying to do us. We don’t want to be stuck in metal-core or some sub-genre that people put us in. We just want to be a rock band.”