June 16, 2015

Echosmith is a Band, and It's Everywhere (Profile/Interview)

It’s the unspoken hope of every upstart band gunning for a break, that one of its songs — borne of a lyric scribbled on the back of a crumpled receipt or a melody hummed into an iPhone’s voice recorder — will move the masses and kick start a career. For California’s own Echosmith that song is “Cool Kids,” a deceptively clever commentary on the universal need for social acceptance, its chic synth-pop gloss recalling eighties bands like Berlin and the Human League while at the same time boasting an undeniably of-the-moment vibe. 

The double-platinum lead single off the band’s 2013 debut LP, Talking Dreams (Warner Brothers Records), “Cool Kids” propelled Echosmith into the big time seemingly out of nowhere. Yet as frontwoman Sydney Sierota recently told Write on Music, the band has cultivated its collective talent and chops for the better part of a decade.

“We had a super-pop phase and then a super-rock phase and then a super-indie phase, then an experimental phase,” Ms. Sierota, 18, recalled, “but then as time went on it just became more natural to us.

“We were writing a song as a band rather than with the intention of having a good song or a successful song,” she added, “and that’s when all the really great songs came out. That’s when ‘Cool Kids’ happened. That’s when basically our entire record happened.”

And that’s when people started paying attention, flocking in ever-increasing numbers to see the band perform live on multi-artist bills like the Vans Warped tour and iHeart Music Festival or on its own headlining dates. 

“We got to really see every step, every time it grew a little bit,” said Ms. Sierota, who has video-chronicled the progress she’s strove to achieve along with her three brothers — Graham (drums), Noah (bass), and Jamie (guitar) — since the band’s inception. “We got to see the difference of one person singing along to “Cool Kids” at a show five to ten to the entire crowd of a hundred people. Then eventually it led to hundreds and then thousands.”

Now, Echosmith is everywhere. 

Just this month so far, the band has delivered a boisterous set at the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City, appeared at the MTV Millennial Awards in Mexico City, and joined Taylor Swift at her 1989 World Tour stop in Philadelphia to sing “Cool Kids,” all the while maintaining a rigorous touring schedule.  

As Echosmith’s profile continues to rise, so too does that specifically of Ms. Sierota, who last month signed on with Wilhelmina Models. While her likeness is sure to complement an avalanche of magazine covers, posters, T-shirts, and other such promotional fare that already feature her (either depicted within the group, or alone), the matter of maintaining the integrity of a female-fronted band with an otherwise all-male lineup is hardly anything new. The most obvious example of this would be Blondie in the mid-to-late ‘70s, whose slogan “Blondie is a band” served as a requisite antidote to the media’s fixation on lead singer Deborah Harry at the expense of her male colleagues.

“It’d be different if two of us were siblings and then people would just naturally be looking at the two siblings,” reasoned Ms. Sierota. “Because we’re all siblings, it helps. 

“Yeah, of course, there are going to be instances when somebody will just naturally talk to me, want to interview me or things like that,” she added. “My brothers don’t mind. They’re okay with that. I think the only thing they wouldn’t be okay with was that if they were in the dark when we’re performing or something. Everyone's equal on the playing field and on the stage, literally.”

Check out Echosmith’s latest single, “Bright”:

— Photo © Nicole Nodland

For more information, please visit Echosmith online