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Echosmith Is Becoming Who They Were Always Meant to Be

Echosmith Is Becoming Who They Were Always Meant to Be

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Siblings Sydney, Noah and Graham Sierota, have always been a musical family. “Music is what we were always best at,” Sydney explained. After forming the band in 2009, the siblings continued to craft their sound and eventually found major success in 2013 with “Cool Kids.” Over the last decade, the siblings have continued to grow as musicians and as individuals.

Today, the siblings are all grown up and living life but they’re still trying to figure it all out out. There’s a lot up in the air. But they know they can lean on each other and turn to their music to get through it all. Ahead of the release of their new single “Hang Around,” Sydney and Noah sat down to discuss how they’ve become more independent, how they find the strength to step into the unknown, and how family and community have guided them through life. 

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Is it ever nerve wracking to do something completely different than what you’ve done before?

Noah: There’s always some anxiety that’s produced from venturing into the mystery. And I think so much of the music industry is that it’s stepping into the unknown. I feel like as we dive deeper in, we’re growing up too and all that. We’re in our twenties now. We’re diving into that season of life and unpacking our hearts and our feelings, unpacking who we are as people and how we want to present that to the world.

I think that honesty and that vulnerability is really beautiful and it’s really good. I hope that is seen through the music. Even though it’s scary to open yourself up to that and to do that in a way that you haven’t done before, I hope and pray that it’s actually fruitful and a good thing for our fans, our friends, people listening that need hope or need that inspiration or care that music can give.

You all are clearly passionate about encouraging and hopeful in your music. It seems like it’s something you feel strongly about.

Sydney: We started the band when I was nine, Graham was seven and Noah was 10. We were all super young when we were first getting going. Initially, we grew up with the mindset of, “you should try to make a difference in the world and you can make a difference in the world. You could be a good influence wherever you’re at.” 

Initially, there was that mindset automatically because that’s just how we grew up. “Let’s make a difference where we’re at. Let’s spread hope. Let’s make people feel loved with our music. How cool? This is so fun.” Technically, that was the mission all along.

But Noah and I have talked about this a lot in the past couple years as we’ve been truly making this music and preparing ourselves. I think that that message has only become more solidified and more meaningful to us in a really deep way. Not that you can’t have big dreams and want to change the world when you’re younger too, of course you can.

But, I think the more that we’ve lived life and experienced hard times and hard things that have made us grow, I think we’ve just seen the need even more so to make a difference where we’re at, wherever that is. That could be on a day off at a coffee shop, or it could be on the road performing for amazing, beautiful people who came to our show, or the person backstage. It honestly just became more real to us, that we really feel like it’s a beautiful opportunity to just try to light up whatever room we’re going into the best we can. Of course, we’re not perfect and there are days that we feel off and aren’t feeling the most inspired. But, it’s also a choice to try to make a difference where you’re at. 

How do you determine when you want to turn something you’re processing into music and something that other people know about? 

Noah: Music is this vehicle for communicating experience. For us, it’s a day-to-day thing where we talk about all of our songs. I feel like we start with a conversation. “Hang Around” started with Sydney and I talking about our marriages. And the kind of casualness that deep rooted love can bring. And it just blew up from there. So I feel like at the end of the day every song starts there. And what’s cool is we’re siblings. We care for each other and love each other. And so we just talk and that just often leads to a song. And sometimes you do start an idea and you’re like, “I don’t really know what this is about.”

And then it becomes something and you connect it to something that has happened to you. So I’m like, “Oh, this is what the song’s about. This is about this story in my life, this experience, or this thing that my friend is going through now, whatever.” So I feel like sometimes the music takes you on that journey. But a lot of it is that our lives and our experiences are gifts. And I think that we are called to be faithful. To take those things and then try to rework them or utilize them or redeem them in some way to be able to create a message that can hopefully care for souls in the way that we really hope to do with our music.

Sydney: It’s also been a goal of ours to write songs about whatever we’re feeling at the moment. Of course you could go back and be like, “I don’t want to put that song out.” But at least putting it on paper, literally, is just so important because that could be a healing experience for me going through something. Then a song just comes out of it that really helped me through that, whether it comes out or not. It still served its purpose in that way. We’re just trying to push ourselves to write about everything we experience. We can deal with it later if we’re like, “Oh, maybe we don’t want to put it out.”

But at the end of the day, if it feels scary to put out, I’m seeing that as a little bit of an encouragement of, “OK, if this feels a little bit scary to reveal that I have these thoughts or, oh my gosh, I’m imperfect in this way and I’m talking about it and I’m writing a song about my jealousy,” or whatever. If it feels scary, in some ways I think that’s a good sign, because it means that I’m actually being vulnerable for real this time.

I think it’s important to show those sides because if I’m nervous to show it, there’s probably someone else who feels a little bit nervous to even talk to their best friend about it. That’s been really encouraging to be like, “Okay, if this feels a little bit scary,” then to an extent, maybe this is what needs to be heard by somebody else who maybe doesn’t feel like they can talk about that.

When you feel that fear, where do you get the strength to push past that and be honest?

Noah: I should ask my counselor.

I mean, I really do feel like music is conversation. Music is dialogue and for us, again, it goes back to conversation between us. And I think as we’ve been writing this record, we as siblings have become way closer. So I think just the willingness to say like, “Here I am. Here’s what I’m experiencing. Here’s where I’m anxious. Here’s where I’m excited.”

And then for that to be like, that’s where our music is coming from now. I don’t think our music has always come from that point. These aren’t just conceptual things anymore. We want our music to truly care for the soul. So that’s something we talk a lot about and we feel like we can’t do that unless we’re truly laying out our burdens.

And sometimes it’s a song that is about love and excitement. And sometimes it’s a song of lament to God and a prayer that we share when we’re angry. Or it can really range. But I do believe that truthfulness is what we’re all called to in all things. And that I think is very important for music to be truthful and to be honest. To beg when you feel like you need to beg. To cry out when you feel like you need to cry out. To scream when you need to scream. To rejoice when you need to rejoice.

If we don’t do that, we’re just going to hold it in. I know what it feels like to hold it in and it’s not good. But music really has become this vehicle where you can just let it all out. Joy, sorrow, everything in between.

Sydney: I think what can be encouraging to anybody, no matter where they’re at, what their age is, where they work, where they live. I think it’s really important to really try to find your community, because that’s something for me that I didn’t really feel like I could show these certain sides of myself, because I didn’t really have that many great friends that I could actually trust to tell things to.

I think it’s about also who you’re around and also being intentional with making those friendships of putting in the effort, even if that feels like, “Oh, I don’t want to bug somebody.” Putting in the effort to at least have someone in your life that you can open up to about the things that feel even scary to say out loud. But you need to have someone you can trust.

But, until then too, and even while you have that, like I’ve gone into journaling and that’s been really helpful with just reflecting and realizing things. Sometimes you don’t always have someone you can call in that exact moment. People have different work hours and it’s really helpful to have something to, again, put it literally on paper and having people around you that can even just be a trusted ear can be really helpful with that. Because it’s scary to open up and you have to experiment. I’m going to tell someone something and see how it feels. Usually if it’s a good person, it ends up being a great conversation and you feel just a little bit relieved afterwards, because you had somebody to go to. That’s what I would encourage and that’s something that I’ve literally seen firsthand for myself.

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