12 August 2015

What's cool?

When a young, talented, not to mention good-looking band that flies around the world to perform in front of adoring fans have their vocalist sing, “I wish that I could be like the cool kids,” it’s quite difficult to be convinced.

American band Echosmith — a play on words echo (sound) and smith (maker) — is composed of the Sierota siblings, namely Sydney, Noah, Graham and Jamie. Hard as it may be to conceive, they have been around for almost a decade, but only recently broke into commercial success with the smash hit Cool Kids from their 2013 debut album “Talking Dreams.”

Sydney shared that the group wrote Cool Kids to express that universal desire to fit in. “There are times when I’m hanging out with a crowd and think, ‘Man, I don’t look like these people; I don’t act like them or talk like them,’” she said and further noted that the song is all about self-acceptance, which to her is essentially what makes any person cool.

She continued by confessing that they still feel pangs of insecurity “for some random reason,” whether together as a band or individually. “It just proves that no matter how much success you’ve had, you still go through that. We’re still learning,” remarked the 18-year-old.

Cool Kids no doubt has introduced Echosmith to the world, but the foursome follows it up with what may well be their signature song: Let’s Love. “We always thought from the start that it’s going to be a single eventually. That was the first song we wrote where we went, ‘Wow, this is the kind of song that we wanna go for, a song that really feels like Echosmith,’” shared Sydney.

Upbeat, positive, with barely a trace of angst or cynicism that pervade the works of artists in their teens, “Talking Dreams” is an album your mother would approve of and your friends would have blasting on the car radio during a summer road trip.

“Everybody naturally gets negative sometimes, but we definitely like to go for the positive things because it feels better that way,” said Sydney in explaining their musical philosophy. “We want people to feel better after they listen to our stuff or after watching us live, and even upon meeting us. That’s our goal. We might as well use the platform that we have the best way we can.”

And they seek to spread good vibes. When asked what’s the best thing about being in a band, they said it’s touring. “We mainly love going out to eat and roam. That’s one thing,” said Sydney, who also confessed to being a heavy sushi and rice eater.

Beyond the perks of traveling, though, it’s the magic of seeing what they do grow before their eyes that pumps up the siblings. “To see — after we go to the same city a million times — that the crowd gets bigger and the passion becomes stronger each time… from under a hundred people coming to 2,000 then to 15,000… it’s kind of crazy to watch that, it’s definitely the best part.”

With a Philippine concert slated in August, Sydney, Noah, Graham and Jamie will be able to witness how their following in the country has multiplied since their first visit last year. Manila’s intensity didn’t escape the group. Sydney recalled, “It was amazing. It was our first experience having people waiting at the airport and at the hotel for us.”

The show itself has a room in her memory: “It was such a good crowd. Everybody was so passionate, so excited. You don’t want anything more than that when you’re in a band. I’m just excited to go back,” she added. “We might throw some balloons, some confetti, some surprises,” shared Sydney upon prodding her into divulging their plans for the upcoming concert. “But our goal is just to have fun, jump around and play music. We might do a few covers.”

It may appear that the Sierotas are living the life all kids out of high school dream of. But young as they may be, touring has taught them that time isn’t on their side. “There are only 24 hours, which sounds like a lot at first, but we’re flying and driving, and that takes a lot of our day,” explained Sydney.

“I’m now realizing that quality time and time are different,” she continued. “We have to be careful how we spend our few free hours. So instead of looking at IG for hours and hours or watching TV, I make time to call a friend or a loved one.” The four even believe that they still need to hang out as siblings and talk about matters unrelated to music. “We’re still learning how to have balance, but we’re getting there,” she added.

Another lesson that the band has learned and wishes to impart to start-up bands is commitment. “If you really love something and you know you want to do it, just stick with it. We’ve been a band for nine years. Now it’s working and it’s awesome but it took a long time for us to get here. It could happen overnight or it could happen in a span of ten years — you’ll never know,” said Sydney, adding matter-of-factly, “You have to be prepared to wait.”

In a generation where many are spoiled by instant gratification and have somewhat lost their capacity to wait, Echosmith — whose oldest member is only in his early 20s — preaches patience by example and that’s pretty cool in our book.

—Originally published on GIST

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