Because her father instilled a love for ’80s music in them, Echosmith singer Sydney Sierota and her two brothers who play in the band with her, grew up listening to acts such as U2, the Smiths and the Cure.
“[My father] was always the biggest U2 fan,” Sierota says in a recent phone interview. The band performs at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at House of Blues
. “It was one of his influences growing up, so it became one of ours. He liked Joy Division and other bands too. The ’80s were a big influence on us anyway. We would watch [movies such as] The Breakfast Club
and 16 Candles
and all that.”
But that’s not to say that her father was stuck in the past.
“He also introduced us to Coldplay and the Killers and bands like that," says Sierota.
Echosmith has come a long way since it played its first show at a charity event that took place about 11 years ago.
“We don’t know the actual date of that show,” says Sierota. “Our dad knew this lady whose daughter died of cancer they were doing a benefit. They needed someone to play the show. She asked my dad if he knew anyone. He brought it up to us, and we wanted to do it. I was singing on my own, and we hadn’t thought of being a band prior to that — that’s probably because I was 9 when this happened. We hadn’t thought of a name for the band yet. We played a bunch of covers from Rihanna to Rage Against the Machine and 311. We played so many random songs, but it was fun, and we just kept doing it.”
It’s all the more remarkable that the band came out of the Valley, a musical void in Southern California.
“We lived in this city called Chino,” says Sierota. “It’s in the middle of the suburbs, and there was no music scene as far as I knew. We had to do it on our own and drive the 45 minutes to an hour to L.A. to do acoustic sets at Third Street [in Santa Monica]. Then, we had a full band, and people got pissed because we were so loud, but we did it anyway. We did it almost every day in the summer. We had to commute from Chino because there was literally nowhere to play there.”
Sierota says she looks back fondly upon recording the band’s debut, 2013’s Talking Dreams
“It was easier because there were no expectations,” she says. “Nobody knew who we were. We made music we wanted to make. We do that now, but it makes a difference when you know that people are waiting, and they expect songs that are similar, and they want you to evolve, and they want songs that have meaning. [With Talking Dreams
], we were experimenting like crazy and had songs that leaned alternative and ones that leaned pop. We ended up with ones that wound up in the middle and that became our sound.”
She says she’s still “amazed” when she hears the album's synth-pop hit, “Cool Kids,” on the radio.
“It’s one of those things you don’t get over,” she says. “Some people get used to hearing their songs on the radio. I never got over hearing the song. If I hear it at the grocery store, I’ll still freak out. To think it’s our song is amazing. Personally, I’m always amazed and super grateful for it.”
At the moment, a release date for the follow-up album is still to be determined. But last year, the band offered a preview of sorts with the EP Inside a Dream
. Songs such as the soaring pop anthems "Future Me" and "Goodbye" feature percolating synths and soulful vocals and suggest the band has embraced '80s pop even more adamantly.
"We’re still deciding what songs will go on the [forthcoming] album," says Sierota. "It’s going to be a great representation of who we’re becoming and who we’ll continue to become. We’re evolving. Our older brother is out of the band, and that made a huge difference on our sound. This is who we are without a lead guitar player. There’s still guitar, but it’s not the forefront of every song. There’s a lot of variety."
Sierota practically talks her way through the band's new single, the lurching “Over My Head."
"I would say a couple of situations inspired the song," says Sierota. "In general, as you grow up and have more relationships and deeper relationships with people, romantic or not, you’ll experience misunderstanding and frustration. I experienced it in relationships and with my own brothers. A lot of [popular] songs now talk about how mad you are and say that you’re leaving, and that’s it. Part of the song's message is 'I’m not giving up.' That’s part of our message. You don’t have to give up."
Sierota says the group will always be "the sibling band" though it might take extra musicians on the road with it. For the show at House of Blues, the trio plans to play several new songs and will bring its professional light show to town for the first time.
"We have never brought a lighting director on tour, so this is a huge deal," Sierota says. "We also have a keyboard player on stage with us too, and I have more freedom to move around. I don’t have to play keyboards. We have specific things to make each song exciting. There will be confetti. It’s like a brand-new tour, and we’re so excited to be out there again."