Before the show: While She Sleeps @ The Old Blue Last 14/04/17

We caught up with the Sheffield quintet after their sold-out show at London's Old Blue Last.

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The metallic hardcore band While She Sleeps have had a chaotic past year; ditching their record label Sony Music, playing sold-out gigs worldwide, and writing and producing their forthcoming album You Are We. With such a busy past year, there’s no telling how the boys were coping ahead of their UK tour. To find out, we had a chat with them after their first gig of the tour at Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last.

That show was pretty mad. How does it feel to be back on tour?
Mat Welsh (guitar): Well the buildup to coming back pretty much swallowed us up. We pushed so much new music from our new record, with a lot of different dynamics. I mean, it’s a lot more complicated, and we don’t have a guitar tech, so we have to do it ourselves. Today has just been one ginormous ball of anxiety before the show – we were all terrified, and we’re never like that! However, all of my worries evaporated as soon as I saw a room full of people in front of me singing.

How’s the reception been so far?
Insane. This album (You Are We) has already done better that any other record, and we recorded it completely on our own. We just thought we’ve never really enjoyed being on a label, and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The decision to leave Sony had a tonne of possible outcomes and worries, but now it’s our best selling and most played record, ever. Which is mental.

No more label ever then?
We’ll see. We’ll see where it takes us. It’s nice to have the independence.

Any favourites to play off of the new album?
‘Four Walls’ – super fun. ‘Silence Speaks’, as well – the video for that has had more views than any of our other tracks, and it’s only been out for two months!

You’ve got a super big following of fans, why do you think they’re so dedicated to your band?
Well, we’ve actually had this realisation a couple of times like, ‘Holy shit, all the guys we meet after the show are really similar to how we are?!’. They’re not pretentious, just open-minded dudes with a slightly anarchist belief. They’re exactly what we wished they’d be like. I think that comes because we’ve never tried to sound/look like another band, we just do what makes us feel free. I think that hopefully connects with people, and they feel a part of it. I don’t want anyone to think that we’re famous or whatever, I want people in the crowd to know that we are exactly the same as them.

So, summer is coming up. What festivals have you got booked?
A shit tonne of European festivals. We’re headlining the Pit stage at Reading & Leeds. I spent all of my youth going there, so to be playing that slot is super cool for us. We’re also going to Australia in July, and touring South East Asia. We’re basically rammed from now onwards.

So far what’s the best crowd you’ve ever played?
I have a lot of love for everyone.. but to be honest we just played in Singapore, and it was insane. South East Asia are some of my favourite crowds ever. When you see so many people completely living for your live show and expressing themselves to the maximum, is crazy.

One word to describe your show tonight?
Real.

You can catch While She Sleeps on their UK tour this month. Buy tickets here.
Photography and interview: Marcel Le Bachelet
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