It was just starting to drizzle rain when Kyle Bihrle and I stepped outside of the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA a few weeks ago to talk about his band, Sirens & Sailors. The conversation was shorter than usual as we had to make sure he got back to the merch table in a reasonable amount of time, but it was an informative conversation nonetheless.
Sirens & Sailors are currently touring across the USA with Escape The Fate, supporting their sophomore studio effort, Rising Moon, Setting Sun. I spoke with Bihrle about the inspiration behind the track "Personal Hell", the process of writing the sophomore record, and we even got to geek out over Harry Potter together.
Let’s talk a little bit about Rising Moon, Setting Sun. This is the second studio album for the band. How would you say the process of working on this album differed in comparison to the process of working on Skeletons.
I’d say we had a little less time to work on this album; we were crunched for time, but at the same time, that’s what makes us work even harder on things. The pressure helped.
And with that kind of music, you can channel that intensity into to it.
Right. We were on tour right before we had to record that album, so we went right from tour into the studio for three weeks. We were good to go, fresh off of tour, so we were ready for it!
From what I had picked up from the albums, you talk about this concept of personal hell, and not necessarily death, but that idea of something that’s darker. Is that a theme that you’d say has been present since the band’s inception, or did it have to grow a little bit as time has gone on?
Yeah! I mean, people write music because it’s their emotions, at least for the most part. We have positive songs, but we also have more darker, negative songs. When the guys write the music, and I get to hear the sound of it, that’s how I kind of get the idea of what I want to write about, you know what I mean?
A funny story, actually: “Personal Hell (Page 394)” is a Harry Potter reference.
That was honestly the next question I had for you, hell yes!
Yeah! I knew I wanted to write about somebody’s constant battle with themselves internally. It’s all about Professor Lupin from Harry Potter (who was a werewolf in the story). I went into the studio, and was like “I know I want to write this song with this vibe, but what do I write it about?” I’m just a huge Harry Potter nerd, so it was easy for me to base it off of his life and experiences. He doesn’t want to be a werewolf, but he has no choice.
That’s a theme that’s so overlooked in that movie when people talk about it. I’m so glad you touched on it in the song.
I’ve watched those movies countless times. (laughs) It’s actually a tradition that before I leave for every tour, I watch all of the movies.
With Rising Moon, what would you say that artwork represents for the overall tone and theme of the record?
For me, the idea was kind of based off of a “ying-yang”, but in a different sense. On the cover, the sun is out during the night and the moon is out during the day. So there’s a little dark during the light, and there’s a little light in the dark. On the entire album, each song is either dark or light. That’s kind of how the whole moon came together. The title Rising Moon, Setting Sun is kind of the blending of the two.
What kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
I want them to walk away with the feeling that they can accomplish anything. I know there’s songs on our albums that may make you feel down, but everybody goes through that stuff man: having people that will be able to relate. We give it our all, and we want kids to feel that energy. Give it everything you have, and don’t stop until you get there.
What does music mean to you?
Music is a language to me, and it’s a language that everybody understands. The whole world, no matter what race, no matter what language you actually speak, it’s just something brings people together. That is the most amazing thing to me. Whether it’s (our) type of music, or hip-hop, or whatever it may be. It brings people together, and that’s saying something. I try to tell people that if we have a show, and a fight breaks out, it’s easy for me to say, “we’re all in this room together for a reason, because we all have something in common, so I don’t know why you’re fighting each other when you’re here for the same thing!” People need to just sometimes open up their minds a little bit more and realize what they’re really doing and the bigger picture.
Music has been there for as long as I can remember, whether I’m playing it, getting ready go play hockey, or whatever it may be.