When a band is starting out and hitting the road for the first time, sometimes they learn the hard way that every night isn’t a party. Too much drinking, smoking, and recklessness can get you in trouble. But it’s not always these vices that take a toll on you. Sometimes it’s pushing yourself to the point of breaking. While She Sleeps frontman Lawrence “Loz” Taylor learned that the hard way.
Last year, Taylor suffered from vocal issues, which led to throat surgery and the band canceling a number of shows. Taylor recovered and channeled all the frustration, anger, and uncertainty he felt during that time into the band’s second album “Brainwashed.” Now, Taylor and the rest of the guys are spending their 2016 on the road. Before their Chicago show with Asking Alexandria and Bullet For My Valentine at the House of Blues this Friday, Taylor sits down and talks about touring, playing “Brainwashed,” and lessons learned from last year.
You had issues with your voice and had throat surgery last year. Touring mate Matt Tuck [Bullet For My Valentine] also had some vocal issues around 2007. Did you guys exchange stories and share what you two learned from the experience?
Lawrence “Loz” Taylor: We talked briefly on different issues with vocals and stuff like that. There’s a lot more talking to do, but we’ve been slowly trying to open up and give each other a bit of help. Matt’s a great vocalist and I’m sure if I had any questions for him he’d help me out with that. So yeah, I might have to sit him down and quiz him. The thing is when you first start a band you want people to listen to you and you come out of the gate with so much passion. You feel like you have to express yourself and push every little element of who you are and give it every bit of energy. I think you have to hold back a little more. It comes from a passionate place when you use your voice too much.
You guys are going to be busy this year. You’re touring with Bullet For My Valentine, you a Canadian headline tour, a UK tour, and some headlining US dates. How do you keep up the stamina to perform for such a long time?
LT: The main thing is having a bit of balance. It’s one of those jobs where you’re your own boss and do whatever you want. It’s the individual’s choice. As long as you have a lid on things, know your own body, and know your own self, you’ll always be able to work through it. When we first started touring, we quickly found out we liked to party. We like to get really drunk, smoke, and misbehave. What we’ve realize is it’s hard to sustain that lifestyle for a long time. We’re a little bit more careful and choose our battles a bit more.
How did you join the British Invasion Tour?
LT: We supported Bullet For My Valentine’s headline tour over in the UK and Europe. One of the guys liked our music and we’ve been speaking to a few of them on tour. They’ve been digging our style and they get what we’re about. After we supported the tour in the UK they liked the idea of us coming to support them in the US as well. It’s a great opportunity for us because we haven’t been out to the states as much as we’d have like to. It’s a great chance for us to play bigger shows and get to tour with some cool bands.
In past interviews you mentioned the album “Brainwashed” is a culmination of everything you guys went through last the year. How does it feel to perform songs from the album on stage?
LT: The album was pulled through a difficult time. We had to have surgery, we had to have some time out, so it’s a really nice feeling when we finally got the new album out there and got it finished. We’ve been through so many difficult periods of time and through so many roller coasters with the album. It’s nice to be able to come through all those problems and issues. We feel like we’ve come out of it a stronger band and a unit. Hopefully we can always bring that into our band lifestyle and make sure we can hit the nail on the head at anything that’s thrown at us. That’s what we feel when we’re playing this album. We feel like we’ve come through a really difficult time and to be able to play [the album] live is really special. When we look over at each other on stage while playing songs from “Brainwashed” it’s a nice feeling. Even though there [was] a lot of negative energy, it’s a positive vibe.
Did you get all those negative feelings out on the album or are some of them still pent up?
LT: There’s a lot of unity involved in heavy music. It’s as much a release for me as it is for other people. Without that 45 minutes on stage to blow off some steam, I wouldn’t be the same person. The album is a good example of that. It’s nice for me and the other guys to get on stage and really let go. When people go to shows they like to listen to heavy music, they like to rock out, they like to mosh. It’s as much of a release [for me] on stage every night as it is for people coming to watch the show. It’s really important to me to release that energy. I hope when people come see our band they feel a sense of unity and the fact that they’re not on their own for whatever issue they have. That’s what we try to put into our album.
Do you guys have any pre-show rituals to get the adrenaline running before hitting the stage?
LT: We usually stick on some music that we like and jump around like idiots and have a drink. We listen to loads of different bands. I like Norma Jean, Darkest Hour, and Billy Talent. There’s nothing really too specific. We just get pumped and put some tunes on and just try to get excited for the show. It’s a natural thing for us anyway. We don’t have to try too hard to get pumped for the show. We’re always quite excited when it comes to showtime.
You have a show this week in Chicago at House of Blues. Have you ever been to Chicago before?
LT: We’ve been to Chicago a couple of times. We came out in 2012 and supported Parkway Drive on their headline tour. Since then we’ve done two other Wrapped Tours as well. We like it in Chicago, it’s cool. Every time we come to Chicago we have a really great show. The crowd’s always really energetic and the people are really friendly. It’s cool in general. The people we bump into in Chicago – maybe we’ll have a beer or whatever, so we always have a good time. We’re still getting to know America; everything’s so big. It’s cool to come over and experience parts of America and see what’s happening.
So what’s next for the band when all the touring is done?
LT: We’re building our new HQ and it’s gonna house our new album. It’s gonna be like a really cool house. We’ve built a studio and a live a room. It’s gonna have everything like an office space and some bedrooms. We’ve been working on that and trying to get our hands dirty and learn some handy life tools. Then we’re gonna start working on a new record and start writing some new tracks in this place we’ve been working on. That’s also really exciting for us. We used to have a place years ago, but unfortunately we had to give that up due to heavy touring and not being around much. It’s nice to be back and spending some time at home. It’s gonna be the new HQ so we can write, party, and sleep in there. It’s gonna be awesome.