Interview - Sir Sly
We were given the opportunity to talk to Jason, Landon, and Hayden before their show at 930 Club, supporting Kongos on tour. We talked about collaborations, social justice, Drake, and everything in between. Read the interview below!
CS: The last time you were here, you were on tour with Wolfgang, about to release your debut album You Haunt Me. How has touring been since you have an entire LP out?
Landon: It's been incredible! The difference between people knowing all of the songs, or any of the songs we might play versus just ones that they heard on the radio or the singles are released it's night and day. The reaction from people has been great.
Hayden: It's so good to play album track just not announce it and hear people sing-along is great. Too Far Gone, a song off the album, would start with Chase playing keyboard and people would notice it immediately.
Landon: Or the subtle differences between the way you play it live in the way you play it recorded, people pick up on those things. Everything's a little bit more exciting. The microscope is good for us. For people to be able to put a microscope on everything we're doing live, I think we thrive under that because we put so much work into what we do you live that it's good. I think if we were less practiced or if we didn't work as hard that would be a frightening thing. But it's good to have the album out and for people to know and to be scrutinizing it.
CS: You have a song titled Inferno which features Lizzy of MSMR. Should we be on the look out for any other collaborations? Maybe even a rap collab?
Hayden: We actually did one with a hip-hop artist who I love named Vic Mensa. He did a verse on a Gold remix. That's definitely something I would love to do, it's something you always think about, too. You watch the cross-section of hip-hop and alternative music, or any non-hip-hop genre, and you see a lot of misses. There are so few people who do it well, and I think it's just about being careful with that. There are a few people that it would make sense to do that with in the future, but you just have to be careful that's on a cliché or that you're not just doing it it was an exciting idea.
Landon: I think that the RZA on James Blake record was really cool. And when Chance hopped on that remix of another James Blake song both of those are great. I think you have to be careful to do something like that... Not even careful from perspective of other people seeing it, but just for yourself. You never won something that you hate after or something that you feel like you've pandered into a cliché rather than something that was special.
Hayden: That's the riskiest part about a collaboration I think. I felt really confident about the collaboration because Derek and Lizzy, they run Neon Gold Records together, had like Inferno since we were a band had just written that song. I felt pretty at ease with it. But I would have been really nerve-racking to invite just someone what that's like "Well, this is the girl who sings well!" because what if it's bad?
Landon: Going in blind to a collaboration is really bad. None of us really write hip pop music so you're looking at fully releasing control of the collaboration to that person. You are essentially letting them write their own song.
CS: It's known that Sir Sly does all in house production. Does it ever get hard to work with each other, or does it always flow perfectly?
Hayden: We're not closed off to anything. We have some friends are really good songwriters and if something arises naturally or it makes sense we will not be closed off to it. But I know for sure the reason we three sorry the band is because we have a real, really nice rhythm together. We each bring a different elements in. But we never closed off to other options. I mean I personally am always in awe of the way Jason is.
CS: Yeah, I'm always reading you guys giving lots of praise to Jason, for obvious reasons!
Hayden: Yeah, he's constantly advancing in progressing, it's amazing.
CS: With all the things happening in the media regarding social justice lately, how do you deal with your fans reacting to your opinions on this matter? Do they usually disagree or are you typically all in harmony?
Landon: Having learned this coming from a place of really, really, true ignorance, the people that taught me the most about opening my eyes and see how privileged I am are people that I loved and trusted and I think that's been the biggest thing for me. A lot of times humor can go along way to ease the pain of telling somebody that they are thinking about things in a way that hurt other people, because they'll get so defensive so quickly. I think I still get defensive sometimes people still say well that thing you said was wrong. The thing for me is that interacting with people on Twitter, trying to help people understand what's going on a little bit more, especially as a white person, you take the backseat. I'm trying to learn from people that I follow on Twitter and the things I read. I think that's what I want to point people to most of all, it's possible to be a white person and understand that you are privileged and learn from people of color, who are the ones that are on the front line, actually dealing with issues and thinking about it in a way that's personal to them because it can't really be personal to me.
Hayden: I think in terms of the the "#activism," it's a thing and it exists, but that's the that we're living in. I know that I remember so vividly the night of the verdict in Ferguson, just refreshing Twitter for probably like four hours straight. And that's okay, that's fine, that's what it was. That's what the present day is. I don't get up in arms with "#activism" because I think that there are people who are capable of doing more and they do that, and I hope they would feel empowered to, but I also think that everyone has ability to follow along with this conversation on Twitter which is perfectly fine.
Landon: But people do say dumb stuff, to answer your question more directly. People say stuff that is frustrating, but I'm not gonna be the one to change their mind. So most of the time, I think I'm preaching to the choir.
CS: Now we have a few fan questions...
se7enteenblack (on Tumblr): Why are you such a massive geek and why do you have blue hair? Are you trying to be like Halsey?
Landon: This actually comes from Win Butler, I think. He said something to the effect of like "I owe it to all the people with normal jobs to be crazy because they can." Travis Barker said something similar about that too because he wanted to pigeonhole himself into only being able to do music. I don't think I'll go that far, but it's fun! I dyed my hair blue because Halsey did it!
@electrasoph: What is your favorite city to perform in?
Hayden: We just had an amazing show in Charlotte. I honestly couldn't tell you a specific city.
Landon: The radio festival in Charlotte was good. Portland was an incredible show too. I was like near tears of gratitude.
Hayden: Me too, I remember walking offstage and and just wanting to cry because I was so happy.
Landon: We played like this weird encore and then we left, and then he played like a true encore, because people wouldn't stop screaming for about three minutes, and we come back and do a cover.
CS: The Marvin's Room cover?
Landon: Yeah, like the slowest song ever, it was the only song we had left!
CS: We love that cover! We caught it when you performed at Firefly!
Hayden: Firefly was so cool too!
Landon: As the white guy's singing Drake, I always feel a tad bit uncomfortable, especially at Firefly. I remember there being a bunch a black security guards and they were all laughing!
Hayden: They were waiting for the chorus like "WHAT'S HE GONNA DO?" Then he says you guys, and they all laugh.
Landon: They were laughing too because I was singing "women" instead of "bitches," so there's always this little but of insecurity about singing that song. But Firefly was so amazing.
Jason: Philly was great! I think I would put Philly, Charlotte, Portland.
CS: Basically, all of tour is great!
Landon: None of the places you'd expect really.
CS: Yeah, like New York and LA get every tour.
Landon: Yeah, you go to those places every tour. You may not necessarily go to Charlotte or Portland every tour. People are stoked. It's almost like they're thankful.
We'd like to thank Sir Sly for taking the time out to talk to us. Here are a few photos from their performance that night, by photographer Mica Cerball.