Call of Sirens is an alternative rock band from the UK who uses their creativity to take listeners on a journey. Heavily influenced by an array of artists, as well as the story behind their namesake, this female-fronted foursome is sure to have you hooked from the first note.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with co-founder and guitarist Andy Bawden about the band’s start, their upcoming single and debut EP, and much more.
First and foremost, thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate your time. So let’s dive right in. What made you want to pursue a music career?
AB: As a teenager when I was learning guitar and writing my first song I like most people dreamed of being a huge rock star. Over the years as I played in different musical projects whilst working normal day jobs I realised that making it big was very very hard and was very much a 1 in a million chance. I was cool with that. Once I accepted that my music was going to be a pursuit of enjoyment and release rather than something I relied on to pay my rent, I became more free creatively. Music is still my release and escape, but do I always have that hope of making it big? Of course.
Who are your biggest influences?
AB: In terms of music I was brought up with country rock and British R’n’B of the 60s/70s. Bands like the Eagles were huge for me in terms of songwriting, and bands like Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, Cream as well as more progressive bands like Rush. Later on I immersed myself in all subgenres of rock and metal, but these early sound sources still to this day influence the sounds and songs I contribute to. Each band member has an eclectic and diverse range of musical influences, and we try to bring elements of all these styles into our music somewhere.
I noticed the varied tastes from your Spotify playlists. Y’all definitely run the gamut of genres. So I’m curious; for you personally, what made you pick up a guitar?
AB: My dad was a pro country musician in the 70s and showed me my first chords. And I learnt by books and listening to the radio and CDs. I started playing in school bands in my teens, as well as in my dad’s semi-pro bands. My godfather is actually country music star George Hamilton IV. So I have grown up with music. In terms of guitarists, I learnt from the usual – Slash, Marty Friedman, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, etc.
Who are your favorite guitarists?
AB: Don Felder, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Alex Lifeson, and Adam Jones are my personal top five.
And just for fun, what is something you listen to that you think might surprise people?
AB: I’m a bit of a musicals fan. My favorite film growing up was Singing in the Rain. I am also a huge fan of Les Misérables. And I am a massive Taylor Swift fan. Saw her live at Wembley on the Reputation Tour a couple of years back. Great songwriter, master promoter, and shrewd businesswoman.
You have a background heavy in music and have played with quite a few bands. Tell me how Call of Sirens came together.
AB: In early 2021 off the back of a solo home recording project I had completed during UK Covid lockdowns, I was keen to find some collaborators to write new music with. On meeting bassist and dynamic songwriter Nick, we started to develop ideas and new sounds between us. We eventually introduced a female vocal and drums to the mix as we developed our sound and style. With a couple of personnel changes over the past year we are now a solid quartet, with Connor [drums] and Leilani [vocals] being the correct and final pieces of the puzzle.
What is the songwriting process for the band, and where do y’all draw your inspiration from?
AB: We unusually start with a riff or a chord progression then match that with a theme or message we have been exploring. It can be a thought, a feeling, a concept, a historical story, etc. We then develop it into a rough song structure and phone video ourselves playing it, then share it around the band so we can feedback and work our own parts. Once we get into the practice room, because we have done a lot of the work remotely, things usually come together pretty quickly into a final product. The legacy of the pandemic is that we created ways of working that in many ways were more efficient and more collaborative. These have continued for us as it works.
With your tendency to follow a theme or concept when writing, what is the story behind your latest single “Kenopsia”?
AB: ‘Kenopsia’ is a noun found in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig. It is…
“The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet—a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds—an emotional afterimage that makes it seem not just empty but hyper-empty, with a total population in the negative, who are so conspicuously absent they glow like neon signs.”
The song is the story of a girl trying to find out where she is in this new dark and empty world. In every corner she sees ‘after images’ (ghosts) of people she might have known, but she can’t quite see them. She slowly realises that she is actually alone. She is a victim of this ‘Kenopsia’.
The band name grabbed my attention immediately. Where did it come from?
AB: I was obsessed with the idea of ‘the siren’ (a less than virtuous mermaid), a creature who would call sailors to their deaths. Mysterious beings that some believed were real, and are still real today. The theme influenced some of our early songs and the possible visuals were interesting also. It seems to fit well for us in terms of having a female lead singer as well as the general vibe of us as a band and also our approach to theme-based songwriting.
It sounds like you have a vision for this band and a lot to work with. So tell me, what’s next for Call of Sirens?
AB: Our debut music video for “Kenopsia” will be live before Christmas, with our next single “Gravel Tree” being released on 20th Jan, and our debut EP itself called Gaia being released on 24th Feb.
From 14th Jan to 5th May 2023 we will undertake a 7 date tour in support of the EP’s release. This will predominantly be around the south of England. More information can be found at callofsirens.com/tour.
What can fans expect from those live performances?
AB: A very energetic live performance but with some more considered moments. We always focus on producing sounds that make people want to listen and appreciate a theme or story. We very much want to take people who come and see us on a journey in the 45 minutes we have them focused on us for. It’s more of an experience than a gig.
I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the upcoming EP. Did y’all use a thematic approach to the record, as with “Kenopsia”?
AB: Yes. Gaia is Greek for Mother Earth. Nick [bassist/songwriter] came up with the title for us to work with. We really liked the idea, but we then had to link all the songs to it.
Our take is “the death and struggle of the feminine. Seeking to find the balance again in one’s self and in the natural world around us. Abandoning the world of man in favor of the mother. “Gravel Tree” [written by Nick, set to be the second single] is more linked than the others. It specifically connects to the Gaia theme, whereas the others fit in that they are about searching for something – a person, a ghost, a greater meaning, oneself. I guess that’s the loose overarching theme of the EP.
What is your favorite song on Gaia?
AB: I like them all. Two are my compositions and two are Nick’s. My favorite to play live is “The Monsters,” as it’s fun and energetic, but “Gravel Tree” is the best song, moody and interesting, and the lyrics are amazing.
The track listing is as follows – “Kenopsia,” “The Monsters,” “A Stranger (To Myself)”, and “Gravel Tree.”
Anything else you want your fans to know?
AB: Just that we are very grateful for all the likes, follows and comments on our socials and also the wonderful amount of streams and listens of our music over the past few weeks, and hopefully the next few. We are very happy that people are excited and interested in what we do.
Call of Sirens is going to be quite busy well into the new year. Be sure to visit the band’s website for more information and follow their socials so you don’t miss anything. And keep an eye out here, as well. I’ll be sharing the singles as they drop!
For a glimpse into that wide array of influences I mentioned, go peruse their personal Spotify playlists.