Our dreams drive us. They're why we build cities, create art, and pursue love.
In 2013, teenage siblings from Southern California, ECHOSMITH, brought a lifelong dream to fruition with the release of their debut album Talking Dreams. As soon as they could hold instruments, they began playing music together as kids. They traded the living room for Farmers Markets and open mic nights, while quietly honing their songwriting chops. Those chops were on full-display in the breakout single "Cool Kids," which became a runaway success. Supporting Talking Dreams, they performed around the globe and enchanted audiences everywhere. As those adventures unfolded, they grew up, both as people and musicians, and that growth shines through their 2017 sophomore album, Inside A Dream [Warner Bros. Records].
"We describe our new album as dreamy pop," explains frontwoman Sydney. "These songs explore different aspects of our lives -- love, adventure, heartache, and living out our dreams. On our first record, we were simply dreaming of the future, and we're inside of that dream now. We've lived so much life in a short period of time. I was 15 when we recorded Talking Dreams, and now I'm 20. This amazing journey of connecting with fans and different cultures all over the world completely changed our lives."
Driven by Sydney Sierota, Noah Sierota [bass, percussion, backing vocals], Graham Sierota [drums], and Jamie Sierota [guitar], Talking Dreams earned a prestigious RIAA gold certification, yielding the double-platinum breakout smash "Cool Kids," which notched a quarter-of-a-billion Spotify streams, and the platinum-certified "Bright." They took over radio airwaves and performed across television everywhere from Ellen to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon twice. Meanwhile, tastemaker praise came courtesy of Elle, Rolling Stone, Nylon, and more. Simultaneously, Sydney stood out as a positive cultural force, whether acting as a brand ambassador for Coach, designing a line for Hollister, or dueting on stage with Taylor Swift.
Along the way, the band faced a major change together. After bringing their dream to life, co-founder, guitarist, and big brother Jamie left ECHOSMITH, transitioning focus to his wife and newborn baby.
"We had to come to grips with the fact that Jamie left the band, so we had to find ourselves as a trio instead of a quartet," admits Noah. "The process helped us recognize what we really wanted to do musically."
"At that point, we never had another musician on stage with us," says the frontwoman. "That literally forced us on a journey of having to discover this sound. We still had electric guitars, but they weren't the center of the music anymore. The keyboards, pads, percussion, and vocals became the focal point. We began recording and writing constantly at the same time. We wanted to write as honestly as possible. There were no narratives; it was all life experiences and truth."
In order to bring that vision to life, the group utilized vintage synths, keys, and drum machines, carefully emphasizing each detail and "making sure we loved every single note and sound." As a result, Inside A Dream is awash in shimmering synths, airy guitars, and heavenly vocals. Its eleven anthems wouldn't be out of place blasting from an eighties transistor radio during an episode Stranger Things or booming across massive North American festival grounds as the sun sets for a headline gig.
"Inside a dream is the culmination of a year-and-a-half of tirelessly working to define who we are," continues Noah. "We not only grew as musicians but as people. The stories we've told on this album are our stories that we're living right now."
Noah's finger-picked acoustic guitar on "Goodbye" entwines with Sydney's breathy delivery before bouncing into a danceable refrain colored by island-style keys and heavy bass. It also represents another evolution.
"This song was written out of pure frustration with another person who couldn't make up his mind," reveals Sydney. "That indecision was affecting us, so the message is, 'Good luck finding yourself. Goodbye. I have to move on with my life regardless of your opinion.' It's a bit darker for us, but I think a lot of people can relate to that."
Co-written with an old family friend Leah Haywood, opener "Get Into My Car" gleefully nods to new wave influences like The Cure and Joy Division with its cinematic lyricism, shiny keyboards, and lush refrain, "Get into my car. Get into my life. Get into my heart. You know what I like."
"It talks about how sometimes you have negative voices in your head, but then you find that person who makes them go away," she says. "That's totally happening in my relationship."
For "Crazy Love," they teamed up with a longtime inspiration, OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, to make a love song about "what it feels like to be in the crazy exciting love where you get to dance together and do things you see in the movies."
The arena-size drums of "Future Me" propel the equivalent of the grade school exercise of writing a letter to your future self. "Everyone Cries" tackles the craziness of the world head-on.
At the heart of the record, ECHOSMITH cling to the message that drove them from the start which is their mission statement "to spread hope and love through music to the whole world."
"Music is one of the few things that can unite people," concludes Noah. "We hope that's something we can be a part of."
"We've really gotten to understand the depth of that mission statement," Sydney leaves off. "We were so blessed for 'Cool Kids' to blow up and see the world. We got to realize the depth of spreading love, how important it actually is, and the lack of love in the world. Our message has stayed the same, but we understand it more. We go deeper. Life is hard, but you can find the joy no matter what. That's what we're here to show people."
In the end, Inside A Dream has the power to motivate millions to follow their own dreams as ECHOSMITH did.