Echosmith: From math class to rock tours

Echosmith, an alt-pop sibling quartet, with writer Amy Brooks at the House of Blues in Cleveland. From left are Jamie, Sydney, Noah and Graham Sierota. (Photo by Bryanna Gwitt)

Echosmith, an alt-pop sibling quartet, with writer Amy Brooks at the House of Blues in Cleveland. From left are Noah, Sydney, Jamie and Graham Sierota. (Photo by Bryanna Gwitt)

It was just another day in high school geometry when Sydney and Noah Sierota were called down to the office. They tried not to draw attention to themselves as they left the room and walked down the hall.

“Jeez, is this really happening?” Sydney thought to herself.

Nonchalant as they were acting, the Sierotas were actually excited. Sydney, Noah, and their two brothers were about to achieve every aspiring rock star’s dream.

Meet the band

Sydney (vocals), Noah (bass), Jamie (guitar), and Graham (drums) make up Eschosmith. This dynamic family band opened for Owl City on tour last spring, followed that by sweeping the nation on Vans Warped Tour, and now they’re back with Owl City. Signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2011, this band shapes the sound waves into their own pop-rock creations.

And the best part? They’re all under 21.

The Sierotas grew up around music. Their dad, a music producer, introduced them to different instruments when they were very young. Each of them gravitated toward the instrument that suited them the most.

Sydney, 16, still has pictures of her singing on stage when she was just 2 years old, and the others started around the same time.

“I started playing bass when I was 6, but even before we’d be banging on pots and pans, and stomping on the piano and just learning music,” Noah, 17, explained.

Though they did have a few formal lessons, a lot of their experience came from interacting with other musicians, asking questions, and seeing what worked for them. Each of them worked on their own instrument for years before they decided that they sounded best together.

“It just sort of happened to work out perfect. We all just sort of went to different instruments that just happened to work out for a band,” Sydney said.

And with that, the family band Echosmith was born.

Getting signed

When Sydney and Noah got back to geometry, they tried to contain their excitement, but then someone asked where they had gone. Sydney answered, and the student announced to the class that the Sierotas just signed a major-label record deal.

“They were all just super amazed and in shock,” Sydney said. “We were in shock too.”

“It was really crazy,” Jamie, 20, the oldest sibling told us, “It was surreal … There are so many amazing artists on Warner Bros. It’s a real honor to be a part of that.”

Making music

For Echosmith, writing songs is a team effort. They start at any point, whether it’s a rhythm, melody, or lyric, and work off of it to create a new song. It also helps that they have a studio right in their backyard — literally. Their record producer father converted their garage into a studio. For the band, this is the perfect place to write, practice, and record demos. That studio has made music feel like their job.

“It’s kind of like an office,” Sydney said. “It makes you motivated and actually finish what you’re doing.”

Warner Bros. Records recording artists Echosmith, shown here with LSY teen editor Francesca Harvey on Vans Warped Tour, is releasing their debut album "Talking Dreams" Oct. 1. (Photo by Tim O'Shei)

Warner Bros. Records recording artists Echosmith, shown here with LSY teen editor Francesca Harvey on Vans Warped Tour, is releasing their debut album “Talking Dreams” Oct. 1. (Photo by Tim O’Shei)

When the band members are struggling to keep focused and finish a song, there’s something else they keep in mind: Writing this song could change our career.

“Having a studio is just helpful for that,” Sydney added, “and having that environment is super fun too.”

The band has the best of both worlds with the smaller studio at their house, and also access to a major label’s studio with perks like rooms filled with instruments.

“I remember walking in there and being like, ‘This is so cool!’” Sydney said. “There are so many instruments to chose from, and I can just go right in this room with this piano, it was just really exciting.”

Sometimes though, it’s the little things that are the most impressive. Noah, like many teenage boys appreciated, the snacks that come along with the studio time.

“There’s also lots of food, and we like food, so it was also awesome,” Noah laughed. “Just seeing tons of food in the kitchen area, and we get to make lots of music and hang out and record with an awesome producer and have fun.”

 Connecting with fans

Standing at their merch table after their set, Echosmith – like many other bands – gets to meet a bunch of fans, and they love it.

“We like meeting new people and meeting fans, people who are interested in our music. It’s always a really fun experience meeting people after the show at our merch table. We always enjoy it,” Jamie said.

These bandmates are first and foremost siblings, and Jamie, Noah, and 14-year-old Graham take their brotherly role seriously.

“With Sydney being a pretty girl,” Noah said, “we have to watch out as her older brothers, and watch out for all of the boys who want to get after her and ask for her number, which happens quite a bit.”

Sydney accepts and appreciates it.

“There are four guys in my family that really want to protect me, which is nice, it gets a little interesting sometimes,” she said, laughing, “but in the end its better then them saying ‘oh go off and do whatever.’”

Brotherly protection is pretty normal in many families, but overall there’s little that normal now about the Sierotas. Tours, interviews, autographs, recording … even their school situation is different.

Jamie has already graduated high school, but the other three are now fully homeschooled. None of them find schoolwork too hard. For them, the real challenge is getting it all done.

“We’re on the road all the time and we’re missing days so we have to catch up. But we all make it work, we have to do school and that’s an important thing and we all get that,” Noah admitted.

It’s all part of the job of being a teenage rockstar, and the Sierotas are up to the challenge.

Amy Brooks, LSY deputy editor, Canisius College

Check out teen editor Francesca Harvey’s interview with Echosmith on Vans Warped Tour:

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