“I felt alive.”
This is what business administration freshman Lysander Mahilum experienced while watching Echosmith perform at this year’s Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Welcome Back Concert on Sept. 24.
But Mahilum didn’t just watch Echosmith play, he hopped onstage and danced alongside lead singer Sydney Sierota, while the band rocked out to their song “Come With Me.”
Three other lucky crowd members joined Echosmith on stage, giving the concert an intimate and friendly feel, just as the band likes it.
DEV set the mood before Echosmith took the stage, throwing free t-shirts and water bottles at the crowd as they shouted out the words to hits like “Bass Down Low” and “Like a G6.” The singer even took one excited fan’s iPhone to record a snapchat of her singing “In My Trunk.”
“I had so much fun,” DEV said in an interview with Mustang News. “There was crowd surfing and people jumping up and down. People like to have a good time in SLO.”
hyphy moments @CalPoly getting the show started! ✨ pic.twitter.com/MyAdlzeZdi
— dev (@devishot) September 25, 2016
DEV also performed her latest single, “#1,” during her set. To some, new music from DEV was a surprise, given that the last music she released was in 2012.
But the singer confirmed there is a new album in the works. DEV said that she had been in and out of the studio for a few years, working on an album that she eventually discarded completely. For DEV, making “#1” was a way to regroup and start over to make new music.
Artists like the Fugees, Dr. Dre, the Doors and Alice in Chains inspire DEV when she’s making her music. She said being a huge music fan makes what she does all the more worthwhile.
Video by Gurpreet Bhoot and Gina Randazzo
“It’s so fun for me to see people in the crowd appreciating the stuff I create,” she said. “Like ‘Bass Down Low’ is my favorite (to perform). Even though I’ve performed it a billion trillion times, it still feels really good, you know? I think people really appreciate that song.”
The keys to success according to DEV? Being passionate and working hard.
“Keep thugging it out,” DEV said.
The crowd mellowed as DEV left the stage, but anticipation for Echosmith still hung in the air.
And without much warning, Echosmith burst onto stage, playing the upbeat and dancey “Let’s Love.”
Though each member of the all-sibling band had something unique to offer to the concert, lead singer Sydney Sierota stole the show. Twirling a bright pink parasol, Sierota commanded the stage.
The crowd swayed to Echosmith’s softer tune “Bright,” and bounced to the band’s rendition of the 80s jam “I Melt With You” by Modern English.
Echosmith ended their performance with the hit “Cool Kids.” The crowd’s voices rang out as they sang along while the sun set. Guitarist Jamie Sierota passed out drumsticks to eager fans before the band said their goodbyes.
“To see everyone’s face in that crowd, it was amazing,” aerospace engineering senior Ian Hughes-Wickham said. “All the WOWies, all the leaders, all the people showing up, it was ecstatic.”
In an interview with Mustang News, Echosmith explained why performing “Cool Kids” is so special for them. The song is a simple story, one about a boy and a girl wanting to fit in — a feeling the band said everybody has felt at least once in their life.
“The whole message of the song overall is to accept yourself,” Sydney said. “That song is our story and it’s so amazing to see that it’s so many other people’s story too. That’s just the greatest connection on stage, to really connect over a real subject, something everybody has felt deep to the core.”
The band has come a long way, from their debut in 2009 under the name Ready Set Go! to the release of their first Echosmith album Talking Dreams in 2013.
Bassist Noah Sierota said the band created the name Echosmith to mirror the concept of a blacksmith’s work.
“We were thinking of the idea of blacksmiths and how they shape metals and we thought of the concept of shaping sounds, which is what a band does by creating music,” Noah said. “We made the word echosmith to mean that.”
Video by Frances Mylod-Vargas
The band explained that their name change came along with many internal changes as well. Sydney was nine years old when Ready Set Go! got its start. Now at 19, she said a lot has changed for each of the siblings.
“Now, some of use are in love and (we get) to talk about that, we’re traveling the world and having all of these different experiences,” Sydney said. “I was 14 or 15 when I was writing the first album and I didn’t love anybody yet. It’s a totally different perspective.”
Echosmith said that this past year has been very different for them, after coming back from touring for three years straight. The band assured the audience that new music was right around the corner. Sydney told Mustang News a record will come out during the first
half of next year, with a single debuting as soon as possible.
Noah said Echosmith’s creative process when making new music starts with one band member walking in with an idea, whether it be music or lyrics, and the entire band building off that. He said the band will write music to different instruments to see what draws inspiration.
Sydney said being family members makes this process easier.
“We know how to fight and get over it,” she said. “I think that’s a really great advantage to being a family and being a band. You can be so honest with each other here.”
Sydney also explained that intertwining the family’s mission statement with their music career helps the band stay true to themselves as they continue to make music.
“Our mission statement is really just to spread love, hope and joy to as many people as possible,” she said. “That’s been our whole family’s motive for life and it’s really cool that we’ve gotten to do that with something we like to do for fun, too. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds.”