- HMS Sirens are a 5 piece band from Manchester. There debut EP Polaroids is out now.
Who are the the HMS Sirens and how did you come up with the name?
HMS Sirens are:
And me, Alex (Words/Guitar)
We were originally going to be called Sirens, we liked the androgyny of the name, but it was already taken. I was down in London and walked past the HMS Belfast and it just fell into place. We liked the juxtaposition between the hard steel of the HMS and the femininity of Sirens. As a full disclosure we are most certainly not royalists nor military types!
How did you get Together?
We were in a host of other, less good, bands. I met TC and Brewster in a pub in Manchester, we knew of each other….we bonded over some red wine and that’s how the nucleus came together. Brewster knew Chris and Michael and the circle was complete.
Who are your Biggest influences?
We have a myriad of influences, collectively we have never been ashamed of a love of 80’s and 90’s bands, Suede, Radiohead, REM, Echo & the Bunnymen, Shack, The Smiths, House of Love….a lot of American bands as well, The National, Wilco, Okkervil River, Death Cab……I love Fontaines DC as well, lyrically they are very good indeed. There is a lot going on.
What is your writing process?
It fluctuates quite wildly, we’re not a band where someone turns up with a finished songs and says ‘play this’. Usually someone will stumble upon a chord sequence or melody and we start to build around that, you know quickly if there is magic in the air. Once we have the skeleton of a song I will start on the words and melody, the rest of the band are really talented, me not so much, so I try and paint pictures with words to justify my being!
Songs can sometimes arrive fully formed 21 was written in what seemed like about 20 minutes, Two x Two on the other hand took forever, it just depends.
This year you released your debut Ep Polaroids did you write this during lockdown and what has the feedback been like?
It was written and recorded pre lockdown, and we are thrilled with response. First release, no gigs, no label, no press, no one had heard of us, we managed to get a distributer and then just released it on all your popular streaming platforms (and Tidal). 3 months later we have no gigs, no press, no label but people are starting to know who we are. We’ve have almost 20000 streams now, which is fucking crazy, very big in Luxemburg as well bizarrely, which is fantastic. Almost universally everyone who has heard Polaroids has loved it, Losing Touch in particular seems to have resonated with people, looking back that should maybe have been the lead track rather than 21, however the hope now is just getting more people to hear it.
Also if any label is reading this and wants to get involved, we are well up for a massive debt around our necks and a chance to soundtrack an erectile disfunction advert, we draw the line at a breathy acoustic cover for John Lewis though.
How would you change the music Industry?
Revenue from streaming is a genuine disgrace, people are waking up to it, it will get better I reckon, the negative PR will hopefully make an impact somewhere down the line.
Being from Manchester like us, what do you think makes Manchester the best place for music?
I’m not sure it is. It is the best at telling you it’s the best, the self mythologizing of Mancunians is incredible, Peter Hook dragging Ian Curtis’ cadaver around increasingly smaller venue telling all and sundry about the glory days of the Hacienda, but when was the last great Manchester band? Elbow or Doves at a push maybe, or are they just good bands?
It’s certainly not the likes of Blossoms and their ilk. I mean the Courteeners are still big in Manchester and they are fucking dreadful!.
What has lockdown been like for you?
It’s been pretty cool to be honest, I’ve drank a lot of wine, written some songs and planted lots of flowers……..I was also furloughed so it was quite chilled!
Do you have any other job apart from the band?
Yeah we all work, 17000 streams does not pay the bills I’m afraid….again, labels we are open to debt!!!
What’s Next for You?
Surviving 2020 would be an achievement in itself, musically we have the next 2 EP’s about 80% written, so we will look to go in the studio next year and record, we are very happy in the studio
I would hope the next single would be Spring/Summer 2021, at the moment it may be a song called, ‘Lily’, which is, as I am duty bound to say, ‘the best thing we have ever written’….it is fucking amazing though ?.
Thank you for the interview. You can follow the band below and given them a listen.