We turn to music when we want to feel. Whether it be happiness, pain, love or loss, music helps us cope in ways like nothing else can. LA rock trio Sir Sly can vouch for that with their latest album, Don’t You Worry, Honey, out now via Interscope Records. The album, which took three years to complete, includes lyrics written from personal experiences of hardship as the band aimed to combine pain-stricken words with music that is uplifting and fun. We spoke with Sir Sly—consisting of Landon Jacobs, Jason Suwito, and Hayden Coplen—to discuss the growth of the band and the process behind their emotional album.
You guys released your sophomore album last summer and, similar to your 2014 debut album, You Haunt Me, it has this fun, electric sound that is different than what you hear from other artists. How do you think the band has grown since its inception?
Landon Jacobs: We made songs coming from all different angles on this album. We worked with new gear, new subject matter, and we wrote a lot of songs. Sometimes growth feels like a bit of an illusion, but I’m immensely proud of the writing relationship that the three of us have together and the respect we have for each other’s creativity. It’s difficult to pinpoint all the ways that making this album was different than making the last one, but we certainly exhibited a bit more patience during the process than we had last time around.
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Don’t You Worry, Honey and the importance of its title?
This album is one half diary-entry-type lyricism, mixed with a little bit of self-soothing and confidence boosting for myself. The three years we spent making Don’t You Worry, Honey were the most difficult of my life. I went through a divorce and my mom died of brain cancer, but in spite of the shit circumstances, I didn’t want to immortalize it as a time of wallowing and self-pity. The album title comes from the ending lyrics of the song “Altar,” which I wrote from my mom’s perspective, as a way of reminding myself that worry is directionless and purposeless, and that there are little pieces of joy waiting to be discovered even in the midst of pain and grief.
Though a personal album lyrically, the overall vibe of isn’t a dreary one. Instead, it’s actually more uplifting. Did you find it difficult to take those personal experiences and transform them into songs that make people want to get up and dance?
It was extremely difficult at times, and very simple some days. I spent some of my saddest nights dancing to Prince alone in my apartment or doing dishes, with headphones on, dancing to Tame Impala. Dance doesn’t necessarily live apart from grief and sadness in my mind. What dancing did for me was offer a bit of levity amidst the struggle, and I wanted the album to mirror those real life experiences so that we could bring that paradox to our live shows.
Jason Suwito: It never felt like a struggle, it was always very natural. Landon has this gift of putting words to music really quickly, and there was never a thing of second guessing the lyrics he was putting to the music.
Hayden Coplen: The way the studio was set up we had three separate rooms and we’re all sort of working individually and then we come together, but there are multiple moments when Landon was coming from the piano room and he’d be like ‘let me sing this’ and the lyrics were just gut wrenching and it’s a powerful moment. It’s the closest thing that Jason and I get to hearing a Sir Sly song as a stranger. That’s always a magical moment when Landon is willing to go there, which he often is.
Your two latest music videos for “&Run” and “High” have a cool, artistic vibe to them and include some fun choreography. Is video concept something you guys work on collectively as a band? What is the process behind it?
LJ: While we were writing the album, I started to brainstorm visual concepts with my close friend Kevin, who ended up directing both the music videos. After months of writing treatments and scrapping them, doing test footage, and trying to dig at what we wanted visually, I had a bit of a daydream about a shot idea for what eventually snowballed into the “High” treatment. The “High” video is basically a smattering of vignettes that explore a psychedelic version of what it’s like to be a lead singer and to be consistently propped up by the other two guys in the band. The “&Run” video is supposed to be a fantastical sort of day in the life of being a band. Hayden and Jason graciously let me control a lot of that process, and they were fully on board when I came to them with the idea to include choreography.
HC: We worked hard and we practiced a lot, though it only sort of looks like we practiced a lot, but we worked to not embarrass ourselves.
Fans can catch Sir Sly’s energetic performance as the band tours in support of K. Flay on her Every Where Is Some Where tour.
A version of this interview ran in the current print issue of Substream Magazine