The Receiving End of Sirens--on the receiving end of success
By
J. Gordon
7/14/2005 10:14:44 AM

"We never wanted a person who stood out, we don’t want to have a lead singer, or one stand-out guitar. We want to be a band"

Looking for your next favorite band? Look no further than The Receiving End of Sirens. Only just over a year and a half old, this unique, five-piece band from Boston has put out their first full-length record, Between the Heart and the Synapse [Triple Crown Records]. Produced by Matt Squire (Northstar, Thrice) this consistently-strong debut is loaded with sensuous, death-defying instrumentals, gut-wrenching and occasionally beautiful vocals and electronic genius.

But first, let’s get it out of the way and ask, what’s the deal with the name? What does it mean?

“In the baby stage of the band, we heard an ambulance go by and we were thinking, what is on the other end of that?” says drummer Andrew Cook. Andrew is an affable, tall guy who’s all arms and legs—clearly what it takes to pound the skins. Andrew tells the story like he’s reliving it, pulling us into the philosophy: “Whether it be a cop car, ambulance, who’s on the receiving end of sirens?

“It has a double meaning,” adds Brendan Brown, vocals and bass. Brendan is a dead-ringer for actor Ron Livingston, the star of Office Space and Band of Brothers. And Brendan’s as smart as he is good-looking, talented and personable: “Like in Homer’s Odyssey, there are the sirens--the half-bird, half-woman creatures who would sing to sailors and lure them in. There were three of them [in the book], whereas we have three singers.”

The guys don’t see themselves as any part of a specific Boston sound, and as they reel out the names of the big Boston bands that have made it: the Dropkick Murphys, the Bosstones, The Unseen… it’s pretty tough to make a comparison. With so many complicated layers of vocals, instrumental tangos, and little sonic details, The Receiving End of Sirens is doing something altogether different—not just in Boston, but everywhere.

Rhythm guitar/vocalist, Alex Bars, comes over to hang out for a bit after talking with fans, but then he needs to go back upstairs into the club to warm up his voice. Alex’s unusual looks give him an air of another time; yet he’s all 2005, with floppy longish hair and a retro-T. He’s got a face that looks like an Egyptian sculpture, with intense, wide set eyes, and a thin straight nose. Alex seems to be friendly to everyone and has a calm vibe about him.

“I think it is because we all grew up from different areas,” says lead guitarist, Nate Patterson. “We all came from very different musical backgrounds and so, like, we just put together all of our tastes in music and came up with what we have.”

Nate, wearing a tattered baseball cap and a cigarette dangling off his lip, insists on just hanging on the periphery of this interview, listening in. Although he’s not tall, he’s an imposing figure, all muscles and three-day beard---but weak enough that he just can’t help to throw in a comment now and then.

The guys say the writing and construction of their songs is collaborative: Brendan and Casey [Crescenzo, keyboards, computer] write the lyrics; Brendan, Casey, and Alex all do the vocal melodies and harmonies together.

“We never wanted a person who stood out, we don’t want to have a lead singer, or one stand-out guitar. We want to be a band,” says Brendan. “We are definitely going against the grain of what other bands are doing. The trend is that every band has to have a lead singer, or else you aren’t considered a good band. Why have one when you can have three singers or three guitarists?”

But if there was one individual in the band they could credit as the leading force behind the magic, it would be Casey.

“He plays, like, three different instruments at the same time,” says Brendan. “He does all the sequencing stuff, and he is very instrumental in writing the lines.”

“We have been touring ever since our record got finished,” says Brendan. It is definitely fun to be able to do what we love, to not have to work a regular job, or go to school,” he says with a naughty smile.

Before you start thinking it’s all easy-street for these boys now that they’re done recording and are achieving success, take a look at their schedule: The Receiving End of Sirens has been touring for seven months straight. They deftly handled the first eight shows of the Vans Warped Tour in eight different cities and they’re doing the last fifteen cities of the tour in the East and Southeast as well.

“It’s doing pretty well for us so far,” says Andrew. “We are really excited that we are selling any copies at all. It is a dream come true for us to have something out in stores, tour all the time, you know, do what we want to do.”

The guys directly credit this latest Vans Warped Tour to their recent rush of success.

“That’s how we keep building and keep our fan base growing,” says Brendan. “It has been really uplifting to see that we came to St. Louis two months ago and there was probably two kids to see us. Now there’s over a hundred here to see us. It’s definitely a rewarding job when you can physically see how your hard work has paid off.”

“We are trying to get the snowball effect, where when we come through, we get a few more fans to the show every time, and they tell a few friends and it multiplies,” says Andrew.

Brendan says how encouraging Warped has been, not only from the audience reactions, but from the other artists involved.

“We got to Warped Tour and before we were even there, the guys from Atreyu were like, ‘we can’t wait to be out with you guys.’ Underoath was watching us everyday, they already knew the words to some of the songs. It was really, like, crazy, like what is going on,” Brendan says.

“The Underoath guys are so reserved as people, but onstage, they’re like walls of energy,” Andrew adds with a tone of great respect for the band.

“We all had laser tag stuff there, ready to go, but we never ended up playing. We would have schooled them,” interjects Nate with a laugh.

Just picture it: Underoath, Atreyu, The Receiving End of Sirens… running around backstage in deserted amphitheaters and tour buses on the off-hours, in full gear and blowing each other apart in laser tag. Now, that would rock. Almost as much as their music.

 

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