With their debut album about to be released on vinyl for the very first time, While She Sleeps’ Mat Welsh looks back on the making of ‘This Is The Six’.
Dead Behind The Eyes
“This song is an explanation of how we can feel alienated by the world around us, the overpowering negativity of the world around us can leave you feeling very lost, but can also make you strive to find purpose. Sometimes we need to see what we don’t want to be, in order to know what we do want to be. When we wrote this song, I remember feeling like the world was against us and was filled with aggression and the need to rebel against it.”
“I grew up in a catholic school, although I was never religious. It was just the closest school to where we lived. The majority of kids in school were religious and I remember feeling completely alienated by the teachers for not having a religious background or parents. They pushed the idea of God & Jesus down our necks and never mentioned any other religions, so it always felt biased and overly forced that ‘they knew the only real one’ & that was correct. The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth & this song is about that.”
Satisfied In Suffering
“During this period of our lives, we really felt like we had nothing to lose & nothing else to live for.
We had no money & all our efforts were aimed at the band and the music we were making. This song was a way of describing the lifestyle we had accepted to live in, for the commitment of the band.”
“This song is a celebration of everything that came through music, the opportunities it granted us, the connections and relationships it created. We felt so lucky to travel and experience the world all because of the music we were making, so this song was a description of how we felt & a dedication to the moments & memories we were lucky enough to experience thanks to music.”
Our Courage, Our Cancer
“I remember Loz coming to practice one day with the lyrics to this song, he had written them with his grandparents in mind but at the same time our bassist Aaran had lost his Mum to cancer. We wanted to write a song that helped people through times like this, something that made you feel supported & loved, even if you felt alone. We know that music can help people in rough times & wanted to make something that would speak to people who needed it.”
This Is The Six
“During the writing of the album, I remember feeling a sense of community and togetherness in our fanbase that felt really special. The shows had a certain energy about them & it really felt like a place where people could come and feel accepted, comfortable & safe. My first tattoo was a tally of the number 6, to symbolise the letters in the word ‘Sleeps’ and then we started to imagine the singular tally was a symbol of the fans & the five tally was a symbol of us. The sixth member of the band is the fans and this is a celebration of the community that was growing around us.”
“This song was named after the place where we recorded the album, Chapel Studios in North Lincolnshire, The experience had been so special to us as it was the first time in a real studio. We wanted to create a breathing space in the album & a moment to collect your thoughts. This was that.”
“We actually wrote this song as a standalone single after we released the ‘North Stands For Nothing’ & had recorded it in our own studio. When we went to the studio for ‘This Is The Six’, we decided to re-record it now we had the opportunity to make it sound better & include it in the album. It’s an angry song & I remember writing it about the wrongs that we felt so surrounded by, the state of the country, and the lack of responsibility in our government. It felt like a protest song to remind us that no matter how powerful the machine might seem, the people have the power.”
Until The Death
“This song was written as an ode to alternative culture, As a kid we all found heavy music, punk & subcultures that gave us purpose, inspiration & a place to feel at home. Although looking intimidating or unwelcoming, we all found sanctuary in this kinda of world. ‘I put my trust in darkness, to teach me how to see.’”
Love At War
“We wrote this song about our grandparents, we’re all of a generation whose grandparents went to war or lived through it. I have a suitcase of letters from my grandad to my grandmother during WW2 & would always read them imagining the world they were in, something that feels so far and alien from ours today. The courage it must have taken & the weight of leaving home with the unknowing of never coming back. We would always discuss these subjects together & we decided to write a song about it, dedicated to them.”
The Plague Of A New Age
“This is a reflection of the world surrounding us when we made the record, it’s an angry song & almost a reflection of the topics discussed in the song before. I always loved how the chorus had a really subconscious ’80s pop hook within it, whether anyone else ever noticed that I have no idea! Sean had this riff kicking around since the start of the writing process & we always knew it would be a bouncy one.”
“We wanted to end the record with a nod back to our first release – ‘The North Stands For Nothing’. A way of acknowledging where we had come from, at the end of the first full-length album we’d ever made. I remember recording the vocals in Chapel Studios and all singing together, it felt really special. It feels like a very true WSS way of closing the album.”
‘This Is The Six’ will be released on vinyl on September 22 via Music For Nations. Get more info here.