Kellin Quinn of Sleeping with Sirens looks back on his friendship with MGK, and ahead to new music

Plus, find out about Kellin's involvement in a new 'Battle of the Bands' TV competition show...
By , Audacy

Audacy's Kevan Kenney had the pleasure of speaking with Sleeping With Sirens singer Kellin Quinn this week on Twitch, getting some details about his collaboration with Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker on MGK's single "love race," his involvement in a brand new "Battle of the Bands" television competition series, and -- most importantly for Sirens fans -- new music arriving in June with potential tour dates to follow.

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Jumping right into the exciting news, Kellin will be performing hosting duties along with music journalist Caity Babs on a new musical competition series in production with Hit Parader called No Cover. In essence a "Battle of the Bands," and an alternative to shows like American Idol and The Voice, this one will focus on artists and bands who compete with their own original material.

The series which has not found a home on network TV or streaming services will be judged by shock-rocker Alice Cooper, Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale, Bush’s Gavin RossdaleBishop Briggs, and Animals as Leaders guitarist Tosin Abasi. Rock 'n Roll fount of knowledge Matt Pinfield will also be on hand to provide hosting duties. Filmed at the Troubadour in L.A., bands chosen from an open call will go head to head for bragging rights and cash prizes.

"Some of these bands have never played a show for, like, ever," Kellin says, "some of them haven't played a show in a year and a half because of COVID and that's their first gig back -- on the stage in front of these legendary judges. It was cool to be part of live music again. To watch it made me jealous; I wanted to get on stage and play myself."

Moving along to the Machine Gun Kelly collaboration "love race" that Kellin was a part of along with Travis Barker following the success of MGK's latest album, Tickets To My Downfall. Released in April of 2021, Kellin provides backing vocals and harmonies on the single that continues along Kelly's sharpened pop-punk edge.

Kellin, who has worked with MGK in the past, was surprised by the offer to join. "I just get a phone call from him every once in a while, and when Machine Gun Kelly calls you pick up," Kellin says. "He just said he had a song that he wanted me to sing on... he's like, 'do whatever you want,' so I went in and went HAM with it. I sang a bunch of harmonies, a bunch of octaves, and things like that."

Kelly and Kellin met back in 2013 on the Warped Tour, after which they each traded features on each other songs -- Sleeping With Sirens' "Alone," and MGK's "Swing Life Away" inspired by the Rise Against track. Kellin explains their meeting saying, "here was this tall rapper guy skateboarding around with a mohawk. He came up to me one day and was like, 'hey you're in that one band that has that really long song title." After giving him some titles, Kelly finally recognized "If I'm James Dean, You're Audrey Hepburn," and asked Kellin if he saw him in the pit during their performance. Laughing, Kellin says "I was like, 'No! I feel like I would have seen you dude if you were in the pit, because you're so tall and different looking.' But that's just how we started talking, and then he sent me a Twitter DM... the rest is kind of history."

Part of that history is the story of MGK flying out to the U.K. to shoot the video for "Alone" with Sirens. Kellin explains how Kelly got off the plane and was in search for weed, when he saw a man across the street who looked like the right guy to ask. He says Kelly didn't realize the cars drive on the opposite side of the road there and got hit by a double-decker bus. "He got hit by a bus, the bus driver gets out and is yelling at him because it was his fault he was crossing the street," Kellin says. "At the hospital," he adds, "he didn't have a concussion, no broken bones or anything. I came to the video shoot the next day, he's like, 'Yo, I got hit by a bus yesterday.' We were laughing thinking he was kidding. A couple of weeks later he has a stick figure and the bus tattooed on him."


Another piece of history between Kelly and Kellin; he remembers MGK driving around London with Kellin's mother, wife, and daughter who were in town for their concert. When out of nowhere Kelly asked them, "Yo, so did Kellin get picked on or bullied in school." Kellin says, "he thought that I was one of those kids that got beat up or something at school because of our music."

"They were like, 'no, I don't think so,'" Kellin says. "Then he gets to the show and he was asking one of the guys in my band to teach him how to scream outside, because he wanted to learn how... It was just really funny hearing him out there getting these screaming lessons. He's just a fan of all things music, and he gets so amped about it you can't help but be excited with him."


Sleeping With Sirens have mastered the art of longevity, with over a decade behind them as a group that has seen success with fans listening to them in their formative years. Without getting stuck in nostalgia, Kellin says "trial and error" and experimentation has kept them and their fans on their toes over the years. "We were on a major label," he explains, "and we thought 'major label music' would work for us and it didn't. I think what we found works best for us is to be genuine and to make music that we feel resonates with our fans, and also with us. Our last record could attest to that; we got back to the point where we just had fun making a record again. It just so happens that it kind of put us back in full force."

"We're going in to make a new record now," Kellin adds, "and it's kind of the same thing. We just want to make sure we have fun, and we have a lot of things that we want to try tone and sound-wise but for the most part we're sticking to our lane." As for a timetable for this release, "we have a new single coming June 1," he says. "The rest of the record we're going in to finish on June 29." Tour dates are still iffy, as with all artists due to COVID-19 restrictions, but there is some good news to share. "I think Fall is when we're expecting to go back out," says Kellin.

Watch the full interview above with Kevan and Kellin, and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists right here on Audacy.

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