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senses on the making of their debut EP, life on the road, and their love for Evanescence

September 15, 2023

Interview by Jaylen Heady

From Craigslist to The Roxy, lead vocalist Madison Taylor, guitarist Josh Bissell, and drummer Nick Sampson [known as senses] are living proof that pop-rock is not dead.

Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with the Los Angeles-based trio ahead of the release of their debut EP, take me out of here. After our conversation, I was able to catch them in St. Louis, Missouri on the second stop of viral alt-popstar Leah Kate's Super Over North American tour.


Over the phone they're friendly, genuine, and easy to fangirl about Miley Cyrus with. On stage, they're electrifyingly punk. A visual representation of inclusivity, hard rock, and pure artistry, senses put on a show that is raw, authentic, and equivalent to watching three friends jam out together in a garage.

The entire set felt like a celebration of life. Their dazzling energy was palpable as the members jumped around, twirled drumsticks, head-banged, and filmed themselves rocking out for die-hard fans hoping to have their phone borrowed. Through pounding drums and a stunning cry, their opening song gonna make sure had the room thrumming with the kind of quintessential sound that every Warped Tour devotee dreams about. Songs from memory lane blended into songs yet to be released, and at one point the band even covered a staple Y2K pop-punk jam (but I won't reveal their secrets).

The fast-paced set had the audience begging for more, and as they cascaded into the final song, See You Go, I found myself wishing I had a rewind button. Magic was in the air, and while I watched two best friends dancing like nobody was watching and a little girl draped in merchandise gaping as if the band hung the stars, I saw a glimpse of what music is all about.

Find out what senses had to say about approaching 5 years together as a band, their songwriting secrets, and which tour dates they're most looking forward to below and be sure to catch them in a city near you!


I want to start by addressing the fact that you all met on Craigslist! How did you know that it was meant to be when you first met?

Madison: [laughter] "Yeah, we kind of just started jamming out, and then we were like... 'We should probably play a show together.'"

You've been making music together since 2019. How do you feel that your music has evolved since the release of your first single, The Comedown?

Nick: "Um... I just think it's gotten better [laughter]. The first song we put out came out like right as the pandemic started, and we had a batch of songs ready to go. Then the pandemic happened, and we were like: 'We don't want to just sit on these, so let's start releasing them.' But I think compared to then we've gotten really honed in on our craft and gotten better at ideas, how we want to use our instruments, and what we want to say. I just think things have just gotten bigger and more polished."

And over that evolution of almost 5 years now, what has been your favorite memory as a band so far?

All: "Has it been 5 years? Yeah, that's wild."

Madison: "Honestly, the first tour was pretty memorable for me just figuring out– I mean it was my first tour ever, and so it was like: 'Will I make it through? How is this going to be?' I had zero idea what to expect. I probably had an idea, but it was probably going to be wrong. So yeah, I think the whole experience of the rush of it all and how fast it went by, but there are so many little moments and memories in between there."

Nick: "I have to agree with that. I think tour is probably the most memorable, just the sense of like okay we have to see each other every day, and we don't just get to go home to our beds. We have to wake up to each other and do it again. So, yeah definitely tour."

Josh: "The opportunity to actually get to see people enjoy the music firsthand because so much of the band was during the pandemic and stuff."

Kind of circling back to when you first met, who named the band?

M: "I'd say it was a group effort. We all just were throwing out words, and 'senses' was one of them. We all decided that it kind of rolled off the tongue easily, and it was a cool word. It's a little bit phonetic almost or... symmetrical."

N: "It's six letters, and we like even things."

The word is very aesthetic, and I love it. Speaking of aesthetics, it's very cool to see a band in the pop-rock scene fronted by a queer vocalist. How do you think your identity manifests itself in your music and aesthetics, if at all?

M: "Um, it's funny that you said if it does at all because I feel like we don't ever try to write things one way or the other. I like to try to write in a way that anyone could relate to it, and I tend to avoid he/she things. I'll be like you or I. I try to make it a little incognito if that makes sense. Because two out of the three of us are queer, I think there is a certain freedom there. I don't shy away from it– and I don't think any of us shy away from it. It's a part of who two of us are, and it comes out because we feel free in it. But at the same time, I don't think we're chasing that idea either."

N: "Yeah, and I think it's kind of cool because the word 'senses' is this vast word that encapsulates a lot of things, so I think that's what's cool about us as a band. We're not just a gay rock band – there's all of us, we're all in here, and it's kind of cool to show that it doesn't matter. Like we can all do this, and we can all be friends. We kind of get to tap into that community of inclusiveness, and I think that's the grand scheme of things with us."

Wow, that's a really cool way to look at it. So, getting into the EP... can't find the words is the newest track. What does that song mean to you?

M: "That's my favorite song."

It's my favorite too!

N: "Wait! Have you heard it? Oh my god, cool."

M: "It's cool to hear that you like that one too because with those slower songs you never know. A lot of people, especially in our genre, are like, 'Alright, give us the heavy-hitters', which I also love. But that one we hadn't originally intended on writing because we went into the studio earlier in January, and we were like: 'Let's just get a couple ideas out there.' Then a few days later, we walked out with two completely done songs. can't find the words in particular was just so easy to write. I felt so inspired that day, and it was like falling out of me it felt like. So, I just have a really cool personal connection with it. I think it's really relatable to people. I think that's Josh's favorite too, right?"

J: "Yeah."

M: "You know, we love the slow emo."

J: "I think you hit the nail on the head. The slow, powerful ballads can be really beautiful, but it's like: 'Will it resonate?' This one I think really has that, so I'm excited to see how other people enjoy it, and if it slowly becomes everyone else's favorite song."

You started to touch on your songwriting process. Did you have any influences in making this EP sonically?

N: "A lot."

M: "Yeah, I think we all had different influences. In particular as it pertains to the EP itself, we actually try to like... not really listen to things when we write because we just kind of want to see where it goes naturally. But I mean, all three of us have such different, but also similar, influences that I think it's hard not to have those come out as you're writing something. We don't really pick an artist or an album and go, 'Yeah, we kind of want to do this.' We like to stay away from that because we want to see what we come up with together on our own."

Yeah, for sure. You were talking about what it was like writing can't find the words. Were there any other songs that were easiest to write, or were there ones that were the hardest to write?

J: "Probably gonna make sure. Minus the bridge which came later."

N: gonna make sure came together pretty quick, but I also think one last time was slow because we wrote the song, and then we didn't like it the next day. So, we rewrote the entire thing."

M: [laughter] "Which usually is like the kiss of death because you're like, 'Okay you already have this song, and once it's there it's there.' It's really hard to think of it in a different way."

N: one last time is the only one on there that was a song before it was a song.

J: "Yeah, it was kind of very different."

When you're writing a song, how do you know that it's ready to be released?

N: "You never know. No, I feel like there's definitely a long period of time where you're just like, 'I don't think it's done done.' But you have to let go of that, and tell yourself: 'Okay, this needs to be released into the world, and I can sit here all day and pick apart what else I want to add to it and what I want to pull away from it.' But that's being an artist, I think. You never think your work is done, and you sometimes need someone else in the band or a third person to tell you that it's done."

M: "Yeah, honestly, it's like– I think there is a moment though with these songs, this EP especially, where we listened to all of them in an order when the last two were done, and each song had moments where we all looked at each other like: 'Ugh, this is so good.' Each song had an exciting moment where we were like: 'Yes, this is cool.' We all loved where they were at."

J & N: "Yeah, 100 percent."

Do you have any funny stories from making the EP?

M: "When we shot the music video for sleepwalking, it was like 100 degrees outside."

J: "The hottest week in Los Angeles."

M: "We were inside this metal sauna. My wife was going to buy box fans at Target because there was no air conditioning."

N: "We were in this warehouse in Downtown Los Angeles, and we had to play sleepwalking like 75 times."

J: "And when they would use the fog, they had to shut all the doors to make sure there was no air moving anywhere."

N: "And we all decided that we wanted this cool eye makeup on, so we had makeup dripping down our faces."

That sounds horrible!

N: "It was a hard day."

J: "Those fans that we got that day were our first fans." [laughter]

I read that sometimes you take inspiration from cinema when you're writing. Were there any movies that played a part in writing this EP?

N: "I know in the sleepwalking video we definitely were all in our Euphoria kicks. We were like, 'We want Euphoria makeup.'"

M: "Honestly, usually it is specific for me, but I think during this period I hadn't watched a lot, so it came more naturally and personally which is usually harder for me. It's a lot easier for me to get inspiration from a movie or something that insights a lot of emotion."

N: "The gonna make sure video has a big Weekend at Bernie's reference. Our videos are more cinematic." [laughter]

Do you guys have a favorite record right now that our readers would love if they loved your EP?

M: "Ooh."

N: "Let me go to my Spotify."

M: "I really enjoy the new Pierce The Veil record. I've been jamming Emergency Contact so much. I've been really into Bad Omens recently. It's so funny... I've been into a lot of harder rock, but then I'll also jam to MUNA."

J: "I would say Point North just dropped a new record [or they are teasing it], and that's been really cool. Honey Revenge dropped their album, and I feel like they're crushing it, doing their thing, so want to give props to them."

N: "I've been listening to the new ILLENIUM album, so that's been my repeat. And Måneskin, they just dropped their new song."

J: "Miley just dropped a new track."

M: "I still love Plastic Hearts though."

Oh, I know! Plastic Hearts was the best.

M: "Yeah, I'll jam that any day."

N: "Also, Doja Cat's Paint the Town Red, sorry, period."

J: "The new Megan and Cardi B..."

N: "I'm so excited for Bongos."

If you could collaborate with anybody, or any of the artists that you just mentioned, who would be the dream?

M: "Honestly, Miley would be a dream. P!nk. Hayley Williams would be insane. A little Evanescence feature perhaps."

N: "Big Evanescence fan."

J: "On a writing stance, maybe Ryan Tedder."

M: "Dream dream would be Stevie Nicks for me. That would be mind-blowing."

I'm curious... who were your first concerts?

N: "First band I saw live was Evanescence."

M: "I think mine was No Doubt."

J: "Mine was Backstreet Boys, Black & Blue."

M: "It could also be that for me too, or *NSYNC, I can't remember."

I wish I would have been alive back then for that.

All: [laughter]

So, talking about tour… you're about to open for Leah Kate and BOYS LIKE GIRLS for select dates this fall. Which song(s) are you most excited to perform live?

M: "I personally really like gonna make sure. We open up with it, and it brings the energy up right away. It's really fun to play. It sets the attitude for the show, and it's high energy."

N: "And sleepwalking. It's a really fun one to play because there's so much space in there to have fun, move around, and do tricks – and you know... perform."

J: "Uh, one last time because it's like our first time really playing it live for people, so that one's going to be super fun. And there might be a little surprise in there too somewhere... we'll see."

Do you do any covers?

M: "We might or might not. We don't disclose that information."

N: "We're still deciding. We have a couple that we have done–"

M: "We're making the final cuts this week." [laughter]

N: "What do you think, should we?"

I think you definitely should!

J: "I'm team should as well."

Do you have any tour must-haves?

N: "Noise-cancellation AirPods!"

All: "100 percent."

M: "I like to listen to murder podcasts while I drive the RV."

J: "And a personal fan because we like to be mindful of the planet and not run the generator for a thousand hours a day."

N: "It gets hot in there! We need our own personal fan when it's too tough." [laughter]

Are there any cities that you're most excited to see or come back to?

N: "I'm excited to go back to St. Louis because we're playing at the Old Rock House which is a very cool venue."

J: "I'm excited to go back to Nashville. I thought The Basement was a really cool venue. Really cool vibes. And I'm excited to hit Boston for the first time because that's kind of my hometown area."

M: "Yeah, Boston because I've never been there."

N: "Honestly, I'm most excited for all the not-big cities because those tend to be the crowds with the most energy. In Los Angeles or New York City there's options to do that night, but in the cities not on the coast, that's the thing that's going on in town. People have fun, and it makes it so much fun for us."

J: "We get to feed off that energy, and the show just kicks up to a whole other level."

I totally feel that. I'm from a super small town, so if I come to St. Louis for a show, it's a major event.

M: "Yeah, that's so cool."

Aside from all the exciting tour news, what’s on the horizon for senses?

M: "Sleeping for a while. Then, trying to stay on a schedule of releasing music. We've got a couple of things up our sleeve that we're getting ready to go. Then just back to the studio, back to the grind, then trying to plan some stuff out for early next year."

J: "Ideally next year we'd like to drop another EP, and we've got some songs that we've been working on getting figured out. Like, what's gonna make the cut and what's not for the next thing."

I'm so excited to hear it all! I am definitely a fan, so I'll be looking out for that.

Listen to the new EP on all platforms here.

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