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An Interview With Cincinnati Based Band Sign Language

One of my favorite releases of 2023 has to be the debut record Madison & Floral from Cincinnati based band Sign Language. They released this nine track record in April of this year via Sunday Drive Records and have been making waves ever since, only going up and up in followers and support. Madison & Floral represents hope, loss, relationships, love, and uncertainty. It connects them to home in Ohio.

Track three on the record, “Abide” is one of my favorite songs of the year, actually. It’s a song about a failed “situationship” with back-and-forth aching and soothing vocals lead the track, revolving around this loving, yet bittersweet memory.

With a sound inspired by bands like Turnover and Title Fight, this band will attract many listeners. On the song “Crumbling,” slower guitars and harmonies lead the song while on “Only You” and “The Nothing,” the band leans on their post-hardcore roots, creating the most driving and heaviest songs the band has yet to make.

Sign Language has mastered their songwriting on Madison & Floral and it leaves me excited for what may come next. When I saw they were playing at Flyover Festival this year, my jaw just about hit the floor! I knew I had to make sure they were included in our interview series in support of the festival.

Continue reading to learn more about the band, this debut album, the song “Abide,” working with Sunday Drive Records, and so much more!

Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions! Introduce Sign Language to our readers! If you had to describe the band in three words, what would those words be?

Of course and thank you for asking! Sign Language is a guitar music band from Cincinnati, Ohio. I think three words to describe us would be emotional, silly, and passionate! Our band is just full of people who really are excited for the music we make!

Madison & Floral has been out for a few months now! The reaction to the record, from my perspective, has been incredible. I can’t even imagine how you all must feel, especially with it being your debut album release! Talk to us a little about that.

The reaction to M&F was truly the most insane thing to me, I never expected anyone out of our own hometown to listen to our music let alone our record being sold in the UK! I can’t thank the SDR team and the rest of our friends from all over for the support. It still doesn’t feel real sometimes. We are very thankful and very lucky and it feels so incredible to hear so many folks say they love and relate to the record.

When writing Madison & Floral what was some inspiration that you turned to? Whether that is a fellow band (past/present) or a book, movie, tv show, etc., what things were you inspired by?

Our writing process for M&F spanned over the entirety of our time as a band so I think we have pulled a lot of influences from a lot of different things we have been through as well as different bands over the last few years, it goes without saying though bands like Title Fight, Turnover, and any original RFC (Run For Cover) bands have been our biggest inspirations. I personally take a lot of inspiration from Mazzy Star as well!

“Abide” is one of my favorite tracks on the record. To me, it feels like a personal song about a possible relationship, especially with lyrics like, “you said you needed time // you wasted mine.” What was the writing/creativity process for the track? What exactly does the song mean?

You are absolutely correct! Abide was written about my first failed “situationship” as an adult. I looked at that person like they were the brightest person in the world even though they were not so nice to me. That’s where the line “when it’s all said and done, I still think you’re the sun” came from. I wrote the lyrics for that at like 3 am in my bedroom staying up crying all dramatic over this person. I eventually got to play it live in front of them as well, it felt like a crazy movie moment.

You released a music video for “The Nothing” which looks to be clips from a bunch of different moments of you being a band. Are these related to the meaning of “The Nothing” in any way? Talk about all these different clips and what the video might mean to you as a band.

We originally had a whole story idea planned for “The Nothing” music video but we ended up getting signed to SDR and they wanted a music video for our first single off the record and we thought it’d be a good idea to showcase our personalities and what Sign Language as a band looks like. We took all the highlight clips from our favorite shows and put them together as well as a few silly clips of us just hanging out! It has so many of our favorite hometown friends in it as well so it is truly a special video to us.

Watch the music video for “The Nothing” below.

This album was released via Sunday Drive Records, one of my favorite labels at the moment. It truly feels like the perfect fit. Do you feel the same? How has it been being part of the label and working with them on this release?

Thank you, SDR has been one of the most special labels to me since I discovered them and I feel like they really have helped shape my music taste personally. It was a dream of mine to be a part of SDR and I will never forget how crazy it felt when I got the notification they emailed us back and wanted to set up a Zoom call. I couldn’t ask for a better label to be a part of, Jonathan who is the SDR mastermind has been SO good to us and we wouldn’t have made half the noise we have without him. SDR is truly a family we are so lucky to be a part of.

What are some other recent releases on SDR that you are loving?

It is so hard to pinpoint because all my favorite bands are on this label, Anklebiter released their EP and that will forever hold a special spot with me. Squint’s new full length is also on repeat every day! I also have listened to the All Under Heaven/Glare/Leaving Time split every day since it was released, I truly think that’s the best split of all time!!

You have been playing a lot of shows as of recently, too. Some even with Squint, a fellow SDR band! How have these shows been going? Share a fun story/memory from a recent show!

We just recently got back from our tour with Squint and it was truly the most beautiful and inspiring thing ever. Two of the shows were sold out and we got to travel the furthest from home we have ever been! We played a show in Denton, TX and there were kids up front singing our words back to us I had never seen before in my life, it really made me feel like we were doing something so special.

What have been some of your favorite releases of 2023 (they don’t need to be hardcore)!

Ooo first few that come to mind that aren’t SDR bands because I already gushed about them (hehe).

Gel – Only Constant

Gumm – Slogan Machine

Spaced – Boomerang/Cycle Killer

Horse Jumper of Love – Heartbreak Rules

Narrow Head – Moments of Clarity

As you may know, this interview is also in support of your upcoming performance at Flyover in Tulsa – which we are so stoked on. How does it feel to be included on such an amazing lineup?

It doesn’t feel real still, this has been a bucket list fest for me to play and it’s super full circle for us as a band. I met Jonathan from SDR for the first time last year at the fest as well as so many of my current best friends and we get to play with pretty much every one of my favorite active hardcore bands at the moment. It is really an honor and we couldn’t be more excited!!

Do you have anything else planned for around the time of the festival? What are you excited to explore (any specific restaurants, shops, etc.)?

We are actually touring the week after the fest with Better Off, Daisyhead, and Valleyheart so we just decided we are going to go out to the fest for the whole weekend and just really enjoy our time with our friends and all the bands as well!

What other bands on the 2023 lineup are you excited about?

I personally cannot wait to see Downward, I have been wanting to see them for a long time. I also am in disbelief over playing with Twitching Tongues and God’s Hate that is the COOLEST thing ever. Sunday will be a solid buddy rock block with Squint, Prevention, Anklebiter, Gumm and Sign Language just back to back!!

If you had to share one last thing with us, what would that be?

All I can ever think to say is if you aren’t already, start going to shows. I can’t tell you enough how much hardcore/diy music in general has changed my life. I have found so much reason and community and my forever friends in this. Thank you to all of our friends who continue to listen to us and support us along the way, we are so lucky to be here. <3

Watch a video of Sign Language performing earlier this year in Columbus, Ohio!

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