Syren (band)

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Syren, first band photograph, Oct 2006.jpg
Syren in 2006 in Detroit, Michigan
Background information
Origin United Kingdom, United States
Genres Folk rock
Years active 2006 - 2014
Associated acts
Past members
  • Erin Bennett
  • Joanne Heeley
  • Amanda Smith-Skinner

Syren were an alternative/Rock trio formed in The United States by award-winning,[1] singer-songwriter Erin Bennett and ex-Rockbitch[2] rhythm section Amanda Smith-Skinner (bass) and Jo Heeley (drums). The band released one debut album, 'Dehumanized'[3] which was followed by successful USA, UK and European tours and gained much praise in music press. A second, unreleased album 'Something Has To Separate' was shelved due to Jo's death in 2012 and the subsequent retirement of Amanda soon after. Erin reformed the band with an all new line-up for a handful of one-off shows supporting 60s Prog-Rock band Hawkwind and performed a final 'farewell' show on January 16, 2014.


Original Members
Erin Bennett (Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Lead Vocals, Songwriter)
Amanda Smith-Skinner (Fretless Bass, Electric Upright)
Jo Heeley (Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals) (2nd, Nov. 1972 - 11th, Jan. 2012)

2013-2014 Touring Members
Erin Bennett (Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Lead Vocals, Songwriter)
Dog (Bass)
Suna Dasi (Backing Vocals)
Nikki Fay (Keyboards)
Anna Fraser (Drums)

Formation and 'Dehumanized' album[edit]

Syren Dehumanized Album Art
Syren Dehumanized Album Art Work

Syren was formed in 2006 by singer/songwriter Erin Bennett and British rhythm duo Amanda Smith-Skinner and Jo Heeley. In the first 2 years of being together the band had played over 200 shows across the United States, mainly focused in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Syren's rising popularity in the U.S. underground music scene and the demand for copies of their singles, 'Dehumanized' and 'Seasons' called for them to record their debut album at 'Song Garden Studios' in Detroit, Michigan. It was at 'Song Garden Studios' that the trio had the opportunity to sit in as session players for various artists from around the world including the likes of Michael Quatro, brother of renowned bass player/singer, Suzi.
After the completion of the album, Syren were quickly booked up and toured across the mid-west and southern, U.S. to promote its release.

UK and European tour[edit]

Erin Bennett live at Bibelot, Dordrecht.
Erin Bennett live in Dordrecht, The Netherlands

After performing throughout the United States promoting the release of their debut album, 'Dehumanized,' Syren were offered a tour by various agents in the UK.,[4][4] But it was their many performances booked for The Netherlands which swayed the decision to 'pack up and move' to England.

In May 2008, Syren played their last U.S. dates and moved to the UK where they based themselves for a year. During the remainder of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, Syren played countless venues around the UK including Nottingham Rock City and Manchester Academy supporting 60s rock band Hawkwind.

Jo of Syren plays at Bibelot, Dordrecht.
Jo plays live in Dordrecht, The Netherlands

The band's first tour of the Netherlands came in the summer of 2008 where they were booked to play over 13 shows across the country. Syren received //much press throughout the Netherlands[6] all of which praised the group saying, 'The balance between these three and the grand ensemble that results from it, and again interspersed with the right dose of spontaneity, provides an extraordinary musical spectacle that keeps surprising.'-RTV Rijnmond[7]

Amanda of Syren plays at Bibelot, Dordrecht.
Amanda plays live in Dordrecht, The Netherlands

Throughout 2009 the band played hundreds of shows in all regions of the Netherlands, supporting some big Dutch and American acts (The Madd, Tony Spinner) and playing large venues such as Dordrecht's Bibelot, Acedemica Big River's Festival '09, Waerdse Tempel and the Noordzee Zomer Festival in Katwijk aan Zee. Syren were described by RTV Rijnmond's Ronald Van Oudheusden as being '3 Hard Rock Chickies' after their performance on Live Uit Lloyd and were featured in a 3-page article in the Netherlands' Gitaar Plus Magazine.[8] With Syren's growing popularity and attention in the press by 2010 Syren had relocated to The Netherlands where they based themselves and reached out to nearby territories such as Germany and Belgium.

Second studio album, 'Something Has To Separate'[edit]

After moving to The Netherlands in 2010 Syren set to work on their 2nd studio album at Nemesis Studios in Den Helder. The new album, titled 'Something Has To Separate' would include 10 original songs written and produced by Syren and would take listeners on a journey through the pendulous emotions of love unrequited.

The title track, 'Something Has To Separate' is one of many songs on the album featuring a new electric guitar sound by Bennett which takes Syren in a new direction from their debut album which featured only acoustic guitars.

After all of the instruments had been recorded and the tracks produced by Jo and Erin, Syren once again relocated back to the United Kingdom where they set up 'Sapphic Studios'[9] in Scotland. There Erin laid down the album's vocals takes and recorded and arranged the strings played by Australian singer/songwriter and cellist, Rebecca Wright for the song 'Special.'

By August 2011, the album was being mixed by Erin and 'The Beast' at Bitch Studios, Scotland.

Cancer diagnosis and death of drummer Jo[edit]

In August 2011 Jo was diagnosed with metastatic Inflammatory Breast Cancer and received treatment by Doctors from the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow. As Jo's wife, Erin put mixing Syren's 'Something Has To Separate' album on hold in order to support Jo. On January 11, 2012, Joanne Heeley died after her short but intense battle with the Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

In April 2012, Erin released a solo track entitled, 'Never Give Up The Fight'[10] which was recorded, produced and mixed by her at Sapphic Studios and features cello by Rebecca Wright. The track was released for download only on April 11, 2012. All of the proceeds from downloads are being donated to Breast Cancer Care.[11] 'Never Give Up The Fight' went on to secure Erin a nomination in the Scottish New Music Awards for 'Songwriter of the Year,' an award which Erin won on September 2 at the awards ceremony in Glasgow.[1]

After Jo's death Amanda decided not to continue with Syren, feeling that her contribution to music had been made. Erin's dedication to Syren's friends and fans made her reform the band with new musicians. The new line up was debuted on June 2, 2012[12] live at Queen's Hall, Edinburgh once again supporting Hawkwind. After another show supporting Hawkwind on March 30, 2013 and a handful of small Edinburgh shows, Erin said 'good-bye' to Syren in a farewell show at Henry's Cellar Bar in Edinburgh on January 16, 2014. Erin continues to record and tour under her own name.[13]


'Frankie Miller Songwriter of the Year 2012' - Scottish New Music Awards (Nominated for 'Never Give Up The Fight')


External links[edit]