Hot off of the release of their début album “The Noise War”, Brooklyn-based rock band Lion In The Mane is fast becoming one of the top acts to watch in 2015.
Having toured the country multiple times during their career, with showcases at CMJ, SXSW, Florida Music Festival, and Launch Music Festival, Lion In The Mane are now on tour with Uh-Huh Baby Yeah and Dreamcatcher on a spring tour that began on March 7th in Pittsburgh, PA and is due to complete on April 4th in New York, NY.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Lion In The Mane before the start of their US tour. Check out our interview below:
AltWire [Mattison Keesey]: Congrats on writing your first full-length album! Tell me about the writing process.
Andrew Lynch [Lion In The Mane]: The majority of the album was written by Jon, Dmitry, Johnny, and original bass player Henry D’Allacco over the course of two or three years prior to me and Zach joining the band.
Jon Masters [Lion In The Mane]: Yeah we spent a lot of time writing songs that sounded like they belonged on the same record. Everyone in the band has different tastes in music so that really makes for a wide variety of ideas. We wrote at least a hundred ideas for this record. Some of the songs are older than songs on our EP “The Way We’re Wired”.
AW: I’ve read that while recording ‘The Noise War’, you guys explored a variety of musical genres and influences. Can you give us a little more insight on what your influences were/are? What other genres did you explore that had an impact on your album?
Zach Falkow [Lion In The Mane]: Popular music nowadays is so diverse when it comes to genre, so we did our best to incorporate elements of some of them into our sound. The synths on “Waiting” definitely give that song a dancey feel. And the ambient, murky vibe from “Pianos vs Mandolins” kind of reminds me of a manically depressed Sigur Ros.
AL [Lion In The Mane]: I know something we like to do is draw from many different styles to make our sound. On “The Noise War” there are dance music aspects mixed with classic singer-songwriter styles all blended with hard rock and a little bit of punk. Personally, I come from a classic rock-style background so I tried to bring that to the table the best I could.
JM [Lion In The Mane]: We just incorporated elements of rock, pop, punk, hardcore and I think when Andrew joined we added some classic rock stuff in the mix. Dmitry did a lot of cool synth stuff in the record. We messed with some minor chords which is something different for me. Songs like bright sunny and California on fire have some cool rhythmic stuff going on.
AW: Lion In The Mane’s sound has been compared to 30 Seconds To Mars, Angels And Airwaves, and The Dangerous Summer. Would you say any of these bands have been influential to your music? What other bands are you influenced by?
ZF [Lion In The Mane]: I know stylistically we’re akin to those bands. We actually worked with AJ from The Dangerous Summer on the song “Static,” which he also sings on. Beyond that, I think we definitely draw influence from bands like Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab for Cutie. Both of those bands write music based on simple layers on top of each other, which end up sounding enormous, and we try to use that approach to our own stuff as much as possible.
JM [Lion In The Mane]: I think AJ from The Dangerous Summer is a great lyricist. I honestly haven’t listened to much 30 Seconds to Mars, but I saw them live once and they put on a great show. I’m influenced by The Counting Crows a good bit and the Angels and Airwaves reference is one we get a lot. As a kid, I lived Blink 182, so there’s some Tom shining through here and there I’m sure. Dmitry’s delays bring a lot of that style to the table as well. It’s kind of like U2 though really.
AW: How would you compare ‘The Noise War’ to your debut EP ‘The Way We’re Wired’? How did the writing process for ‘The Noise War’ differ from that of the EP?
Dmitry Libman [Lion In The Mane]: We’ve had a long time to write this album. A few of these songs have been around since we wrote ‘The Way We’re Wired’. I think what was different in the way we wrote ‘The Noise War’ was that we were more open to different techniques and different sounds. We utilized a lot of synths and pads on this album and I think that’s definitely a departure from our EP which was more of a straight-up pop-rock album.
JM [Lion In The Mane]: I personally think this album sounds like we grew up a bit. It’s more polished than the EP and its more diverse.
AW: Lion In The Mane recently held an album release on Feb 21st at Arlene’s Grocery in New York, NY, just a few days before the actual release date of the album. How did fans react to the early release of the album? Have you received any positive, or negative, feedback thus far?
ZF [Lion In The Mane]: People seemed to really respond well to the record. A lot of the songs had been in our set for a long time already, so the people who had seen us before were familiar with them. But it was crazy for us to hear them singing the songs back at us during the show. Super cool and super humbling as well.
AL [Lion In The Mane]: The album release show was a great success, despite the weather getting terrible the morning of the show. We had a lot of our core fans plus some new ones that really received the album well and enjoyed the show. We played the new album front to back in order, which is something we likely won’t do again for some time so everyone in attendance got a little treat!
JM [Lion In The Mane]: I was excited that the show still sold out because the weather was crazy that night. I remember showing up and sitting there thinking “no ones going to come” the street lights were going out and snow was coming down! We handed out a copy of the record to everyone that came that night and a ton of people have said really nice things about the record. Also, some reviews have gone up lately and some kids have been saying really great things about it online as well. I really appreciate the feedback and the time that people took to dive into our songs.
AW: Do you feel everyone in the band puts an equal amount of everything into the work, or do you all have more specific roles that you fall into?
ZF [Lion In The Mane]: I think everyone in the band has their own forté when it comes to furthering the band’s success. I take on most of the booking and business liaison duties. We call Johnny our in-house film department. Dmitry is a super talented engineer and mixer, and writer, so demoing is super easy with him. Andrew has taken on merch responsibilities and keeping track of that stuff…and Jon just gets to be the lead singer and look pretty (while writing the songs).
AL [Lion In The Mane]: Yeah at this level we all take different roles to try to minimize outsourcing and to make things easier in this DIY era of music we are in. The goal is to have assistance with anything other than the direct writing, recording, and playing part, but for now, we all wear a couple different hats. In this day and age it is almost necessary for a band to be self-sufficient in that way.
JM [Lion In The Mane]: I’m glad that Andrew and Zach have joined because I was getting a little jaded. Before them, Dmitry and I were doing so much so it’s cool to get to sit back a bit and just focus on the music for now.
AW: You released the single, ‘Waiting’, off the album. Why did you choose to release this single over any other songs on the album?
ZF [Lion In The Mane]: We felt like Waiting had a pretty universal appeal as a song. It has a dancey upbeat element that brings it into the pop realm, while maintaining our big-guitars-and-vocals driven sound that makes it uniquely ours. Honestly I just think it’s a song that has something for everyone to gravitate to.
JM [Lion In The Mane]: Yeah it’s a poppy track that just is kind of a sum up of the rest of the record.
AW: Going back in time, your band was once called ‘The Atlas’. What influenced the name change? Why was Lion In The Mane chosen over anything else?
JM [Lion In The Mane]: The Atlas was just a place holder really. We performed under the name once and never really cared much for the name. There were other bands with similar names and we never really branded ourselves as the Atlas. Soon after that first show Dmitry and I agreed on Lion in the Mane as the name. We wanted something strong that said something and it really spoke to me.
AW: Lion In The Mane is about to embark on a tour with Uh-Huh Baby Yeah and Dreamcatcher. Have you worked with either of these bands in the past? What made you choose these bands to tour with?
AL [Lion In The Mane]: We have gone on past tours similar to this one, but this time we wanted to be smarter and more efficient so we decided to go out with a package as opposed to just us on the bill. Uh Huh Baby Yeah was a band that Zach had a connection with, and they just came of Warped Tour so we have hopes that we can work together and build fans together. Dreamcatcher are friends of ours, they’re a band from Baltimore and super cool people. We played a couple one-off shows with them and tossed around the idea last year of going on a tour in March 2015. We are glad it worked out and are excited to hit the road with both of them!
AW: Where are you guys most excited to go on this tour?
ZF [Lion In The Mane]: We’re hitting a few cities on this run that we’ve never played before, so that’s pretty exciting for us. We’re pumped to be playing in Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. That said, we’re always excited to play Austin and Tampa and Orlando and Philly. We have great friends and family out there, so it’s a good time every time we’re in town. Overall, I think we’re just eager to reconnect with old fans and make some great new ones all over the country. Jon- I’m really excited for Florida so I can see my family. I’m a Texas Rangers fan, so Dallas will be fun. New Orleans and Nashville are great places as well! Really excited.
AW: What else can we expect from Lion In The Mane throughout 2015?
JM [Lion In The Mane]: We have so many songs written. I’d like to get back in the studio towards the end of the year.
AL [Lion In The Mane]: We are trying to be on the road as much as possible in 2015, we just released this record that we have our hearts in so we are going to push it as hard as we can. Expect a couple more tours, possibly west coast or even overseas. We also have a music video coming out in mid March and potentially another by the end of the year. We are hoping this will be a big year for us and we want to share it with you, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated with tour dates and releases. Thanks so much for your time!