INTERVIEW: New Record, Recording Old School, Great Artists And More With As Lions
The band recently released their debut album "Selfish Age", and have been on the road with massive bands such as Alter Bridge and Five FInger Death Punch.
While on the trail with Alter Bridge, we sat down with frontman Austin Dickinson and discussed the As Lions debut full-length "Selfish Age", working together with legendary producer David Bendeth and much more. Read all about the conversation we had below!
Good! We had a little bit of a killer drive today, we drove up from Paris but today's show was awesome!
It was our first show in The Netherlands with As Lions and that was just a dream come true. This show was an absolute 10/10. This is also one of the coolest venues we've ever been in.
It's really big on the inside, while it looked so small outside!
How have the crowds been responding to As Lions?
The crowds have been fantastic. I don't want to be too "Field of Dreamy" about it, but it really has been a dream come true. We are very honored to be able to open for Alter Bridge.
They've always been a huge band for me, so it's really been a blast opening for them every night.
Could you tell us something about the concept of "Selfish Age"?
The concept of "Selfish Age" is kind of a notion in the world we live in. I feel like the world is all about taking and selfishness. It's all about me, me, me. Seeing that tension, especially in places like the US right now, I think we've all just become a lot more selfish. I thought this was worthy writing our debut record about. I have never been able to write about girls and getting drunk. These are the words that are hard for me to write.
How about the artwork?
We loved it from the first moment. Because, well, first of all it's a skull.. but when you look at it, it really is fucking gorgeous, but you know, you're still looking at a skull. I really like that duality, it's kinda ironic. We also really liked it because it kinda looks like a globe, with the whole colour and cloud dispersion that's going on. We went through a couple of ideas, and this one was too diverse. All the guys came in with different opinions about the artwork, all positive, but they all saw something different in the artwork.
The first EP was consisted off of tracks from the record, but we really wanted to put something out. We had this big tour coming with FFDP and Shinedown and it was this massive arena tour and we had to put something out. The record was still being finalized, mixed and mastered etc.. so that's when we decided to create an EP. It was the same recording than the record.
How was it, working with David Bendeth?
It was cool! David Bendeth is an incredible interesting character.
He's very old school.. if he could still record on tape, he would.
His studio has no Apple, it was all very old school. All old Windows stuff, haha. You had the first two weeks of pre-production, but we called it bootcamp. He is a real drill sergeant, and that was cool. You don't have many producers like that anymore.
We finished the process with Kane in Las Vegas. Vegas doesn't really scream "make a record", but it was cool. We were isolated, but we had great weather, so it was a very positive experience.
Suicide Silence used a lot of old school stuff on their latest record as well, I think Eddie Hermida used a mic out of the 50s. Is that something you'd also be interested in?
The old school method shouldn't be sought after just because you're using old stuff, it should be about bringing back some performance, bringing back some nuance and diversity instead of just laying down drums, guitars and vocals and then just highlight & copy and paste it. That makes music really consumable, but it also makes it forgettable. You can tell, like with Royal Blood, when they perform, not everything is perfect, but that's kinda the point. They sound like they really mean it, and that's down to the person. You're gonna want the person itself on the record.
Concerts are getting increasingly more important, what do you do that seperates you from the rest of the rock world, liveshow wise?
We don't really pay attention to what other bands are doing.
We're trying to do our own thing, make it personal and unique.
We try to bring everything on the record onto the stage with us. We just try to be honest with ourselves, instead of being scared of what we have to do. We just write great songs, we write the tracks our way and I think that separates us.
Concertwise, which acts do you really like?
Muse, they are f*cking ridiculous.
Ghost, I love them!
Liam Gallagher, I know a lot of people hate him but he’s got this unique sound, there is something about him that you won't find anywhere else.
We just finished a whole bunch of festivals and there were a lot of great bands there like Nothing More and Shinedown.
There’s tons of great bands out there.
"The Great Escape", you talked about how it is about breaking lose environment you are in but shouldn't be in, could you tell us a little bit more about it?
When I was a kid I found it tough to fit in, I’ve had the same friends most of my life.
I never hung with the big social groups, because we never had an understanding so for me a song like "The Great Escape" is a little pocket where I could be myself, it is the home away from home.
What would you say to anyone in that position, feeling like an outsider?
It ain't you and it's not your problem, you are just fine. A lot of people get weirded out that don't wear a mask and are just themselves.
Be yourself and do what you love, be the best at what you love.
If not music, what would you be doing right now?
Trying to make movies, I studied theatre and screenwriting so that was what I was gonna do.
I had no idea I was going to do music. Music was something I did because I loved it and then we did tour after tour and it just slipped in. There was this deadline, like are you going to university or.....? Me sitting here is my answer to that question.
Do you have some advice for bands who are just starting out?
Just f*cking keep practicing, working and experimenting and put the songs first.
Get those emotions fully realized, put yourself out there, make it yours.
Hopefully a lot of people who are reading this will not have heard from you and will now listen to you because of it, how woud you describe your music in 5 keywords?
Shinedown, Muse, Alter Bridge, Linkin Park, question mark.
We try to make really big music that hits you right in the heart.
And with words: big heavy guitars, lots of piano and singing, mountains of drums, we wanna sound like a mountain.
Which other younger bands are you really into right now?
Valice, While She Sleeps, Moose Blood, there’s far too much good music in the world!
What is next for As Lions?
Finish this tour, then a home headliner tour, that rounds us off for the year. For next year I can ’t really say cause it is still in the works. We promise not to be in America as much as we have been. We want to come home and come to Europe.