Ontario foursome the Lionyls are touring Canada behind their self-titled first album. They hit the Jasper Legion on Sept. 16 and had a chat with Craig Gilbert earlier this week to set it up.
Craig Gilbert: So what can Jasperites expect at the Legion on Saturday?
Zach Raynor: We love the funk, soul, rock and roll tradition – real, honest music. We have a nice mix of music that showcases all of those styles and then we have some great covers that people will recognize and will be able to connect to. We really pride ourselves on an energetic live performance where we’re focused on connecting with the audience. We really rock out on stage; the rhythm section is super-tight, Robbie has a ton of killer guitar solos and I love to do some dancing stuff and put on a show for the people.
Craig: What do you get out of playing live?
Alex Jee: The energy. We really think of it in terms of we’ve made something we’re really proud of musically, it represents us well, and we thrive off of that energy exchange between the audience and ourselves. For example if we’re playing a show and some guy starts screaming ‘drum solo!’ let’s stop the show and Steve is gonna hit a crazy drum solo on the spot. It’s a respect between the performer and the audience member and creating that moment everyone can connect to and making it memorable.
Craig: What would someone listening to your first album be getting themselves into?
Zach: The band started like five years ago. Those are songs we’ve been on almost since the beginning. Just the process of refining that music took way longer than any of us expected. When you think a song is done and you put it on demo, you listen to it back. Someone has some issue they want to change; maybe the lyrics don’t sit quite right.
I think when we sat down to do an album versus to getting everything to the point to where you feel proud of it – we’re different people, so we have a little bit of a different idea of how something should sound – to a point where we all agree and we’re all proud of the same thing, that was a much more harrowing experience than we expected. It took a lot out of us but at the end of the day, it’s important we went through that. That’s us – a snapshot in time of who we were when we wrote those songs. We’ve grown even since then, but it was a really, really cool experience.
Craig: What comes next for the band?
Robbie Rigg: We have a few days off so we’re enjoying our time in Vancouver, which is nice, but when we get back from the tour we’re planning to record our next album, hopefully. So we’ve been kinda in the process of writing on the road half the time one of us is in the back of the van with their guitar working on stuff (mostly Zach). We just received an (Ontario Arts Council) grant to help us do that, thankfully.
Zach: The grant will help us with the writing process. The last album was a snapshot of who we were, but all of us have grown so much and even in the two weeks that we’ve been on the road, you start to realize, trial by fire, how much this type of thing can help you grow.
Like we were headed to Sudbury, for example, and we hit a roadblock and it was like a four-hour detour, so we were three hours late for the show, but we still showed up. So we get there and the crowd is waiting for us, and you have to give them what they came for and paid for, despite how you might feel, the lateness, that fact that we had to get the sound set up immediately in front of the crowd so when we get back and we’re writing, there’s experience behind that we didn’t have with the first album and I think that will really show in the new songs. It’s a new level of ability.