Interview: A House For Lions

by Amanda Danielle

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On the last night of their residency at the Echoplex, in Los Angeles, A House For Lions (AHFL) sat down with our Amanda Danielle and talked about their origin story, who does the writing, and the future. Here is that interview:

Amanda: Are all of you contributing to the writing?

AHFL: It’s mostly Daniel writing the lyrics, and we kind of collaborate as a whole.

Amanda: Where are you all from?

AHFL: Dan, North Carolina. Mike, Boston. Eric, Kansas City. Joe, Palm Springs.

Amanda: How long have you lived in LA altogether?

AHFL: We all came at different times for different reasons. Mike and Eric got to LA four years ago and Daniel and Joe were here for five and a half to six. It’s definitely home now.  

Amanda: How’d you find each other once you were all in town?

Joe: The internet mostly.  It’s the future. When Mike and Eric first got to LA, Mike came with a different band and I was auditioning for another band and we met Daniel.

Mike: That band ended quickly and Eric and I had a great rapport and we got in touch with Daniel and we all really hit it off. We all started jamming out and everything started to fold into itself organically.

Daniel: I agree, I’d never been in a band before and started writing some songs. As Mike says, it was something that felt like it was fun to do and as we went along we decided to see what was around the next corner. It’s been that way since we’ve been a band which is why it’s still fun and why we continue doing it and stay invested. We enjoy doing it not for any unhinged ambition. We feel like we’re doing a good enough job which is why we’re still doing it, you know what I mean?

Amanda: How’d you come up with your band name? 

Daniel: We don’t really talk about it. It’s definitely a secret and it’ll probably stay that way.

Amanda: It’s that secretive? Mysterious and I love it. How did you come up with the unique idea for fan contributions to fund your next album?

Mike: That was really fun, we wanted to crowd fund it mainly because we didn’t have the money to fund it ourselves so, you know, obviously crowd funding is getting pretty popular and it takes a lot to stand out in the crowded interwebs and we knew we had to really bring it. I had some buddies that had a sketch comedy group that started brainstorming ideas for a pitch video which is when we hashed out idea for the pitch funding video. We came across Ignition Deck and I kind of stumbled upon it. I brought it to the band which was a difficult decision to make, because Kickstarter is a great option and it’s been successful, but we decided to bypass it. One, because we had the ability to bypass it and do it ourselves and it was a perfect fit for us in a lot of ways.

Daniel: It was a perfect fit for us in a lot of ways. We have a band member who could help us technical wise. We had friends who could assist us on ideas and create something funny and engaging for the video. We had the network that we could go straight to them so we didn’t have to rely on stability of the other platforms and we pooled our resources and were smart about it.

Amanda: The tiered situation was really funny and awesome plus you surpassed the financial goal which is great.

AHFL: We were a little surprised, when we got closer we realized, hey guys we might do this. We were on the edge and it was very nerve racking we had so much riding on this and we had plans based on this being successful. And if not, it’s back to the drawing board. Daniel’s songs have been there since the beginning of us and we’ve grown up into this bigger thing and we knew around this time last year that we were maturing. We had these songs and wanted to take the listener from the beginning along with us on this journey and show them what we could do.

We wanted to wait til we developed more as a band ’til the timing was right for us. We waited ’til we got to the point that when we were going to do this we were going to do it right. As happy as we are with these songs, some of them are actually really old and we were passionate about getting them out there, but we were also passionate about it so we could do the next thing. Are we gonna pull an Animal Collective and only play things not off the album? Improvise only new songs? Ha. Even in the set tonight, we aren’t schizophrenic, but we’re still exploring new things and I think we’re eager to continue that process, we don’t want to leave those behind .

Amanda: What are your main influences? While listening I hear country at times, rock, and like you said it’s not schizophrenic yet it’s eclectic.

AHFL: When we come together, we come from different places musically that we throw everything we got into the pot. There’s such commonality there that it makes sense. We’ve spent enough time working out everything that we can decide the direction and mix a pedal steel or harmonica to create those notes. We don’t shoehorn our musical ideas into one specific genre. But we love some country, some reggae and rock that’s coming out now and it finds its way into our music. We’re pretty voracious listeners, we’re constantly listening to music we’re always talking about it and we’re interested in participating in that conversation that’s been going on for so long. Pushing forward, that’s what’s important to us. To show everyone that we also have some idea about how this whole thing can work and that we can definitely contribute to this conversation. 

Follow Amanda on Twitter. Follow The De Mello Theory on Facebook. Get all the information on A House For Lions on Facebook

Correction: A previous version incorrectly quoted Joe when in reality it was Mike.

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