Their name conjures up an image of a fatigued animal, but Tired Lion are anything but drowsy or lacklustre. The Aussie upstarts are in the thick of starting a new era for grunge, and with a string of impressive EP’s to their name, it’s only a matter of time before they invade more than just our playlists. The band, today, finish a spate of European shows and festivals which saw the foursome play Glastonbury – and for a band that have never visited the UK previously, it is a pretty extraordinary feat to accomplish at this stage.
So when we heard that the grunge rockers were coming to the UK, we knew we had to beg, plead, do whatever we could to grab a few moments with them. We ventured down to cool Manchester venue Gullivers to chat with the Aussies, and below you’ll find what happened.
To be travelling across to the other side of the world and be playing shows in the UK and Europe, is it a big deal for you?
Nick (Bass): “Yeah definitely, it is definitely a big deal for us. We never thought, even like a year ago, that we would be playing on the other side of the world. Especially festivals such as Glastonbury, things of that size and stature, so yeah it’s pretty incredible.”
And on your first trip as well, that’s something…
Matt (Lead Guitar): “We were all at my house when we got this new agent from the UK…”
Yeah I saw last year X-Ray Touring signed you to their roster, and I was like “Yes! You’ll be coming to the UK soon.”
Matt: “Yeah that’s right. Shaun from X-Ray Touring picked us up, and we were all at my house having some dinner and drinks or whatever, he said to us when he first booked us ‘I’m gonna try to get you guys on Glastonbury’. We’re like whatever, he’s just trying to woo us, it’s like the honeymoon period. And then that night, he’s like ‘yeah no worries, it’s all in the works’, we cheers’d with a beer. We thought we would duck over, play Glastonbury and go home, y’know a weekend kinda thing, so it’s pretty amazing that it has stretched out to be a month.”
I know as a music fan, I look to the music scene in Australia in absolute awe. There are so many cool bands over there making their mark on the world. Are you fans of UK music? Have you come across any new artists that you’re particularly proud of hearing early?
Ethan (Drums): “Kagoule.”
Sophie (Lead vocals / guitar): “Yeah we saw them at 2000 Trees and all of us instantly took a liking to those guys. They’ve got a good sound.”
Ethan: “I guess before coming, Milk Teeth, I was aware of and I liked them a lot. But there’s obviously the famous one’s that we all know.”
Matt: “There’s Spring King, they’re pretty awesome. And apparently, I don’t even know if I can say this or not, but I’m going to say it anyway, we’re gonna be doing a surfing lesson together in Bryon Bay in Australia.”
Well it’s funny you say that because I saw Spring King a few weeks ago in Manchester at their album launch party and Tarek was saying how they’re going over to Australia soon and he’s excited about it and wants to go surfing while he’s there.
Sophie: “So they can probably surf.”
Matt: “Ah cool, we can’t surf and we’re the Australians.” [Everyone laughs]
The video for ‘Not My Friends’ see’s you parodying classic 90’s and early 00’s television shows, out of all the hit TV shows of that era, which is your all-time favourite?
Nick: “I’d say Seinfeld. It was on all the time, it was on usually before dinner, even when I was in my early teens, and you know [when I was] 7, 8, 9 years old.”
Ethan: “I never got into it until…because as a kid I was like what is this show? This is ridiculous and not funny. Then maybe six months ago, or seven months ago, I watched it from season one to the end of Seinfeld because I had nothing else to do and it was incredible. I think I‘ve watched season one to the end at least five times in about seven months, which is pretty bad because it’s a lot of episodes.”
Sophie: “I really dug Home Improvement. When I was younger, I just felt, even to this day, putting a sitcom like that on just makes you feel super cosy and safe in your [own] family. I also found the brothers on that attractive when I was younger and I got a little bit sick in the stomach whenever they were on.”
It has to be noted that the opening scene of the video depicts a near perfect re-enactment of the Friends title sequence, how much fun was that to shoot?
Ethan: “That was probably the quickest one to shoot. Was that the last scene?”
Nick: “It was the last scene at the end of a 10 hour day of filming. It was outdoors, which was good for a change and I think we were just tired by that point, so we had a lot of fun with it. But we weren’t there for that long because obviously it was a big public area. It was actually right between three major roads, it was nine o’clock at night, well it was a bit earlier than that so there was a lot of cars going round and us being idiots doing our stuff, so it was pretty interesting.”
Ethan: “And when Matt falls over at the start, it’s actually…”
Matt: “That’s a real fall.”
Nick: “It’s still in the clip, it’s the best bit.”
Ethan: “We were meant to just jump on to the couch and sit down but he fucked it and ended up on his face, so we left it in.”
The big news is that your debut EP ‘Figurine’ is finally out now in the UK. It’s a re-package of the EP that was released in Australia last year, but with the new addition of ‘Not My Friends’. Was ‘Not My Friends’ written around the same time as the other tracks on the EP or did it come after?
Matt: “It was written slightly after. The way the EP is run, ‘I Don’t Think You Like Me’, ‘Pretend’ and ‘December’ they’re all kind of older songs, they sound a little bit different I reckon as well. And then the song ‘Figurine’ and ‘Suck’, they all came in the piece later around the same time as ‘Not My Friends’. So there’s two different eras of writing on that EP.”
So have you been working on new material since then?
Sophie: “Yeah. We’ve just been jamming, we’ve been touring quite a lot so we haven’t had that much time to get into it but yeah we’ve got some new material that we’ve been playing on the road that isn’t on the EP. It’s always good to road test it to a new crowd.”
Ethan: “We always end up playing our new songs live and then we go to record them and we’re like ‘Fuck, this song seems so old now’.”
If you had to choose just one of your songs that best describes your band and what you’re about, which one would it be and why?
Sophie: “That’s hard because I feel we sort of have many different styles. I can’t really pick a song.”
Matt: “For me, it sounds a little bit lame but I reckon ‘I Don’t Think You Like Me’. That was our first big single in Australia and I remember I would listen to it in a completely different way when it started to become popular, if you know what I mean, and I kinda relate that song with playing a huge festival in Australia – Splendour in the Glass – doing out first Australian tour in theatres and stuff like that, and getting decent radio play. So that song, for me, [brings] a lot of positive memories with it, so when I hear that song, it makes me think of the band and all the stuff that we’ve done in the last 12 months.”
Sophie: “Yeah I guess that’s not like strict to the style though…”
Sophie: “Because that’s a very hard hitting tune and we have heaps of different vibes but yeah I agree with that.”
I love that your songs stand up for those that may otherwise be afraid to speak out, for the people that feel alienated by the world or the people around them, or just those that need an outlet to rage against the grain. I know it’s been all those things for me, why do you think you’re drawn to these types of themes when writing?
Sophie: “I guess yeah, it’s more common than we know it in everybody’s lives. Maybe at least once you go through that. Personally I’ve been through it quite a lot. [I] still don’t feel like I really fit in anywhere. Yeah it’s more like a mental sort of thing getting it out in the open so then you can just feel relief, and it turns out a lot of people can relate, like you said yourself, which is a positive for us because we love connecting with people.”
Ethan: “People that like our songs can probably relate because we’re the same as them, y’know we feel the same way as them. That’s why we write the songs we write. Not because we think it’s cool because we actually believe in that stuff.”
Is it important to you that your music stands for something rather than it just having a catchy hook and little meaning?
Sophie: “Oh yeah definitely. It’s very important. There’s been a lot of things that we’ll write and we’ll be like ‘oh yeah that sounds really cool’ and then if we don’t mean it, it’s just pointless. Why would we sing and write and play guitar to something that we weren’t true about?”
Ethan: “A lot of the songs are feeling based. We can write a song from start to finish but if we obviously come to consensus that we’re not vibing on it ‘cause it doesn’t really mean anything to us, then we kind of just don’t play it. We have to believe in what we play.”
Nick: “Yeah it’s never something that is forced.”
Sophie: “It would just feel boring if we were playing songs that we didn’t believe in. I don’t think we’d be able to be doing what we’re doing now, playing every single night, especially the same songs in the same set. It would get totally to the point where you’d feel like a cover band or something.”
Nick: “I would not be getting as sweaty as I do on stage for songs I don’t believe in.”
You seem to have a lot of fun with your social media. Are there any bands that you think do it well, that you love to keep up with yourself?
Sophie: “Matt’s our social media wizard.”
Matt: “It’s hard to say, I know bands that do social media well but I don’t necessarily agree with what they do.”
Sophie: “I like the whole thing Ball Park [Music] where doing up until the release of their new album. They were just doing a live video every day or so up until the release date. Playing covers that people know, to their own songs stripped back. I found that really cool.”
Ethan: “I think when it seems like it’s…I don’t know if it ever is but, when it seems like the band are doing it themselves. Y’know when they’re writing their status or their update or whatever, that’s really important I think. I think Dune Rats do a really good one and Rat Boy.”
Nick: “It definitely seems more personal when y’know sometimes you see grammatical errors and you know it’s them because you’ve met them. It seems real to them.”
Matt: “But there is too much the other way too, and I’m not going to name any names but there are people as well…I really hate the online socialites. You know those people that are famous on twitter or facebook and they don’t do anything. There’s a couple of artists I see on social media and it’s literally like ‘Like for comments or inbox me’ and if you’re at a show they’ll be like 50,000 18-year-old kids that are just on the computer going to the shows. I really hate that type of social media. But the bands these guys are saying like Dune Rats, Ball Park Music – those guys make it fun and it’s more about getting to know the band rather than just narcissism.”
Nick: “Let’s just wait for all the Pokémon Go social media that’s being crossed with music.”
Sophie: “We’ve already done that dude. I feel like you’re teasing it but we posted one the other day.”
Nick: “That was post gig. I’m talking like…I’m sure there’s gonna be people like ’Oh come to our show at this venue because there’s gonna be this [Pokémon].”
Matt: “That has started happening.”
Sophie: “Also something that has started happening today, 10% off at a clothing store if you can show that you’re a Pokémon trainer.”
Matt: “So basically you can also put in there that you will get 10% off our album if you send us all your Pokémon on our Pokémon Go app, because I want to catch most of them, not them all.”
This is your first time in Manchester, any first impressions?
Ethan: “The first thing I saw when we rocked up, are they strip clubs or are they..?”
Nick: “There’s a strip club next to the venue or something, I just saw the XXX…”
Yeah it’s just a shop.
Ethan: “Oh is it?”
They’re all around here.
Sophie: “Now they’re disappointed.”
Matt: “I noticed the accent change. So Manchester folk, is that okay to say? They seem to be very loud but also welcoming. Y’know like ‘Hey mate, get over here’ kinda thing. That was the first thing I noticed with the lady that answered the door to let us in [to the venue]. I’ve got a few friends from Manchester back home, so that was welcoming.”
Ethan: “The thing that always gets me, just in general, of the UK is the greeting. When they say ‘Hey, you alright?’ because in Australia depending how they say it…
It’s like starting a fight.
Ethan: “Yeah it’s like let’s have a fight. Like what’s your problem?”
Sophie: “Even Dolomite Minor [the band supporting them] when I rocked up, they were like ‘Hey, you alright?’ and I was like ‘Oh, do I look upset? Do I look sad?’”
Matt: “Going back to bands from the UK that we like that we’ve discovered over here, those guys [Dolomite Minor] are awesome. We hadn’t actually listened to them properly before these gigs, or I hadn’t. And they’ve just blown us away these last couple of nights, they’re really good.”
Ethan: “And they’re awesome people.”
You’ve had a pretty wild, if not hectic, few weeks around the UK and Europe. How have the shows gone so far?
Ethan: “Yeah they’ve been really good. I guess the majority of the tour has been festivals which is easy for us because we don’t have to do anything except go and play really.”
Nick: “There’s usually going to be at least some people [in the crowd] to check out the stage so that’s been lucky, that’s been good.”
Ethan: “The end half [of the tour] has just been our own shows, it’s kinda like starting again really because obviously no one really knows us here but last night we played in London and it was…”
It looked pretty busy.
Ethan: “It was very busy and it was kinda overwhelming, not overwhelming, but a shock because you’re like ‘People care’.”
Nick: “Just even seeing people singing along to your songs, regardless of how many people are there, if there’s two people at the front singing along, it’s a pretty incredible feeling.”
Ethan: “But it’s been great, it’s been enjoyable.”
Now you’ve pretty much come to the end of your touring schedule, what are your plans for the rest of the year? I know you’ve just added another tour…
All: “Yeah yeah.”
Nick: “We’ve got another tour in October/November with Violent Soho, The Bronx and Luca Brasi so that’s gonna be pretty exciting. We’ll be writing still, getting a whole bunch of new songs together for some form of release. The day after we get back [to Australia] we’re flying over East to Bryon Bay to play Splendour in the Grass which will be pretty incredible. It’s a huge festival.”
Ethan: “And we’ll get to hang out with Spring King.”
Nick: “…And we get to hang out with Spring King and go surfing so that will be good.”
Sophie: “You think, we’ll get eaten by a shark?”
Ethan: “Yeah, it’ll be a great end to my life.”
Ethan: “No I guess, just finish writing and keep going.”
Tired Lion’s new EP ‘Figurine’ is out now. Buy on iTunes here.