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Interview: As Tall As Lions - 04.07.07
 

As Tall As Lions - 04.07.07

Interviewed by
As Tall As Lions - 04.07.07What is your name and what do you do in the band?
Daniel Nigro – I'm Daniel, I sing and play guitar in the band.
Saen Fitzgerald – I'm Saen, I play guitar.

Being chosen as one of four bands out of thousands to be put on the Alternative Press tour must be a big honor. What brought all that about? What do you think you'd be doing right now if you weren't on this tour?

Daniel – Well, I think the main reason why we got on this tour is that Alternative Press liked us, like all the rest of the bands on the tour. A while back, we were on tour with Sparta and pretty much like 10 or 15 members of the staff from Alternative Press came out to our show in Cleveland and saw us play and enjoyed it, and that was the point of when they asked us if we wanted to be on a tour or not. If we weren't on the tour what do you think we'd be doing, Saen?

Saen – Uhh...I don't know, probably sitting at home doing absolutely nothing. I mean if it was kind of a big honor for the tour, I kind of understood that because there are so many bands that would like to be on it, and the fact that they picked us is pretty crazy. But yeah it's such an eclectic mix, the good thing about it is that it's kind of a little sampling of what's going on in the underground "scene" from all sides, every genre you can think of almost. (Dan walks out to help escort someone)

So like what you said with all the different kind of genres of music, with all the variations of kids coming out to see the show, with different tastes and such, how have they all reacted as a whole to As Tall As Lions?

Saen - That's the tricky part, I guess, because in an ideal world every kid goes to a show with an open mind wanting to listen to every band and respecting them. If you don't like something, then you don't like something, that's totally cool. But I mean personally for us, there are some people that come to the show to see like a really great rock and roll show with a lot of energy and a lot of entertainment, which we try to do as best as we can in our small way, but we're a pretty boring band, I guess. We play really slow, kind of smoothed out music and sometimes it's kind of frustrating when you see kids in the front row that are falling asleep on each others shoulders as we play. But then there are other times when people have never heard of your band and came to see another band, and you turn them on and now they're a really big fan of your band and you would've never got that unless you were on a tour like this. So I guess there's positives and negatives, but so far, the good outweighs the bad.

What are your feelings about As Tall As Lions' placement in the "scene"? Do you sometimes feel like you don't fit in with the "scene"?

Saen - Yeah we do. Not in a kind of bad way, but we have trouble finding our place, and we never really started out to try and fit into it, not like there's anything wrong with it. But a lot of bands start out knowing that this is exactly what they want to be, and there's already a platform for that. Not saying that is a bad thing, it's just what works for them. So far us, it's a little bit more difficult because we seem not as punk rock and we have a harder time finding tour with people who play music, like ours. (Dan Returns) (To Dan) How do you feel about our placement in today's "scene"? I told him we have sort of a hard time with it.

Dan – I don't think we really…(Steve Clifford of Circa Survive drumming in the background)…*laughs* I hate coming in unfocused.

Saen - Yeah, it's not like it's a terrible thing. I don't really know how to say it, you can't really be a band and then start playing these nice big rock shows. You have to start somewhere, and the easiest thing for us, what's most available is this particular scene. I guess you can call it the "indie" scene or the "emo" scene or whatever label you want to put on it, but over the years, we've kind of felt that we've grown out of it.

Dan – It's hard to say that we've grown out of it, I don't want people to think that we don't appreciate the fans that we have in the scene, and we feel that there are a lot of people in the scene that understand the band, but I don't think that we will ever find the full potential of the band in this scene because most of the people that are in the scene don't really understand where we're coming from. If that makes any sense. That's not a knock on the people that do get it. But I mean, we've done Warped Tour before and we sat behind our merch booth like all the other bands that are smaller, trying to sell our cd, and 80% of the people who come up that are interested will come up and be like "Oh wait, you guys don't scream in your songs?"

Saen – And that actually does happen.

Dan – So we're like "so this isn't where we belong" because most of the people there are looking for bands that are mostly screaming or a band who has a cool emo hairdo, flipped to the side. But there are a lot of people in it that understand our band and we really appreciate that.

What are some of your biggest influences when writing your music? I've heard that you have some background with some soul musicians.

Dan - Yeah, we do listen to a lot of R+B, hip-hop, jazz, and there's a lot of that influence in our music. I will say, not to sound clichι, that I think we all inspire each other the most. Because everyone in the band is a songwriter, and when we write, Saen could go into the studio and record a whole song on his own, or I could do the same thing. Cliff or anyone in the band could do that, and it's really inspiring when you come in and someone shows you a whole idea, not a whole idea, but a whole piece, they'll come in with a drum part or a bass part and the piano line all worked out and recorded, and you'll get inspired and be like "Wow, I can't wait to write a melody to this." So I think we find a lot of it within each other.

(One of the bands vocalists doing a scale while doing a handstand in the background) *laughs* There's a huge difference between the first album, Lafcadio, and the Self Titled. What sparked the change? Do you foresee as big a change in the newer songs on the next album?

Dan – Yeah, I think there is definitely a big change. It had a lot to do with the fact that we got our new bass player, and we just started writing new songs from a fresh point. I felt like we were totally a new band, it didn't feel like we were the old As Tall As Lions like we were on Lafcadio. So I mean just that general feeling made us sound different. We went with it because we felt real secure. I think that's also why we partially self titled the album, as well, because we thought "this is As Tall As Lions now", a new beginning. And we've been writing some new material now and I think it's closer to the Self Titled, then Lafcadio was to the Self Titled. But it definitely sounds different, I think already we're starting to go even more with the soul, even smoother. But yeah, it's still the same kind of cool, crazy grooves and really good melodies. I'm excited to actually finish it.

Me too.

Dan - I think that it's important for any band, not to reinvent themselves, but change a little bit, and be different, be exciting to themselves. I think that we would never become the band that would write the same record twice. So I don't think anyone should expect the same thing from us next time around.

Was there any concept behind the album cover of the self titled?

Saen - No, not at all. We were having some trouble because we went to a whole bunch of different album artists or whatever you want to call them, and we said "Well, all right. Keep it real simple. We want to do this very classy thing where maybe it's just a photograph of a still life object and the band name. We kept on getting these things back, and we were just like "This doesn't feel right." So finally we found this kind of crazy guy who does a lot of psychedelic imagery. We liked it so much that we were like "Allright, we'll kind of scrap the whole idea of being simple, just do whatever you want. Make it as crazy, trippy as you can, and he came back with this paper towel thing with all these kind of crazy images, things melting. And we were like "Yes! That is exactly it." So basically the only guidance was make it trippy, and he did.

Dan - I guess we were trying to take the vibe, the atmospheric element of the music and put it visually as well, and I think he did that. And to just let people know exactly how many drugs we take *laughs*.

Saen - *laughs* Yeah, there you go.

Have you started writing down ideas for the new album? I saw that dry erase board thing you had on your myspace.

Dan – Yeah, basically we have a dry erase board and any time we write a new idea, Cliff has a rule that we have to come up with a name for it right away no matter how stupid or silly it is, and so we come up with names and they're really ridiculous and they might not have any relevance to the song, but yeah we have about fifteen new ideas for the new record. That's not to say that any of them will be on the record, or maybe all of them will be on the record. We don't know, it's just all preliminary ideas that everyone's just coming up with.

You guys are signed to Triple Crown, a label known for it's diversity in music. You have your bands like TREOS, and then there's The Secret Handshake, and bands like you guys. How has that label served you in promoting your type of sound?

Dan - They've done a good job. There's obviously a limit to what a label can do for us, but at the same time Fred puts in his best effort and works hard for us. We're always in constant contact with him trying to make things work and trying to get more cds in stores. I think that's the biggest issue.

Saen - It seems like in the times today, where you can be on any record label, and as long as the music is out there, even only via the internet, it's its own promotion in that sense. So that's definitely a big crutch that we use as far as yeah, like you were saying that since it's such a varied sound, I guess that's just what people expect from Triple Crown. Yeah, I don't know, that's a tough question. It's like a dance, they do their best, we do our best and just kind of hope it works.

I've heard that you guys have the whole band involved in singing some parts. What do you guys do to keep all your voices from cutting out?

Dan - *laughs* We've actually had a lot of problems with that, actually. We just hired a sound guy because a lot of times all of the bands on this tour are friendly, and we always get comments from the other guys in the bands saying "I couldn't hear Julio tonight" or "I couldn't hear Saen tonight." So we hired somebody to come in and knows exactly where everyone sings in what songs, and kind of able to accent those parts as best as possible. So that's how we're working on that.

So a headlining tour, is that ever going to see the light of day?

Dan - Yeah actually this summer. We're doing a headlining tour this summer. It's going to be us and Coldplay together.

Saen - With Milli Vanilli opening, oddly enough. Even though one of the guys is dead now. So it's just going to be Vanilli opening up. *laughs*.

What do you guys do on the road to keep yourselves entertained?

Dan - We have our guitar tech Chris Beron.

Saen - He's the most ridiculous guy in the world.

Dan - He's sitting right there drinking a Heineken. He is our entertainment on the road. And then everyone has various phone games that we all play. That's about all we do…and Dr. Mario tournaments. Cliff, Chris, Rob, and I play Dr. Mario tournaments as much as possible.

Saen – Keep that hand eye coordination sharp.

There's always picture of you guys out on the beach, taking in the rays. So it's obvious that you guys like the beach. Are any of you guys surfers or anything?

Dan - No.

You just like the beaches?

Dan - Yeah.

Saen - We just like the water. The water's very nice. I used to work at a beach, at many a year. I was a garbage man on it, and it was a great experience.

Are there any other bands you think people should check out? Anything you've been into lately?

Dan – The new Cassino record is amazing.

Saen – The new Snake The Cross The Crown record.

Dan – Everybody should give that a chance, because I told someone that it was a good record, and they were like "yeah, I heard it." But you haven't actually listened to it. It's awesome.

Saen – There's a group from Florida called Band Marino, that is amazing. They have a record out right now, you should check it out.

Dan – And then just check out As Tall As Lions, because we're the greatest band in the world.

Saen – Besides Vanilli. *laughs*

Well basically that's all I had, is there anything else you'd like to say to everyone reading this on AP.net?

Saen – Yeah, if you're interested in the band and what we do, like I said we're going to be doing a headlining tour this summer so just keep checking back with us about when the days will be up and that kind of stuff.

Dan – And let them know that if there's any place that they want us to come to, let us know. We still haven't booked all of the dates yet, or any of the dates for that matter.

Thanks for your time guys.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 26
11:23 AM on 04/27/07
#2
I.O
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The new cassino album IS amazing! :)
11:26 AM on 04/27/07
#3
ashesofapril234
Spicher
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I love this band. so amazing
11:31 AM on 04/27/07
#4
Suprhatch614
is a terrible user name
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An as tall as lions headlining tour...YIPEE!
01:33 PM on 04/27/07
#5
mdarket
visit - www.myspace.com/markadfour
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dope, yeah it sucks for this kind of a band to play show for shitty kids that only want to see cute or envy. but they did an amazing job on the ap tour. lots of good energy, which fits their show. i met them after the show was over when they were loading out. i told them how "love, love, love" is my fiance and my wedding song and said they were really excited to have reached someone that cared so much. it was cool. but anyways, go buy ATAL!
01:36 PM on 04/27/07
#6
The Apollo Kid
like omg im a lemmming
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You mean they dont scream? Nah, an amazing band that I couldnt live without in my music collection
01:46 PM on 04/27/07
#7
M-House
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one of my favorite bands, i can't wait for the headline tour.
01:59 PM on 04/27/07
#8
average_jane
poppunkjunkie.blogspot.co m
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yay, a headlining tour!
02:53 PM on 04/27/07
#9
wellhello
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soooo stoked to see them at Chain Reaction
03:05 PM on 04/27/07
smogs
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i love this band, and they are super nice too.
i remember i responded to a myspace bulletin of theirs about AP tour dates and they responded back the next day.

cant wait for the headlining tour!
03:18 PM on 04/27/07
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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i don't think it's possible for me to love this band anymore than i do. good dudes, incredible music and live show, they like cassino and a headlining tour. sweet jesus.
03:25 PM on 04/27/07
tonyC4L
tech-savvy at-risk youth
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soooo stoked to see them at Chain Reaction
I'll be there too! That was actually where I first saw them, last June. I think they opened for Houston Calls. But yeah I pretty much fell in love with them instantly, so I'm so stoked to see them there again.
03:46 PM on 04/27/07
wellhello
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I'll be there too! That was actually where I first saw them, last June. I think they opened for Houston Calls. But yeah I pretty much fell in love with them instantly, so I'm so stoked to see them there again.
damn, ive never seen them live. how are they? i'd love to see them on a tour with Dredg and Goodbye Tomorrow. thad be heaven.
04:10 PM on 04/27/07
RunStrong
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Dredg and As Tall As Lions would be beyond incredible. But yes, they are absolutely spectacular live. Cathartic would be a nice word to use.
04:46 PM on 04/27/07
Steve Henderson
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Good interview, buddy!

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