Prior to the premiere of their new full length album “Love Don’t Live Here” and the upcoming European tour with DESOLATED, FALLBRAWL, and KUBLAI KHAN, Northern California’s metalcore / hardcore band LIONHEART are joining us here on IDIOTEQ to talk about their new effort, touring and what hardcore in out times of digital culture.
LIONHEART have just premiered “Keep Talkin”, the second music video in support of the new album. It was shot at a house party the band threw in Oakland, California, and can be watched below! Check it out and scroll down to read the full interview now!
“Love Don’t Live Here” comes out on January 22nd through LIONHEART’s label LHHC Records and German heavy hardcore label Beatdown Hardwear. The record was produced by Cody Fuentes at Rapture Recording Studios in Hayward, CA, and is availabel for pre-order at this location.
“This is an ignorant and heavy song, which is all its supposed to be,” says vocalist Rob Watson. “We do this shit for fun, not for a career. We aren’t looking to change the world via an MP3. For all you whiny internet weirdos who take this shit way too seriously: this one’s for you, & if you don’t like it you can suck my dick from the back, you fuckin crybabies. “
Hey there boys! What’s up in Cali? I wish you guys could feel this bloody freezing weather here in Warsaw. How are you?
We’re all doing well out here. And we will be in Poznan in February, so I’m sure I’ll feel the weather then.
Haha, no doubt! Ok, so you’re about to unleash your new beast called “Love Don’t Live Here”. How does it feel and what does this new record mean to you guys?
It feels great. This is our first full-length in 4 years and it’s the best work we’ve ever done. This record means a lot to us because it’s the culmination of over 11 years of playing in this band. This album was everything we’ve ever wanted to write and it’s perfect representation of where we are right now.
Your new tunes seem to crystallize your move in your music towards even more pissed, heavier, yet catchy and moshy sound. What precipitated that move? How do you think your sound has evolved through this experience of writing and recording for “Love Don’t Live Here”?
We were so young when our earlier records came out, and we basically started putting out records as soon as we became a band. Our sound has evolved and grown with each of us. I think it’s been a natural progression. My lyrics have always been pissed, but I think they’re more focused and purposeful now. This album is, by far, my favorite lyrically. I was really, really honest with my lyrics and I told my story exactly the way I’ve always wanted to.
Is there a certain way that you work with producers to deliver the right effect? Tell us a bit about your creative and recording processes.
I produce everything, we don’t use any outside producers. I also write everything along with our long-time guitarist, Evan, who just isn’t able to tour with us anymore. We do all the pre-production together and then we record everything in the studio. Cody Fuentes engineered the recording and I oversaw the overall production.
Lyrically, was there a particular pathway that seemed logical to follow away from your previous offerings into something new? Was it your intention that this new record would be thought provoking?
Yeah, I think I was a lot more open on this record than I have been in the past. My lyrics in the past described certain instances in a more general manner, whereas these current songs are a lot more specific and descriptive. For instance, the title track; ‘Love Don’t Live Here’, is probably my most open and honest song I’ve ever written. The lyrics describe me at my absolute lowest point and that’s how a lot of this album is. There’s tracks like ‘Keep Talkin’ or ‘Bury Me’ that are just straight up pissed, but the majority of the album is real stories about shit I’ve been through when I was at my lowest.
Looking back on your experience and the whole adventure with LIONHEART, how do you feel this band has developed?
I couldn’t be more proud of where we are and everything we’ve done. We started this band in a living room outside of San Francisco, with no real intentions of ever even touring and leaving the state, and now we’ve made it all over the world. I grew up rough and, at times, all I had was my music, so to be able to travel the world playing music is honestly a dream come true and I’m thankful every day for the opportunity.
Ok, but there’s one thing that’s never changed. You’ll be supporting “Love Don’t Live Here” on the road, reaching out again for your old pals and gaining new followers. How important is touring over recording for your “band model”?
Honestly, we don’t really have a “band model”. This is only a part-time thing and it’s not a career for us. Everyone in the band has families and jobs outside of this, so LH is really just something we do for fun when we are all able to make it work. That’s why there has been a 4 year gap since our last full-length (Undisputed).
We tour as much as we can whenever we can and we always just do it for fun. I don’t want the band as a career because then it takes the fun out of it, and I love music too much to let that happen for me. When we do it for fun, it allows us to write whatever the fuck we want and play whatever the fuck we want whenever the fuck we want. We answer to no one in music, and I don’t play industry politics because I don’t need to. I don’t care. I don’t care if people want us on their tour or not, I don’t care if this label wants to sign us or not, I truly don’t give a fuck because we do this shit for the love of it and that’s it.
You have recently announced a bunch of European shows. What are the differences between playing shows here and touring your native lands.
I honestly don’t think it’s all that different. To me, a show is a show. I play the same way whether I play for 30 people or 30,000 people. I just love to play. With that being said, I think hardcore is bigger in Europe than it is in North America, so sometimes the shows are bigger. We love touring Europe and we have a lot of friends there, so I always look forward to coming out. Poland was one of the first shows we ever played in Europe and it’s always been one of my favorite countries. The shows are always crazy, and the people are great.
How does being on the road impact on the band? Do you find it inspires you in a way? What can a band like LIONHEART learn from touring treks?
Yeah it definitely impacts you, especially in terms of writing new music. Sometimes when you tour full-time, like we used to back in the day, it can make writing really difficult. But I’ve also written a lot of songs about our time on the road (LHHC), and I think anytime you have experiences where you go all over the world it’s hard to not be inspired by it. Touring is instrumental in that it really gives you a unique perspective on so many different cultures and ways of life so it’s really taught us a lot about the world.
By the way American hardcore, how do you feel it has evolved over the years?
Hardcore in general has evolved so much over the years. There’s so many different sub-genres and “types” of hardcore and I think that’s a great thing. The more diversity the better.
How do you feel the current digital era we’re live in will affect underground scenes of all kinds and hardcore punk scenes in particular? How will new inventions and the online Web alter the future of independent music?
I think the digital era has brought a sort of catch 22 into the industry. On one hand, it’s great because it allows band’s to be exposed to so many different people so quickly. It’s so easy to put a demo online now and have people from all over the world hear it right away. On the other hand, when people don’t purchase music and they stream it for free or download it for free it stunts the creation of a lot of future music. When artists don’t get paid and can’t make a living on music, it means they have to get a different job and sooner or later they don’t have the time or resources to allocate towards making new music. But, that’s life. That’s the real world, and that’s just how it is. As far as Lionheart is concerned, I honestly don’t really care. Although of course it directly helps us when people buy the album, I would rather people here the music than not so its all good with me. If you don’t wanna buy the music, then download it for free and come to show and sing along. There’s nothing more annoying than when other musicians cry about people not buying their albums anymore. I get it, but if you hate it so much then shut the fuck up and get a real job like the rest of us. Bunch of fuckin crybabies.
Ok guys. Lastly , what does the future hold for LIONHEART?
Probably a lot of Gin & juice. Maybe some shows. Probably more Gin & juice.
:) Thanks so much for your time and thoughts! Feel free to add anything you like and good luck with the new record! Take care!
Love Don’t Live Here is out on January 22nd! See you all on the road!
Bay Area, California’s reigning kings of heavy hardcore first stormed onto the scene in 2007 with their debut album: The Will To Survive. Taking influence from bands like Blood For Blood, Hatebreed, and Ringworm; Lionheart came out swinging with a full blown assault of blistering metallic hardcore. They quickly followed it up with 2010’s ‘Built On Struggle’, 2012’s ‘Undisputed’ and years of nonstop touring.
Following a short break after the release of Undisputed, the band came back stronger than ever with 2014’s ‘Welcome To The Westcoast’. The album debuted at #1 on both iTunes metal and GooglePlay metal charts.
Now, off the heels of sold out shows and Festival appearances around the globe, Lionheart returns in January 2016 with their most punishing album to date: ‘Love Don’t Live Here’. The album title, a nod to a classic R&B/ Motown song by the same name, shows the bands unwillingness to conform to the typical “hardcore mold”, as well as the bitter and unforgiving lyrical content the band is known for. LDLH is a journey through a life rarely lived but often imitated. Backed by a combination of blistering metallic hardcore and west coast groove, front-man Rob Watson offers a window into a life of pain, despair, and an unrelenting will to overcome.