Tired Lion - Dumb Days Tour
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Since their humble beginnings, when they first began uploading early songs inspired by Sonic Youth, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins online, Tired Lion has already achieved a list of accomplishments most bands would be utterly envious of.Two successful EPs, an Unearthed J Award, huge singles 'Not My Friends' and 'Agoraphobia,' multiple WA Music Awards, tour after tour after tour, and spots on some of the biggest music festivals on the planet, including Splendour In The Grass, Primavera, Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds and the Great Escape. And they've done it all before they've released an album. There's a lot to be said for taking your time. Preparation is key after all. Tired Lion have been gradually, steadily working towards their debut record, resisting the pressure of hype to rush into it. That patience has paid off and now the band is poised to release the LP they've always dreamed of making - Dumb Days . Recorded over four weeks at the beginning of 2017 in Blackbird Studios in their hometown of Perth, Dumb Days is an album about growing up, and it's safe to say that through all that build up, the band - songwriter and frontwoman Sophie Hopes, Matt Tanner (lead guitar), Nick Vasey (bass) and Ethan Darnell (drums) - have done a whole lot of growing up. You can hear it all across Dumb Days. From the dissatisfaction with the mundane of everyday life of an album opener 'Japan,' to the yearning for idyllic, simpler times of childhood on the driving title track, through to the existential pondering of the quirkily titled but heavy rocking 'Cilantro.' "I scream about the monotony of life that most people feel but never express," Hopes says of her lyricism. "No matter how hard I try to bend the world my way it simply won't budge and it's frustrating as hell." Current single 'Fresh,' which Tired Lion wrote after the band's first international tour - when things were really starting to "get real" - fronts up to the realization, "we weren't a bunch of kids any more". "I have fond memories of us writing Fresh," says drummer Darnell, remembering the group's creative process. "Matt and Sophie came in and played what they had. When the song gently fell into the bridge, Nick and I both stared at each other and at the same time said, 'That's the verse,' which is what you're hearing now." Screaming that refrain of "disconnect my youth" with her trademark, uninhibited intensity, Hopes says is a release for her, and "is about trying to let go of your inner child, so you can eventually grow up, but it's an exceedingly sad process." It's that brutally honest approach, both on-stage and off, that has helped Tired Lion earn such a loyal following. They've given a voice to those with mental illness, heartbreak, alienation, unwanted aggression, sadness - but also joy. Hopes explores all sides of her personality throughout Dumb Days, no less open than on lead single 'Cinderella Dracula.' "At times I am extremely confident one moment and insecure and fragile the next,"Hopes says. "Masochism is a great tool for songwriting. I always get told I'm way too blunt and honest, so I suppose it comes naturally. I just think i'd go freaking crazy if I kept it all in." It's a truth that is equally reflected in her lyricism, but across the band sonically sonically, with the all four members gaining a whole new level of musical maturity across Dumb Days - the result of being pushed to their full potential in the studio by one of Australia's best songwriters and musicians in his own right. It just so happened that Violent Soho's Luke Boerdam was looking to step outside the producing duties of his own band for the first time, when a casual conversation lead to him taking on the producer role for Dumb Days. "I remember listening to (Violent Soho album) Hungry Ghost on a tonne of band road trips," Hopes says. "So when we were presented with the possibility [to work with Boerdam] we naturally jumped at it."Boerdam, for his part, had seen the potential in Tired Lion up close when they supported Violent Soho on a national tour in 2016. They became fast friends, never thinking that they would one day go on to play such a huge role in each other' s careers. "The band has natural talent in bucket loads," he says. "They' re toured their butts off for years and I think that' s let them grow into their own sound."Boerdam, along with the band' s long-time collaborator, WA legend and engineer extraordinaire, Dave Parkin, combined to elevate the band' s capabilities, while also allowing them to discover new sides of themselves as musicians, songwriters and as a band. Parkin, who has been something of a fifth member of the pack having been with the quartet for all of their recorded career, saw that handling engineering duties on Dumb Days and allowing Boerdam to take production reins, opened up a new dynamic that brought a whole new dimension to the record. "I' m not sure that comfort is always a good thing," Parkin says. "It can feel like you' re repeating yourself sometimes. This album was about stretching what the band does." "Pushing ourselves musically was a big thing," agrees Darnell. "We would always jam a new song and immediately sit down and discuss the approach we needed to take in the sections. Whether it be a driving bass and drum groove or what and where would the lead lines work."Despite being out of their comfort zone though, Parkin says that the team came together quickly. "We got into a nice groove that rolled along effortlessly. It shows in the recording. When I hear the songs back, it takes me back to the six of us having a good time together." "They have this natural ability to create and read each other on the fly,"adds Boerdam. "It feels like they run off one brain once they have instruments in hand," Boerdam adds. High praise from a man that has penned some of the decade' s biggest and best music. "They' ll be loud, roaring and intense one minute, then drop it to something soft and super delicate in an instant."Still, when they weren' t discussing favourite Pavement records, pizza toppings, and throwing shade at the music biz (this is a bunch of punks in one room, don' t forget), Boerdam' s unique perspective and years of expertise in studios across the world managed to bring the best out of the band, while he too developed his skills in his first, non-Soho producer position. "Boerdam' s effortless approach to producing and songwriting has led me to believe that he is in fact some sort of wizard" admits Hopes. But it wasn' t all studio wizardry, as the producer pushed and prodded Hopes to discuss and deconstruct songs to get the right intensity in the studio. "Some of these tracks are extremely personal and I' ve never even discussed them with anyone prior,"she says. "It was scary but it all managed to play a part in creating the perfect balance of sonic ear candy we were after with those added intense ' feels' we were hoping to deliver. Now Dumb Days is done and dusted. Tired Lion, always a scintillating live prospect, are readying to take these songs on the road and once again write a new chapter in the dumb days of their lives. It will be a moment they've dreamt of for years. "We've all been looking forward to this moment for a very long time," Hopes Says. "I'm also relieved and proud that we actually did it". . .