By Jordan Reisman
Album art from the album Through Red & Blue by In Like Lions.
Some music just lends itself well to the summer time. Boston, MA’s In Like Lions seems to capture the essence of the summer barbeque. What is most important though, is that while all of us in the Northeast are freezing our asses off, their new LP entitled, Through Red & Blue, takes us to a warmer place and allows us to transcend the winter blues. This self-proclaimed “indie arena rock” quartet has been rising through the ranks of the Boston music scene without being tied down to one single genre. Their sound flirts with rock, soul, shoegaze and pop to create their indie arena rock style. Though it remains to be seen whether or not indie and arena rock can coexist, In Like Lions are determined to make it work.
Lead singer Troy Ramey told the Nashville Music Buzz, “Being in a band is a constant learning process, whether we are on the road for a big show, or just at a routine rehearsal. I think the most important thing that we have learned is that we love what we are doing, more than anything. And that is motivation for all of us to stick with the tough times. Because there are a lot of those. Financially, hitting the road and leaving our jobs is not the easiest thing to do, but we all just have to believe in each other and our music and make that sacrifice.”
Their heart on your sleeve romance and honesty is a breath of fresh air in a music industry saturated with holier than thou elitism and an interchangeable roster of pop stars. Formed in 2009, the Lions started out playing hometown shows in Boston until the release of their well-received debut EP, At Night. The album introduced Boston and the world to James Bridges’ soaring guitar work reminiscent of early U2 but also the harder rock influences a’ la Deftones. He is a man who appreciates a good effects board. At Night proved to be a dynamic debut that only in the span of five songs touched upon a mélange of musical genres, preparing the scene for 2012’s Through Red & Blue.
Dig Boston says that “the album cover might as well say, ‘Welcome to the church of love and rock.’ Upon opening it, you are showered with rose petals.” No coincidence that Through Red & Blue was released on Valentine’s Day last year. It shows that these Boston boys are lovers in the truest sense of the world. Ramey exudes a soulful disposition from another time, beckoning the audience to share the musical experience with him. BTR had a chance to speak with him about shows, fans, and what it means to be a Lion.
BTR: What does the influence of being from Boston have on your sound? In your bio, it described your place among the Boston community, how is the band involved with the music scene in Boston?
ILL: Boston’s main influence on us has probably been to work our asses off and try to improve every day. There are so many amazing bands in Boston and it’s been a great motivator to try and rise to the occasion of the scene. Not in a competitive way but more as an inspiration to try to be part of something that is really great. Some of my favorite bands are local Boston bands and it’s such a pleasure to be a part of the same experience.
BTR: If In Like Lions were a pizza, what would be on it?
ILL: Pepperoni and 9mm bullets!
BTR: Where do you think your band fits in the spectrum of jam music? Do you feel you fit a certain mold or does your sound transcend traditional genre boundaries?
I’d say we are more like Jelly than jam. Less firm, less viscous more easily spread from genre to genre.
BTR: I’ve noticed that your social media presence is very spirited and you try to engage your fans with a lot of pep. Does that enthusiasm translate in your live shows?
ILL: I think our enthusiasm definitely translates in our live shows. It’s the perfect time to show our love for spandex and glitter. In all seriousness, shows are what its all about. We go out there, play hard and love every minute of it.
BTR: If you could open for any band, who would it be?
ILL: Wow this is a tough one, but I think its safe to say Pearl Jam!
BTR: What is your ideal show? Dingy bar? Stadium filled with throngs of screaming fans?
ILL: I’d say our ideal show is a room packed with skeptical strangers in a town we’ve never been in before. I love the challenge of gaining the interest of a new group of people. Of course a Stadium filled with screaming fans is pretty nice too!
BTR: What is on the horizon for In Like Lions?
ILL: Right now we are going through a bit of a transitional period. We are taking some time off from performing for a while to focus on recording and writing new material, as well as planning out our spring game plan. In the meantime, best selling author Jessica Park has chosen us as the exclusive soundtrack for the enhanced edition app of her book Flat out Love. That will be available very soon on iPad and iPhone.