San Diego, aka “a whale’s vagina!” Ha, just kidding… It’s just the only thing I really know about San Diego I got from watching “Anchorman.” Except for now, because I’ve discovered Soft Lions and the city is cast in a whole new light!
Based in San Diego, Soft Lions is comprised of Megan Liscomb (vocals/guitar), Ana Ramundo (keys), and Jon Bonser (drums). Their sound combines dance and goth–you could say they’re dance gothic. Liscomb’s deep vocals are steady and focused, sung over melodic beats and organized instrumentals that create a dark vibe but still get you up and dancing.
Brought together organically through mutual friends and the music scene, these guys have been Soft Lions for a couple years now. This past fall, they released a new EP entitled “XOXO.” It only took them a few months to record and release; they also pressed it to vinyl for those real music snobs out there. (So, me and probably you…).
When we called up Liscomb she had just woken up from a stress dream and was sipping coffee. It seems her life is a balance between chaos and organization. “My house is a huge mess right now and I’m actually walking around trying to figure out where my cat threw up, because I heard him in the night and I don’t know where it is—but with studio time we get super focused.”
She tells BTRtoday that “XOXO” was a real outlet for her during the writing process. Tracks like “I Get Lost” and “Pretty Enough,” while being some of the catchiest tracks on the album and are most likely to get stuck in your head, share a deeper meaning. Liscomb explains that those tracks in particular were written about here troubles with anxiety and depression.
However, there are also tracks like “In The Garden” and “Digital Girls,” where the group experiments with more political themes like feminism and inequality.
Soft Lions’ writing process tends to be very collaborative. Liscomb explains that it usually starts off with her bringing in the barest skeleton of a song, sharing it nervously with Ramundo and Bonser, them embracing it enthusiastically, and then all adding to the skeleton to create a song. Their practices are described as calm with as much good vibes as possible. If they get stuck on a song, they try not to stress, and simply take a break from it before continuing on it.
Liscomb also expresses her excitement about the album artwork, done by a friend of Ramundo’s, Cami Robinson. “We love all her paintings that we saw and we spent weeks and weeks choosing which one we wanted to use,” she says. “I hope we work with her more because I feel like it’s such a good fit with our sound.”
Raised by a musician father, Liscomb knew the basics of guitar as a child, and by the time she hit adolescence she started to play on her own. She was in several high school bands—one where she played drums and yelled, and another where she sang to a sound that she described as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs combined with Led Zeppelin, before she started working on solo projects. “I got super into The Beatles and all the music from the ‘60s,” she describes about her music rearing. “Then I heard Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill and was just like, ‘oh my gosh, I love this!’ So that’s kind of my little path.”
She also admits that the San Diego music scene is surprisingly big for the small city feel it gives off. The city has provided Soft Lions with tons of rad venues to play at, great bands to share the stage with, and a community that is supportive and helpful.
She admits that a dream band she’d love to share the stage with next is La Luz.
A live performance by Soft Lions usually provides lots of high energy, a well-executed set list, and a dancing crowd. “We just show up like total badasses,” Liscomb laughs. “We’re good live, we just are—it’s what you hear on the record but louder, potentially a little faster and a bit crazier, we play the songs and we do them as good as we can.”
Soft Lions’ next show is on Feb. 24 at the Pour House in Oceanside, CA. They’ll be playing with The Thens and Trouble in the Wind. If you’re a west-coaster I highly suggest checking it out!
For my fellow east-coasters, Liscomb tells us the band doesn’t have any tour dates down in the books, but definitely intend on doing more touring in the up-coming future. Currently they’re working on new songs, with the intention of releasing their debut full-length. Liscomb adds, “we’re just going to keep being total badasses.”
Make sure to listen to the entire interview with Liscomb on The Music Meetup, accompanied with both Soft Lions EPs, “XOXO” and “Spellbreaker.”