Even though Catalpa NYC is over, we’re not done rocking out! We had the chance to talk to melodic rock band Bury Me A Lion. The band took some time to tell us what their name means, their plans for Catalpa and their hopes to create more “bathroom” music videos. After reading, don’t forget to vote on your favorite song by Bury Me A Lion!
Sam, Yuri, Luca and Jarett
How did your band come together and what is the story behind the band name?
Jarett: Luca and I both met Sam separately via Craigslist. We were all three looking to be part of a rock band. Sam had been putting out feelers for musicians for a while, and I remember seeing the same ad with the same MySpace link (remember MySpace?) over and over. After a few attempts to join groups as a vocalist, I decided to give Sam a try. Sam heard the cover I did of Grizzly Bear’s Knife and decided to bring me in. He had already met with Luca and was blown away by Luca’s drumming skills. Sam and I played for the first time in August 2008 and began writing what would become “One Arm For Another.” I met Luca in late September 2008 and we just bonded over what we were creating together. Sam and I discussed having a band name to make it official.
We took a horrible placeholder name – part of the whole “The ____” retro trend – and adjusted it a few months later. We eventually ended up with, Bury Me A Lion, comes from a line in the Pogues’ “If I Should Fall From Grace With God,” which one of my favorite songs. MacGowan says, “Bury me a sea where no murdered ghost can haunt me.” I suggested, “Bury Me At Sea,” Sam suggested adding lion imagery from our second band name, and we ended up with Bury Me A Lion, something that holds personal connotations for each of us.
What are some of the biggest influences on your playing style?
Yuri: 90s Rock, New Orleans Funk, and Reggae are by far my biggest influences. My playing style contains elements of all those genres, which helps round out the Bury Me A Lion sound. They’re high energy and force you dance and bounce to the beat. That’s what’s up.
This past April you released two new songs Be Your Own Bomb and The Road. What were some of the most memorable aspects of making these songs?
Sam: Be Your Own Bomb was a song we’ve been playing forever, but never had the chance to record. We took some time off following our first EP, and I literally dreamed of recording it. The song also kills live, so it’s nice for fans to be able to take it home with them. The Road was a song Jarett and I wrote outside in a garden in about five minutes. By far, it’s the song I’m most proud of writing. I was going for a Jeff Buckley Hallelujah vibe with it, and I hope it came off. Vote and then keep reading!
I saw your “Bathroom” music video for The Road! I’m curious, did you guys use any sort of microphones or were the natural bathroom acoustics just that amazing?
Sam: That’s an excellent question! There were, in fact, a few microphones in the room, but they were only present to enhance the natural acoustics in the room. If it were easier, I’d love to record everything in a bathroom. I remember Led Zeppelin recorded in this giant pillar for their fourth record, the acoustics were hauntingly beautiful. It’s nice to emulate that intention, to the smallest extent. We’re definitely trying to do more ‘In a Bathroom’ videos soon, so keep an eye out for that.
DISCOSALT: With influences ranging from Patsy Cline to Depeche Mode do you ever find it difficult to express the both sides of the spectrum of music they encompass?
BURY ME A LION: As a band, our goal has always been to create a sound that’s uniquely Bury Me A Lion. The fact that we have such diverse influences, ranging from seminal rock acts in the vein of The Strokes and Smiths, all the way to Hank Williams Sr. and Greek Laika, has helped us approach our writing with a very well rounded outlook. Certain pieces of our influences affect the writing process, but we never feel any pressure to directly emulate one sound or another. Many bands try and directly emulate a certain sound or look that’s proven to be successful. We’re trying to break that mold and approach each element and moment of our songwriting without being clouded by sonic goals.
Year Of the Lion Album art
D: You’ve been gaining a great deal of attention since the release of your newest album, “Year of the Lion,” in April from the CBGB Festival to Catapla, to what do you attest this recent upsurge and what has been going through you minds as everything has been happening?
BMAL: This year has been amazing for us, and we can really attest the upswing to a strong, vibrant work attitude on both the creative and business ends. Our goal from the inception of Bury Me A Lion has always been to have our music reach a large audience. This goal isn’t fueled by delusions of fame or wealth. It’s fueled by an artistic mindset. Simply, we believe that we have songs people can really fall in love with, and we’re happy that more and more people are getting the chance.
D: Being that you guys met online, was it difficult to try to find a vision and sound for the band that everyone could agree upon?
BMAL: We all had varying degrees of experience playing in bands prior to Bury Me A Lion. During those early years, playing music with others is more about learning how to play organized music around a certain sound – grunge, alt rock, yacht rock, etc. We’ve matured through those experiences and just happened to be at the same level, with the same goals at the same time. Together, we have created in Bury Me A Lion a unique, cohesive sound born of very different influences. Truthfully, finding a vision and sound has largely been organic. We just gel together.
In our short run working with major music festivals we’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of bands who’ve appeared as opening/early afternoon performers. Yes, we’ve tried to speak with the headliners, but it’s always been no dice for us. And to some this might be seen as a sub-par consolation prize. Sure you get into the festival, but to only interview the lesser knowns — where’s the fun in that? (It’s actually a lot of fun.)
Well for us, these “lesser knowns” have gone onto bigger and much better things in their careers after we’ve spoken with them. For example, back in June 2011 Outasight was just an up-and-coming artist on Warner Bros. Records, today his song “Tonight is The Night” has become a major pop sensation; being used for X-Factor and The Oscars as well as massive radio airplay. When we spoke with Walk the Moon, in advance of this year’s Governor’s Ball, they were still an unknown, now they’re receiving major league press and airtime on alternative radio across the country.
With this weekend’s debuting Catalpa NYC Music Festival we had the chance to speak with the local New York band, Bury Me a Lion who’ll be kicking things off this Sunday, July 29 at 1pm on Catalpa’s Main Stage. And after listening to their self-titled record, one could easily surmise that this band could be experiencing the same fate as Outasight and Walk the Moon. They have a ready made for radio sound that has a certain immediacy and danceability to it — imagine if The Strokes got together with Franz Ferdinand. This is a band whose days as the opener for a festival are numbered — these guys have a special quality to them that could really take them places.
I love hearing a new band that makes you turn your head and really pay attention. That was the case with quite a few groups that played the Catalpa Festival at the end of July. One of those groups was NYC band Bury Me A Lion, a four-piece rock group made up of Jarett Gilbert (vocals), Sam Einhorn (guitar, vocals), Luca Pironti (drums), and Yuri Soussov (bass). The band opened up day two at Catalpa with a set that could be heard even on the ferry ride over to Randall's Island.
The group really impressed me with their set. They produce so much sound with just four members and really have a great energy to their songs. There's a little bit of an edge to their music, but it's very accessible and definitely catchy.
I had met Jarett and Sam the day before at the festival, and caught up with the two of them and the rest of the band later on Sunday (and over email afterwards). We talked about our love of “Workaholics” and other nonsensical things before getting to the real questions.
CHARGED.fm: What was it like playing Catalpa?
Sam Einhorn: Fantastic. Wonderful. It was so much fun to be on a big stage and play for a lot of people. It went by faster than expected, and it kind of sucked that we had to start before the gates even opened. But this was such a great change of scenery as far as venues go. We play mostly indoor venues, so to be out here was just wonderful.
Jarett Gilbert: Ditto to everything Sam said. The people were great, it was just a great atmosphere, and really a whole lot of fun. It was really relieving too. That was the largest stage we've ever played on. The last time we played on a stage like this down in Charlotte, the hurricane rolled through and the stage collapsed. We didn't get to play that, so this was really rewarding.