The Boy with the Lion Head
The Boy With The Lion Head are back with their superb new album A Half Remembered Dream. They’re not dropping names or anything, but we’re told that Alan Sparhawk of Low is a fan of the album, that he’s excited that more people will have the chance to hear the band’s music. We’re definitely with him on that. We caught up with Rob Wood (keys) to chat about the making of the album and life as a band outside the central belt bubble.
To me, A Half Remembered Dream is sonically more restrained than much of your
It’s more focused, it’s maybe less expansive than the previous albums.
Was that something that you’d had in mind from the start?
With it being called A Half Remembered Dream, we wanted it to feel like every song was actually part of a dream. I think it’s quite a dark album really, there are a few happy songs in it but on the whole it’s dark and dreamy. The first one was more stripped back. And then we did the EP where we wanted to smash up everything, make everything rocking. We kinda thought we’d lost our way a bit. So when we did this album, we tried to create something more atmospheric, more like us. To me it’s better than the previous ones. Like you said, it is more stripped back, but I think we just wanted to have a more chilled out vibe about it.
In terms of the singles, ‘Blind’ has kicked ass. When we first recorded ‘Blind’, there was nothing to it. John Findlay (guitar) and me sat in the studio and mucked about with it for ages, till one night it happened and we said: ‘That’s it! That’s it! We don’t record this anymore, we put this down now.’ It just sounds class. It’s really dreamy and I love it at the end when it all kicks in… especially
when we play it live. It’s kind of got this cool… you feel like you’re in this atmosphere… it has weird
feelings attached to it.
Being based in the Borders and essentially outside of the central belt bubble, how do you find this impacts the band?
I think it makes things harder. In the Borders there’s nothing much here apart from MacArts, which is a brilliant venue. Chris Wemyss who runs it is doing so much for bands round here, he’s really helping. He’s really trying to get touring bands to stop in on their way by. They’ve Honeyblood in playing for Independent Venue Week, so he’s really chuffed about that. But in terms of us, if we don’t play MacArts, there’s nowhere to play. Realistically, you want to be going to see other bands and you create a circle. But you can’t do that, cause you can’t physically do it from here.
I guess that makes the band outsiders in some way, which is quite cool, and that comes with its own opportunities?
Some of the gigs that we get offered, I think ‘Fucking hell, how did we get offered that?’. I think the music has really carried us. It has a Glasgowy type of vibe about it and I find that a lot of people there are open to the moody stuff that we do.
It has been two years since the last album. That must be nice, to have had the space to find your way into it?
Yeah, we’d played loads of shows and we got to the point where we were scunnered a bit. And with jobs and people having kids, some band members left and some new ones came in.
Dave Reid (vocals and guitar) and some of the other guys wanted to write other songs, we felt that we didn’t have enough. Dave records little 4 track demos and brings them along, he came in one day and said:
‘I don’t want to play this stuff anymore, I want to play something else.’
John decided he would turn one of his rooms into a studio. He spent a tonne of money on recording equipment and we started tracking. We recorded a bunch, had a break again and wrote some more. We wanted to have at least twelve songs to choose from. There were a few that didn’t make the cut, they just didn’t sound right for this album. They might be released in the future for something else.
When the album came back, there was a relief. Even though we enjoyed doing it, we felt like
we’d never stopped. When we all listened back to it together, we were like ‘Wow, we actually made this’. We got a lot of radio play with the singles, and that was great. When we put the songs out, we didn’t know what to expect. We’d changed a bit and we weren’t sure if people would be accepting of that, but they have been and it’s been worth the two years.
The album was all self recorded then?
Yup, it was all self recorded and self produced. We had our friend Steve Murray mix and master
it. He properly captured our sound and mixed it the way we wanted. The first album, we did that entirely ourselves, but with the second one we got someone else in. Although [on the second
album] he did a good job on it, he had added his own style. We’ve learned from that. With this release we made sure that everyone had their input before it was sent away.
A Half Remembered Dream will be released on 12th January with the band playing Broadcast, Glasgow that same evening.