There is no denying how much admiration I have for As Tall As Lions. From the first time I herd this band when they did an acoustic set at my old college radio station, WQAQ, in Spring of 2004, I was hooked. Since then they have gone on to push themselves and create music that is just outside the box of what is popular today. The Long Island based band just released their latest record, You Can't Take it With You, this past August. The album which was recorded under heavy stress and pressure and circumstances that sucked the life out of the band, still managed to be a fantastic album, in fact, maybe the band's best. The trials and tribulations As Tall As Lions went through in making their latest record would have folded any other band, firing off two producers, running out of money, recording on location in California and having just enough time to finish it before their deadline, the Lions roared back with a record full of love and inspiration. I have interviewed As Tall As Lions before, as I spoke to drummer Cliff Sarcona in April, before the record was even out. Now in a follow up interview with singer Daniel Nigro, I spoke to Dan about the record being done, touring and what is next for his band. Take a look at my interview with Dan below...
With the record finally out, and the trials and tribulations that occurred when creating it. Do you feel any vindication now after it is released and the response has been positive all around?
Dan: Yes, it feels great having the record finished and actually be able to share it with everyone. The nervousness of 'what is the reaction going to be' has settled down.
With all that went on making “You Cant Take It With You,” did you ever feel like giving up?
Dan: Of course, there were several times during the writing and recording of the record that we felt like giving up. We took a long time to make our self-titled record so when it came down to making 'You Can't Take It With You' we felt like we had learned a great deal from that process of the previous work and that it would be much easier to make this record. Which wasn't the case. After our second producer fell through was probably the worst. We had spent most of our budget already and realized that we had 5 weeks to record and mix an entire record. The thought of giving up was on our minds for a few days.
“You Cant Take It With You” has a certain psychedelic element to it. What were your biggest influences while recording the record?
Dan: I think the main influences for this record are varied from member to member. One thing that influenced the making of this record was all of us seeing a performance piece in Manhattan called Fuerza Bruta. The soundtrack, enhanced by all the visuals of the piece made us want to make a more percussive record.
Just before the record came out you headlined a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom. What was that experience like?
Dan: Amazing, our New York shows are always an incredible experience especially since it's where we are from and we play there less and less each year it seems. It's always special for us to share what we do with our friends and family. New York shows are always my favorite and least favorite for that reason.
Headling a small summer tour, and now hitting the road with MuteMath, will it be a little awkward not being the top billing?
Dan: No, I love being the opening band on shows. You get to make your first impression on so many people. I find excitement in that.
Are you fans of Mutemath? Excited about going out supporting them?
Dan: Yes, we are fans of Mutemath. And really happy to be on the tour. We can tell we share similar fans as theirs and think it's going to allow many people who would potentially really like our band actually hear us.
Word on the street is that you will be going to the UK this December. Have you toured there before? What is it like going over there as an American band and showing the Brits what you have? What are my British readers in store for?
Dan: It'll be our first trip over there. This is probably the thing we are most excited about at the moment. We've been trying to tour over there for several years now, and have been offered a few tours over there in the past, but for one reason or another haven't been able to make it work.
The band is very popular in Australia and it has become one of your favorite places to play. Will the Lions go back down under any point soon?
Dan: We hope to in 2010 at some point. 2009 is all booked up. Heh.
With 2009 coming to a close, what can fans expect from As Tall As Lions in 2010?
Dan: A headlining tour, more trips overseas, and a live DVD.
You Cant Take It With You Album Trailer (Above) / "Stab City," live from Highline Ballroom 2007 (Below)
To read my first Interview with As Tall As Lions click HERE
Special thanks to Dan and Caroline Borolla for the interview!