The Artisans of War

By local standards, the popular rock band A Lion Named Roar has been around for a long time, a handful of years now. The quartet celebrates a creative period – including the recent release of their EP “Mano a Mano” – with a family-friendly farm concert on Friday, July 10 at 6 p.m. in Crestwood. Guitarist Kenneth Tyler went toe-to-toe with The Voice-Tribune.

You’re playing at Foxhollow Farm. Is playing at a farm very rock ‘n’ roll?
Woodstock was held at a 600-acre dairy farm, so as far as our understanding goes, we could be making history with this one. To answer the question, though, not really – but Foxhollow is a hip place and we’re up for the challenge.

Photo courtesy of Steve Squall

Photo courtesy of Steve Squall

I hear you will be playing new songs. Can you tell me a bit about each of them?
We’ll be introducing a couple new songs, yes. Coincidentally, our studio is located right down the road from the farm where we are currently working on the next two EPs. We’re in a really interesting head space because we’re coming out of brand new songs and jumping out of the studio for a live show. It should be a fun test for us to make that kind of change that quickly. We’ve finished the bones of six songs and they’re turning out great.

We’ve got one that’s a raucous Sly & the Family Stone-tinged track called “Haunt Me,” and a dark “True Detective”-esque ballad that’s ornately textured and stark titled “Riverside.” We’re being pushed by our producer, and it’s been exciting to see the songs transform into what they’re becoming.

You recently released a new EP, and you’ll release more soon. How’s that doing, and why so many new songs lately?
It’s going great. I think last year we dropped the ball a bit and weren’t satisfying our hunger, in terms of new music. This year we set higher expectations for what we wanted to accomplish, and the EPs are a byproduct of pushing ourselves harder. For our fans, it’s also an exciting year because they are constantly getting mini albums from us. It’s a change in pace and one we needed to implement.

What inspired the VIP box set for the EPs?
As artisans ourselves, we appreciate the diversity in music and the skill and patience involved in making it. I guess we felt like we weren’t doing anything new by screen-printing shirts (for) every record. We wanted something our fans would both functionally use and enjoy. The VIP boxes are a way to offer both our music and handcrafted items the band would actually use that aren’t necessarily music related. For example,  the “Mano a Mano” box included our EP, VIP tickets to a secret show, an etched soda can glass, koozies, coasters and a hand-numbered limited edition shirt. All of that stuff is packaged in a custom box made by us. It’s much more personal and useful – we really like that element.

What’s it like to work at White Chapel Studios?
It’s like a second home for us in many ways. If you listen to 91.9 WFPK, you’ve heard countless songs coming from this studio – “House Ghost,” “Interstates,” “No More Kings,” “Dave Moisan,” “Dirt Poor Robins,” etc. Neil DeGraide is likely the hardest working and skilled producer in Louisville, so it’s great to bring him our ideas and have him infuse his viewpoint into the songs. Morbid, yet a fun fact: there were multiple homicides that occurred on the studio’s property in the mid- ’80s, and a book called Bitter Blood was written about those murders. Thus, sometimes the studio is referred to as Bitter Blood Studios.

What relationship does great coffee have to this band?
We’re coffee nerds, yet unashamed. Louisville has an amazing coffee scene. Our bassist works for Sunergos and our guitarist (works) with Quills Coffee. Both of those shops are killing it right now. Not sure of the dribble most people are drinking these days, as it’s usually a poor excuse for coffee. Our suggestion for the masses would be to start spending your hard-earned cash on the real deal. As the saying goes, “Life’s too short for caffeinated sugar milk”. VT