Interview: Silent Lions

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I first met the dudes in Silent Lions this past June when my band Modern Chemistry played with them at The Saint in Asbury. This duo left quite the impression on everyone that was there. How could so much noise come from just two people? It was such an exciting and energetic show and I’m happy to say they’ll be back in Asbury this Monday! As part of The Wonder Bar and Speak Into My Good Eye‘s Happy Mondays series, Silent Lions will be hitting the Wonder Bar along with Ether Sunday, XNY, and IDES.

The best part? It’s FREE.

These fellas are from Ohio so you really don’t want to miss this show. I talked to Singer/Bassist/Saxophonist/Synth Player, Dean Tartaglia, about the origins of the band, their new single, and plans for the future.

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Pop-Break: How long has Silent Lions been together?

Dean Tartaglia: We started jamming together on and off about two summers ago, recorded our first EP a year ago and played our first show about nine months ago

PB: how did you guys meet?

Photo Credit: Christie Materni
Photo Credit: Christie Materni

DT: Through bands in the Toledo scene. At a time we were actually in another Toledo band called GOLD; Matt Klein was on drums, me on sax and tambourine. But after enough people suggesting we jam together, I brought The Parliaments demos to Matt and we work on them on and off for about a year before we recorded them.

PB: did you start this band with a specific sound in mind? what are your influences?

DT: The original idea had guitars and we actually recorded guitars on the first album. but it wasn’t til half way thru recording The Parliaments that our producer, Zach Shipps (of Electric Six) told me to ditch em, just do octave bass. So after the fact, I’ve had a lot of influences from being compared to other two pieces. Bass Drum of Death, Death From Above 1979, Lightning Bolt… but I think the obvious influence for me has always been Nirvana. And when I was writing the first album, I was really into the album Brothers (Black Keys). I think a lot of what we do is a symbiosis of those two bands.

PB: do you think being a two piece gives you more control? are there things you find limiting about it?

DT: Oh, yeah. Especially off the stage, it’s so much easier working with just one other person. I think Matt and I are both pretty low key, that makes it a lot easier to get work done. And just the little things; like the fact that no one ever really misses a practice (er, if someone does, it just gets cancelled, right?). Personally, I think there is nothing limiting about being in a two piece, but I think that’s the point of Silent Lions. I’ve spent over a year on my set up alone (before we even hit the stage) and we continue to incorporate elements that are equally theatrical and practical in helping us create a bigger sound. I do a lot of left hand hammer on fuzz bass lines, which allows me to play the sampler simultaneously with my right hand… I might even start incorporating another synth with my feet soon… we’ll see.

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PB: You guys just released a new single, “Stolen in the Heat of the Moment.” Where would you say it stands stylistically compared to the rest of your material?

DT: That’s a good question; being a bass and drum duo, we have less of a genre attached to us at this point and more of an overall sound that we’ve been working towards. I think genre is something we have the luxury of changing up from track to track without sounding unfocused. With the new single, we wanted to create an old Soul kind of vibe. I’m really into Otis Redding and James Brown. It’s dreamy though, and I think that element of chill wave creeps into a lot of our recordings. The hook is about as close as I’ll get to writing a ballad with this group, and I think that’s referenced in the title as well. I think in a lot of ways it is brand new territory, but with moments like the last minute and a half, just a bass and drum instrumental, it is still very familiar/raw territory for us.

PB: Any plans for another EP or a full length any time soon?

DT: Yes! New six song EP comes out mid-January. Each song has a very specific and different genre we are referencing, but the sound is even more cohesive than the first record.

PB: Have you played at The Wonder Bar before?

DT: This is our first time. Actually, when we played The Saint with you guys in June it was our first NJ show ever.

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PB: You guys seem to tour a lot, any recommendation for other artists trying to do it?

DT: Yeah, it reminds me of some of my friends looking for jobs right now, asking the all important questions: How do you get a job with no experience? How do you get experience without a job?. My advice; if you wanna tour, just fucking do it. My first tour ever was miserable. But the only way to really make contacts anywhere else is by going there in person. And you’ll make twice as many contacts each time you’re out, this business really does grow exponentially.

PB: Who is your favorite artist out there right now?

DT: I’m revisiting some older albums that have been really influential on this group: Tyler The Creator – WOLF, Black Keys – Brothers, Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory, Snoop Dogg – Doggy Style. The new Those Darlins record is great. Listening to a great band on Run For Cover Records called Pity Sex too. My personal favorite album of the year is Julia Brown’s To Be Close To You.

PB: where should people go to check out your music?

DT: Our Bandcamp and Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/silentlions/stolen/s-8w8Iu) both have our new single. It premiered on Indie Shuffle today on October 22nd.

Silent Lions will perform with Ether Sunday, XNY and IDES this Monday, October 29 at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey as part of the venue’s Happy Mondays original music series. Doors open around 8pm with no cover. Must be 21+ to attend.
Speak Into My Good Eye‘s Happy Mondays series, Silent Lions will be hitting the Wonder Bar along with Ether Sunday, XNY, and IDES.

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