The music of Asbury Park’s all-girl band Lyons strikes listeners with a danceable, shoegazey blend of alternative and surf rock. Their powerful performances will leave you spellbound, and women in the audience will feel encouraged to take up an instrument and start their own group. The Pop Break chatted with Lyons to find out more about their experience as an all-girl band in Asbury Park, details about their latest EP and overall, their favorite part about creating music.
Who is Lyons? (Names of your band members and the instruments you play): Amy on vocals and guitar, Sharon on guitar, Lisa on bass, Charleen on keyboard and Jenny on drums.
You are based in Asbury Park, right? How has being a part of its music scene influenced you as musicians: Yes. We all come from different musical backgrounds and I think that’s what makes our music pretty unique. We are not aiming for one type of music or genre, but using our creative backgrounds and energy to make something new and something that we all love. Being in Asbury Park is an amazing feeling because we are surrounded by such creative energy and people. For me, the early Asbury Lanes days and going to see punk rock shows in the city had a big influence on the music I write and play, but most of my favorite shows have happened in Asbury Park. There’s really no place else like it in the world.
If you could create your own unique genre name for your music, what would you call it: Organic surf dance shoegaze.
What elements make up the signature sound of Lyons: We all play a crucial part in weaving one cohesive sound. I think no single person is replaceable. It all contributes to the sound that we make. Each instrument has its moment in the sun in most of the song – it may be a bendy guitar note from Amy, a sweet fill by Jenny, the perfect synth part by Charleen, the perfect guitar melody line floating on top by Sharon or the meaty bass line by Lisa – we all contribute to make it US.
I bet you are asked this question in a lot of interviews, but what is it like being in an all-girl band? (I feel like all-girl bands are relatively rare, especially since I’m just realizing now that I’ve never interviewed an all-girl band in the NJ music scene —I’ll have to change that!) What reactions do you get from new listeners at shows when they see you perform: Well. It’s awesome. We have judgment-free wine lovingly comrades. Some people are shocked we can actually play our instruments well. The reactions we get are usually just so positive—we’ve definitely inspired some young girls to see that women can be powerful on stage and do their thing. It lights us up just to see a room full of people dance and be one with our music—it’s the best response ever!
I’ve always gravitated toward playing with females I think because of the comfort level and I don’t believe there’s enough girls playing good rock ‘n’ roll music right now. I think what’s coolest about Lyons is that we don’t get much attention for being an all-girl band because after people see us, much of the focus is on the music. And that’s what it’s really all about for us after all.
What artists and bands do you draw inspiration from the most: The Cure, Joy Division and Spoon to name a few. Anything that has a dreamy feel or a drive-in-your-car-all-night-long vibe usually resonates with us.We love 70’s/80’s punk rock & new wave bands. One of Jenny’s favorite drummer is Leah Shapiro of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. She is so badass, especially given all of the health-related issues she’s gone through recently.
How would you describe the singing style of Lyons: A banshee with angel wings (hahaha).
So I see that earlier this year, you released your 6-track, self-titled EP. Would you say that there are any overall themes that this EP explores? What are those themes? What song reflects this theme the most: That was us getting to know each other. The songs are about life and different experiences and periods of growth. I think the beach and moon influences our writing. Just being that close to such a force of nature like the ocean and such inspiring people and energy in this area—it’s all about diving into what we are up to or feeling.
What is the significance of your EP’s album art: We are really into witchy things. It’s a riff on the Philosophers Hand or the Hand of Mystery, which symbolizes transformation and growth. And there are some palm trees and stuff, which makes it more our own.
In terms of your EP, what are you most proud of: I love them all, they are our babies. I’m proud of the whole thing. The fact that we actually pulled it together and recorded. This started out as a just for fun during basement hangouts. But we are really proud and wanted to have something to show people—let them hear what we created! And there’s an overall “real” sound that we accomplished with the assistance of Paul Ritchie, who recorded us and really captured US.
What is the best part about being a member of Lyons: Friendship. We have each other’s backs, we’re not just in a band, we are all really good friends. There’s no drama and everyone is down-to-earth. We love playing music together, drinking wine, eating snacks and having heaps of laughs. It’s almost like therapy for us! We try not to put too much pressure on ourselves and then write amazing music together, it all feels pretty magical.
What does creating and performing music all mean to you? What is music all about: Music is something I have come to accept as a necessary. It is necessary to create and get it out of my brain to feel healthy. I’m a happier person when I have music in my life.
Songwriting has to be one of the greatest feelings. It’s mind-blowing when you write in a room of very different musical brains and then it all comes together. I feel so beyond lucky to be in a band with such creative and kind friends. They’re seriously the best people I’ve ever met. The music is definitely a reflection of what we are all going through and what happens when you get us gals in a room (with a few bottles of wine). I’ve never met such talented girls in my life. Sometimes we won’t stop talking and get nothing done and sometimes we just write a badass song out of the blue. It’s a lot of fun.
What’s in store for Lyons in the rest of 2017: We are recording in a few weeks! Shows! New friends! Perhaps playing out of Asbury Park, and just keeping on writing and recording! We might make some new merch like cool Lyons undies or something.